Boise pilot helps bring back Reno Air Races
The devastating crash last year at the Reno Air Races killed eleven people and injured 70.
But this year, the show will go on.
A Boise pilot sits on the board that made the decision to move forward.
Some are asking why take the risk?... And what can be done to make a 500 mile an hour sport safer? the disaster in reno is still fresh in the mind of competition jet pilot Steve Picatti who was there when the modified p-51 smashed into the tarmac.
"I thought a truck blew up or something because I didn't see the plane at all." says Picatti, "I ended up hauling people out of the stands."
Picatti has been involved in the Reno Air Races for years. He's a jet class board member with the Reno Racing Association.
The crash was the first in the event's history to cause a spectator injury.
Given that and the 80 million dollars in revenue from the event, the decision to hold a race this year was clear. "It has brought in a lot of money and that is why I believe it's going to go on," he says.
But how safe can an event be where the planes fly 200 feet above the ground at 500 miles per hour?
"We like to figure when you buy a ticket, you're going to come out alive," says Picatti.
That's why the race board may consider moving the location of the stands away from the high speed turn zone.
"It would be safer on the straightaways but there's always something... even in car racing, there are safety issues. there's always something that can happen. I don't know if you can ever make it totally safe."
But that fact isn't likely to deter fans who Picatti says are enthusiasts who won't let a rare accident get in their way of a good time.
The Reno Air Race still needs to get a number of permits from the f-a-a to go forward. And while last year was the first time spectators have died, a total of 20 pilots have died in the 47 year history of the races.