EAA Testifies Before NTSB On Air Show Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – EAA President and CEO Rod Hightower and EAA Vice President of Industry and Regulatory Affairs, Sean Elliott, testified before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) during a hearing on air show and air race safety on January 9, 2012 in Washington D.C. The impetus for the hearing was an accident at the 2011 Reno Air Races, in which 11 people died and about 70 were badly injured when a highly modified P-51 Mustang piloted by EAA board member Jimmy Leeward crashed and sent parts into the crowd. Hightower and Elliott appeared with representatives of the Reno Air Racing Association and Air Boss Inc. in a panel invited by the NTSB to share insights regarding industry best practices and safety measures. According to NTSB, there have been 152 air show and air race accidents in the U.S. since 1986. There were fatalities in 75 of those accidents, but the Reno accident was the only one with spectator deaths. EAA Communications Director Dick Knapinski said there is a difference between air shows and air races, adding that there has not been a spectator fatality at a North American air show in 60 years.

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