A Mississippi pilot has been killed in a plane crash at the National Championship Air Races near Reno.
Tommy Rose of Hickory, Mississippi was killed when his small plane racing in the Sport Class competition turned nose up, then smashed into the ground near the Reno-Stead airport north of Reno.
The accident occurred shortly before three o'clock Friday afternoon. Rose was flying his plane, a Questair Venture 20, named "Ramblin Rose," at speeds in excess of 300 mph. He was making his fourth appearance at the annual air races.
It's the first death at the competition since 1999 -- the fifteenth fatality in the 39-year history of the event. Officials for the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash scene.
Witnesses say the plane was starting into a turn when it suddenly pitched down and within seconds crashed into the sagebrush less than 100 yards from the home pylon in view of thousands of people in the stands.