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Van Nuys based pilot killed in mid-air collision during race in Reno

Van Nuys based pilot killed during mid-air crash at Reno air racing event
Van Nuys based pilot killed during mid-air crash at Reno air racing event 00:25

Two pilots were killed when their planes collided mid-air during the 2023 National Championship Air Races in Reno over the weekend. 

The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) says that the crash happened early Sunday afternoon, during the event's 59th and last-ever event.

"It is with great sorrow that the Reno Air Racing Association announces that around 2:15 p.m. this afternoon, at the conclusion of the T-6 Gold race, upon landing, two planes collided and it has been confirmed that both pilots are deceased," RARA posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

RARA identified the pilots as Chris Rushing, who flies out of Van Nuys, and Nick Macy, who flies out of Tulelake in Northern California. 

"Families of both pilots have been notified and support services are onsite as they deal with this tragedy," said a tweet from RARA.

Rushing flew Baron's Revenge, a North American AT-6B, and Macy flew a North American T-6G called Six Cat, the association said. 

The planes collided upon landing at the end of the T-6 Gold Race, event officials said. 

Rushing and Macy were the only ones on board each of their planes. No civilians were injured during the crash. 

"I am completely devastated and heartbroken today," said Fred Telling, Chairman of the Reno Air Racing Association and President of the T-6 Class. "These two pilots weren't just an integral part of the National Championship Air Race family, they were a part of my family. My heart goes out to their own families and to all of the spectators and fans who have so enthusiastically supported us this week."

The remainder of the races at the event were canceled following the crash.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"A single-engine North American T-6G and a single-engine North American AT-6B collided in mid-air at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, around 2:45 p.m. local time on Sunday, Sept. 17. Only the pilots were on board both aircraft," said a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration. "The FAA and the NTSB will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide further updates."

In a following series of tweets, RARA noted that both pilots were "expertly skilled pilots and Gold winners in the T-6 Class." Rushing won the T-6 Gold race in 2022, with Macy finishing in second place. 

The T-6 Racing Association website shows that Rushing also won in 2016, 2019 and 2021. Macy won in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012.

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