By Steve Large


10 p.m. UPDATE: The Reno Fire Chief tellls CBS13 the plane fell apart in the air, as it was flying low through an obstacle course during the qualifying stage of the Reno National Air Race Championships.

The plane quickly hit the ground, killing Lee Behel, 64 of San Jose, a man well-known in the air racing community.

“He’s one of the fixtures of our sport,” said Mike Draper. “He’s the founder of the sport class. He’s a former military Air Force fighter pilot. More important, he was a very congenial guy.”

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what caused the plane to suddenly come apart in flight.

8 p.m UPDATE:  A single-engine experimental GP5 crashed around 3:15 p.m. on the race course during a qualifying run for the event, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot has been identified as Lee Behel, 64, of San Jose. Behel is a retired Air Force pilot known for his GP-5 named Sweet Dreams.

Nobody on the ground was injured in the crash.

RENO (CBS13) — A plane crashed at the Reno Air Races, killing the pilot.

The rest of Monday’s events have been canceled.

This is the second deadly crash since 2011 at the Reno event.

A crash on Sept 16, 2011 at the Reno Air Races killed 11 people including the pilot of The Galloping Ghost, 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward. The P-51D that dates back to WWII had undergone massive modifications.

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board said the plane hit the first few rows of VIP box seats like a missile, causing a crater roughly 3 feet deep and 8 feet across with debris spread out over more than an acre.

In January 2012, the Reno Air Races Association president said a panel of experts will help with the safety efforts for the next year’s event.

2011 RENO AIR RACES CRASH

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