September 14, 2007 - 3rd Fatal Crash at Nev. Air Races

A third fatal crash in four days occurred at the Reno National Championship Air Races on Friday when two planes collided, killing one pilot and injuring another.

Gary Hubler, 51, of Caldwell, Idaho, was killed in the crash shortly after 9:30 a.m. at Stead Airport just north of Reno, race officials said.

It was the 18th fatality in the 44-year history of the air races and prompted the suspension of the competition for the day, but race officials said it would resume Saturday as scheduled.

The pilot of the other plane involved in the crash was identified as Jason Somes of Simi Valley, Calif. He was rushed to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A friend said he was being treated for an eye injury.

Hubler's plane apparently clipped the back of Somes' plane before crashing. Somes was able to land his damaged aircraft, race officials said.

Two judges on the ground also suffered minor injuries from flying debris. One refused medical attention and the other was treated at the scene.

Students on a field trip from seven elementary schools were among those at the races when the crash occurred. School officials said counselors were being made available to talk to children.

Two pilots were killed in separate accidents on Tuesday and Thursday, the first time since 1993 there has been more than one fatal crash at the races in the same year. The races are like a car race in the sky, following an oval path over the airport runway and around pylon markers at various distances and sometimes within a few hundred feet of the ground.

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