Air Races Continue After Fatal Crash

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

The deceased pilot left behind a wife and a young child, along with a legacy. His friends say they'll remember him as an experienced pilot with a passion for racing planes.

"It's a tragic part of air racing. A part most of us don't like to deal with," said Michael Houghton, President and CEO of the Reno Air Races.

Dari's plane went down during take off, at around 6:00 Tuesday night. An FAA inspection revealed the plane had engine troubles. It was first fatal crash at the Air Races since 2002, but many say the tragic years are the ones that stand out the most.

"It seems like every year, if you can get through the whole race without something happening, you've really done something," said Gary Rudolph of Grass Valley, CA.

Doug Dotter is a T-6 pilot. He says air racing is his passion, even though the high-risk sport can be dangerous, and sometimes, fatal.

"Anytime you start racing planes 50 feet off the ground at those speeds, there is a potential for things to happen."

While pilots prepared their planes for takeoff, many of them admitted to spending a little extra time making them flight-ready.

"It makes us all think a little bit, put that extra effort in to be as safe as we can, to put in a little more preparation and thought," said Air Race Pilot, Carter Clark.

With hopes for safe week ahead, the air races have begun...because as Steve's Dari's fellow pilots say, that's the way he would have wanted it.

"If you love it, you love it. That's the way aviators are. They love to fly. It's in their blood," said Rudolph.

The pilots and friends of Steve Dari held a moment of silence for the veteran air racer. Even those who didn't know him say they'll honor him like he was their own brother.







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