NTSB Releases Reno Documents


The NTSB on Tuesday posted online more than 900 pages of documents plus photographs related to its investigation of a fatal crash at last year’s National Championship Air Races in Reno. Among the documents is a careful examination of a video shot by a spectator at the event, which concludes that the Galloping Ghost, flown by Jimmy Leeward, reached a maximum acceleration of 17.3 Gs after a roll upset, in which the airplane reached a roll angle of 93 degrees, left wing down. The documents also examine several photos that show the departure of a trim tab from the airplane’s elevator. Leeward and 10 people on the ground were killed when the racer crashed. The safety board said it will release its final report, with a determination of probable cause, by the end of this month.

The docket contains summaries of interviews by NTSB investigators, maintenance records, a meteorology report, a report on “survival factors” and more. “The information … is factual in nature and does not provide any analysis,” the NTSB said. In April, the NTSB released a half dozen safety recommendations, so organizers could consider implementing them for this year’s races, which are scheduled for Sept. 12 to 16. The Reno Air Racing Association, which organizes the races, said changes have been made to the race course in an effort to better protect spectators. The insurance premium for this year’s event increased by $1.7 million, according to the association’s website.