Apple Pie and Airshows
Many Americans love airplanes, airshows and air races. Small local airshows draw tens of thousands of spectators. The large shows attract hundreds of thousands each year. People are fascinated by planes and the pilots who fly them and by the amazing maneuvers of an acrobatic show as pilots fight g-loads that would cause most people to pass out.
Flying these types of planes and putting the planes and pilots through the stresses involved is a dangerous business. For many spectators that is part of the thrill of watching an airshow. The pilots who participate in these events have years of experience and have probably saved themselves from life threatening situations many times. The pilot who crashed at Reno was a 74-year-old stunt pilot. He had enough flying experience to fill books with flight lessons. However, one bad moment or mechanical failure ended his life and those of others watching the race.
In my opinion, the current FAA regulations are adequate for the safe operation of air races and airshows. One accident with spectator fatalities in 47 years is a pretty good record for this high risk sport. Sometimes when the news is filled with death and destruction, it motivates people to want to do something to guarantee safety in the future.
The underlying truth is that accidents are not always avoidable, whether driving on the highway, having a bath or going to an airshow. If you are an aviation buff you know what I mean by the thrill of attending a show. If you are not, either go to an airshow and check it out or let the aviation fans have their shows the way they currently work, with adequate levels of safety precautions in place, and lots of amazing flying.