Reno Air Race update

Forwarded to the group...
From a friend who flies corporate jets for The Limited Good News for the future of air racing.
Our new crew member, Matt Jackson, is not only a race pilot, aircraft business owner and aircraft owner (he also takes care of Tom Cruises P-51)but he is also the VP of the Unlimited Racing Class and head of the Safety Committee.
We had a long talk about the Reno crash on the way to Mojave today.
Matt believes the cause of the crash was due to The Galloping Ghost having a CG too close to the aft limit which resulted in pitch instability. There are instructions on the P-51 regarding no combat missions with the aft fuel tank full resulting in an aft CG problem. Instructions specify to empty the aft fuel tank first in flight.
During qualifying Matt watched Galloping Ghost from inside the cockpit of Furias and could not believe how much trouble Leeward was having in keeping the Ghost in a stable pattern around the course.
Since Leeward lives in Florida and the Galloping Ghost was modified for racing in Calif., when Leeward picked up the Ghost for the Reno races at the last minute, a complete flight test program had not been done based on available information.
There is a video of the entire last lap of the Ghost before the crash which Matt showed me. As Leeward was coming around pylon #8 at about 480 mph after passing Rare Bear, he hit turbulence which pitched his left wing down, Leeward corrected with hard right rudder and aileron.
Just as the aircraft was straightening out, he hit a second mountain of turbulence which caused the tail to 'dig in' resulting in a 10+ G climb rendering Leeward unconscious instantly and resulted in the tail wheel falling out. (broken tail wheel support structure was found on the course). As the Ghost shot upward the LH elevator trim tab broke loose. This can be heard on the tape, so the trim tab did not cause the accident.
Since the Ghost was racing at 480 mph with full right rudder and the stick full right, this is where everything stayed when Leeward blacked out.
Cockpit camera film that was salvaged from the wreck shows Leeward slumped over to the right in the cockpit. As a result, the Ghost climbed up and to the right, rolled over on her back and then headed for the box seats. Most in the box seats never saw it coming because it came in from behind them.
Matt has had long conversations with the NTSB who call the accident a 'fluke'. They are not going to recommend canceling future races. He has also talked to the insurance companies covering the races for Reno and they also say they are not going to cancel their coverage of future races. Now we wait for the FAA to make a decision.
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wrote:

Footage, wish to see.
SW

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On 10/5/2011 3:02 PM, Richard wrote:

I recall watching a program on the Military Channel that interviewed pilots of WW II airplanes. One of the pilots flew P-51's and he told of trying to do a maneuver (sp) with the tank behind the pilot full of gas and almost wrecking the plane. He said then some one told him to empty that tank first.

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