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Pilot dies in jet crash during Reno Air Races

The aircraft was racing in the finals for its class when it went down in the third lap, an organizer said.

A pilot died when the jet he was in crashed during the Air Races in Reno, Nevada, on Sunday afternoon, according to organizers.

Fred Telling, the CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association, indicated at a news conference Sunday evening that the pilot was the sole casualty.

The Aero L-29 Delfín crashed behind a residential area in Reno about 3:45 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a preliminary statement.

A plane crashed during the championship round of the Reno Air Race on  Sunday afternoon. The video was livestreaming on the Reno Air Racing Association's YouTube page but has since been taken down.
A plane crashed during the championship round of the Reno Air Race on Sunday afternoon. The video was livestreaming on the Reno Air Racing Association's YouTube page but has since been taken down.KRNV

Telling said it happened near a pylon used to mark the flight track.

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office said in a tweet after 4 p.m. that it was responding to the crash, which it located in the area of 13945 Red Rock Road, about 2 miles north of the races' venue.

The jet plane model, originally developed for military training, was in the final, or "gold," race of the jet class when it crashed in the third lap, Telling said.

He did not identify the pilot, saying the host organization and the "September family" of pilots and fans who attend the event "express our deepest sympathies to the pilot's family and friends."

The annual event, this year called the 2022 National Championship Air Races and Air Show, is held every September at Reno-Stead Airport and has featured competition classes for biplanes, World War II-vintage fighters and jets, as well as demonstrations of historic and contemporary military aircraft.

The first time it was held was in 1964.

On Friday, organizers said the weekend's competition would go on despite smoke from the Mosquito Fire west of Lake Tahoe. The smoke had prompted Reno-area air quality officials to urge residents to stay indoors Wednesday.

But the National Weather Service said Friday a cold front with associated rain would improve air quality throughout the weekend.

The races and associated demonstrations and events were scheduled from Wednesday through the end of the day Sunday. Telling said the races were suspended immediately after the crash.

No makeup events had been announced.

The FAA said it would investigate the cause alongside the lead agency for the probe, the National Transportation Safety Board.