Close Call At Reno Caught On Video


Reno racer Thom Richard is glad to be alive after another airplane hit his disabled race plane, narrowly missing the top of his head. “The impact was violent and loud,” Richard wrote on YouTube, a fact made clear by the cockpit video clearly showing the incident. Richard had stopped on the runway to check on an engine issue, and had signaled the starters to halt the launch process. “The flagman on my row put his hands in an ‘X’ over his head, as our procedures prescribe, and I opened my canopy to make it clear I was out of the race and so everyone could see me,” Richard wrote. But two airplanes zoomed past, and a third came up fast behind Richard’s stopped airplane. Its wing hit the rear of Richard’s airplane, narrowly missing the top of his head. The airplane was spun around nearly 180 degrees, “like a teacup ride at warp eight,” Richard wrote.

Richard’s hand was hurt in the accident; the other pilot was unhurt. Richard says on YouTube he’s “not the slightest bit upset about the accident … there’s risk in everything we do.” He adds that he’s used up one of his nine lives. “But why would you have nine unless you plan to use them?” he adds. “We live, learn, and race on.” The airplane, “Hot Stuff,” was severely damaged, and Richard said it will take some time to assess whether it can be repaired. The incident occurred on Sunday, the last day of this year’s Reno Championship Air Races, but Richard just posted the video on Tuesday.