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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-12-014
Details
Synopsis: On September 16, 2011, about 1626 Pacific daylight time, a modified experimental single-seat North American P-51D, N79111, collided with the airport ramp in the spectator box seat area following a loss of control while maneuvering during the unlimited class1 gold race at the NCAR at Reno Stead Airport (RTS), Reno, Nevada. The airplane was registered to Aero-Trans Corp, Ocala, Florida, and operated by the pilot as Race 177, the Galloping Ghost, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot and 10 people on the ground sustained fatal injuries; based on preliminary information, 66 people sustained serious injuries, and numerous minor injuries were reported. The airplane fragmented upon impact with the ramp. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local air race flight, which departed RTS about 10 minutes before the accident. Numerous photographs and videos of the accident sequence have been collected from the public during the investigation, and an airplane performance study is being conducted. Based on available information, the airplane was established in a turn while passing pylon 8 on the 10-pylon course (see figure) when it experienced an upset. Its airspeed was about 460 knots (530 mph) at this time. After the initial roll upset, it entered a severe rolling climb maneuver and traveled a downward spiral flightpath to impact the ramp in the box seat area. Preliminary findings in the NTSB’s ongoing investigation point to the need for safety improvements regarding evaluation of aircraft with structural or flight control modifications, the unlimited class course design, and training for air race pilots concerning potential physiological effects of high g4 operations.
Recommendation: TO THE RENO AIR RACING ASSOCIATION: Evaluate the design of the unlimited class course and safety areas to minimize maneuvering near and potential conflicts with spectators; if warranted by the results of the evaluation, implement changes to the race course.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Reno, NV, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: WPR11MA454
Accident Reports: Pilot/Race 177, The Galloping Ghost, North American P-51D, N79111
Report #: AAB-12-01
Accident Date: 9/16/2011
Issue Date: 4/10/2012
Date Closed: 8/27/2012
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Reno Air Racing Association (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Reno Air Racing Association
Date: 5/9/2013
Response:

From: Reno Air Racing Association
To: NTSB
Date: 3/13/2013
Response:

From: NTSB
To: Reno Air Racing Association
Date: 9/19/2012
Response: RARA evaluated the design of the unlimited class course as recommended and moved the racers and the race course further north than they had been located during the 2011 NCAR to create and maintain a greater distance between the racers and the primary spectator viewing area. It also established another showline 500 feet east of the west airport boundary because that area has become a secondary viewing area due to a large increase in spectators on the private property adjacent to the airport. These actions satisfy Safety Recommendation A-12-14, which was classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION at the August 27, 2012, Board Meeting.

From: Reno Air Racing Association
To: NTSB
Date: 7/12/2012
Response: -From Michael J. Houghton, President and CEO (July 9, 2012): RARA accepts this recommendation. RARA has, as it does annually, evaluated the design of the unlimited class course and safety areas to minimize maneuvering near and potential conflicts with spectators. Based on this evaluation: 1) RARA has moved the racers and the race course further North than it was located in 2011 to create and maintain a greater distance from the racers to the primary spectator viewing area, and 2) RARA has established a Race Course Show Line 500 feet East of the West Airport Boundary because this area had become a secondary viewing area due to a large increase in spectators on the private property adjacent to the airport. -From Michael J. Houghton, President and CEO (July 12, 2012): On July 9, 2012, the Reno Air Race Association, Inc. ("RARA") sent its responses to the April 10, 2012, recommendations made by the NTSB to RARA. On July 11, 2012, the FAA released the draft of Advisory Circular ("AC") 43-209A, entitled "Recommended Inspection Procedures for Former Military Aircraft." It is noted in paragraph one of that draft AC that it "provides recommendations for the development of inspection program requirements for the certificates of former military aircraft in the experimental category for the purpose(s) of exhibition and air racing that operate in the United States in accordance with Title 14 of the Federal Code of Regulations (14 C.F.R.) Part 21 , §21.191 (d) and (e)." The FAA has asked for comments on the draft by August 9, 2012. Inasmuch as the draft AC was not issued until after we sent our responses to the recommendations of the NTSB, particularly A-12-13, RARA did not have the benefit of having reviewed and/or commented on it in the context of our response. However, the NTSB should be assured that RARA will, as part of its ongoing review of its procedures and processes, consider the draft AC and extent to which the information/recommendations contained therein should be implemented by RARA. Thank you for permitting RARA to participate in this important undertaking.