Back to Squawk list
  • 33

$25 million lawsuit filed in Reno air race crash

The family of a Texas man killed when a racing aircraft crashed into spectators in the National Championship Air Races in Reno filed a $25 million lawsuit Tuesday against the pilot's family, a mechanic on the World War II-era aircraft and the Nevada organization that hosted the event. The lawsuit filed in Collin County, Texas, is believed to be the first stemming from the Sept. 16 crash of pilot Jimmy Leeward's P-51D Mustang during air races at Reno-Stead Airport. Eleven people died,… ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

linbb 0
You go to these and if a pilot is killed no big deal just great talk when you get home about how nasty it was and then they go right back to another show. But wait let a spectator get killed and oh boy lets sue for all we can get. No way take it with a grain of salt people when you go to a car race, motorcycle race, air show of any kind,and even a bike race you can get injured or killed that goes along with the sport. They try as hard as possible to protect the public but the only completly safe way would be to just vidio it and watch it on TV at home but wait someone could shoot your house up and kill you.
tim mitchell 0
It is always sad to see people put a price tag on a persons life......really sorry this happened and feel bad for everyone envolved especially the kids but everyone knew the possible risk involved with going to an airshow
Jeff Grana 0
"The attorney said he wanted to hold "two groups of wrongdoers" accountable: "Those who pushed the limits of physics on the plane, being risk takers and reckless without regard for the people who might be watching them, and those who promoted and profited from hosting the show."

The aircraft was specifically designed for every maneuver it is required to perform at the race/exhibition. I really wish we would make it illegal to posthumously prosecute the pilot in the absence of evidence to suggest the accident was intentional.
preacher1 0
Isn't it now the way of the public to hang everything on pilot error. There has already been some talk of that in the Hendick crash at Key West. How in the hell do you know something is broke until you start to use it? You have to assume everthing is normal and operating as it is supposed to. It is how you react to an upset that determines if you are a pilot or button pusher. IMHO
tim mitchell 0
yes and no
mrbeech 0
Maybe we need to start have people signing waivers!! As a skydiver, you accept the risk of serious injury or death. Sign here or go home.
Chip Hermes 0
This is going to get ugly...both in the flightaware comments and in the courts...
Bcap 0
As if the family of the pilot haven't gone through enough already?
Curt Carlson 0
Lousy of this family to sue. The RARA is not a wealthy operation. The gentleman, like all of us who attended the races, were aware of the risks. I was in a box seat close to the crash and I would be ashamed if my family sued. The Reno Air Races are the only one of its kind and needs to continue.
vanbess 0
Unfortunately Reno is too close to the ambulance chasers of CA that will sue for a stubbed toe. Any lawsuit coming from this incident is based on the greed of lawyers playing on a tragedy.
Scott Keller 0
Bingo....these 'aviation tort' experts had websites up the next day.
Jim Quinn 0
I've always said that I'd rather die in an airplane crash than be killed by a Friday night drunk who has run a red light in Dallas. And because of my (our) love for aviation in my family, none of us would dare file a lawsuit in such an incident especially since we proudly take responsibility for our own decisions and actions. There is an inherent risk in participating in any sort of aviation activity, just as there is for auto racing, hang-gliding, etc.
Bring on the lawsuits. It's the American way.
We go to Air Races, Airshows, Formula 1 Racetracks, Speedway, NASCAR, etc to enjoy the excitement of that particular sport, we also know from seeing or reading TV or newspaper reports that accidents can happen even at places with a perfect safety record, I've been to a lot of airshows and races all over the world and I would say 99.9% of them have signs dotted around the event saying "this event can be dangerous" or "we accept no responsabilty for accidents" we accept this as part of our enjoyment of the sport. I am sorry for any one affected by a tragedy at any of these events but we are all aware by simply being at the event we are exposing ourselves to the dangers of the sport. Over the past weekend I was at an airshow in my home state, as we walked into the airshow there were plenty of signs telling us of the dangers of being at an airshow,everything from hearing loss to exposure to sunburn and aircraft accidents. No event organizer looks for accidents to happen but has to be prepared for such an event, hence they have insurance.
Unfortunately accidents happen, in the home, on the street... any where and any time, we cannot be wrapped up in cotton wool 24/7, it's called living life to the best of your ability.
I'm a Fire Fighter by profession, every day my Wife hopes she'll see me at the end of my shift, but she also knows one day I might be injured or killed, does that stop me from doing my job ? no, life continues, does she worry / do I worry, yes we do but it's all part of living.

My condolences to all affected by this tragedy.
preacher1 0
It wasn't that long back at one of the NASCAR tracks that there was a wreck and either the car or some debris made it over the catch fence and injured some spectators. The catch fence was raised at that location on that track but nowhere else nor at any other track. I think those hurt got their medical and all took care of, but no lawsuits that I know of. Just common sense
Tim Smith 0
I am saddened that someone from my home state of Texas feels it necessary to sue over this tragic event. Real Texans bear the pain and move on gracefully with their lives.
Scott Keller 0
I doubt the Salerno family came to the idea of filing a lawsuit independently. The trial lawyer probably contacted them and said... "Look, these guys are insured. You need to file to preserve your rights and place in line. You don't need to pay me a thing right now, if we win, I'll take a third (or half...these are hard cases to build after all and he's taking all the risk of course)." And thus...a lawsuit is born. The insurer will try to settle to limit their maximum exposure and it'll be over. Meanwhile, next year when your neighborhood air show tries to get general liability insurance they'll be SHOCKED by the premium increase from last year. Some may not be able to afford it and what was once an annual no longer. I guess the good news is that Buzbee, the trial lawyer, will probably go buy a jet with his fee to fly back and forth to Vegas in. That will create a job for some pilots and A&P's. The Salerno family meanwhile, will be surprised by how small their share is and will probably break apart unhappy with each siblings percentage.
Ken Clouse 0
Post from James,bring it on,American way Get over it, as a Vietnam Naval Aviator, nothing is free for the asking I feel for this family and their loss AS WELL as all the others.To may people want something for free, this was Not an intentional act or do you not know the facts. I know very well the dangers of avation from my carrier opertions as well as most of the others at the event.Accidents happen is all aspects of life The pilots family also needs everyones thoughts as well as yours,they have a loss also.Best of all to all involved ia any aspect of this tragedy Lets all help keep avation history and sporting alive


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.