This Week: Reno Air Races are back

Published: Monday, Sep. 10, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 10, 2012 - 7:02 am

Reno Air Races back with new safety steps The Reno Air Races start Wednesday with some changes aimed at improving safety for spectators. A plane crash at last year's races killed 10 people on the ground and injured more than 70.

Federal investigators last month blamed the crash on modifications to the World War II-era plane made by the pilot, 74-year-old Jimmy Leeward. Among other changes, Leeward had cut several feet off the wings of his P-51 Mustang – called the "Galloping Ghost" – in an effort to make it faster, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. He accomplished that goal – investigators said he topped out at 530 mph before crashing – but also destabilized the craft and died in the crash.

For this year's event, organizers have redesigned the course to increase the buffer between the racing planes and the grandstand by 150 feet – to a total of at least 1,000 feet, according to the Associated Press. But they rejected an NTSB recommendation that they look at whether pilots should be required to wear flight suits to handle high gravitational forces.

The event runs from Wednesday to Sunday. Daily admission prices range from $12 Wednesday to $29 Sunday.

– Mary Lynne Vellinga

Thousands expected for Convoy of Hope

About 20,000 people are expected Saturday at Cal Expo for the third annual Sacramento Convoy of Hope. The event offers free groceries, health screenings, haircuts, job fairs and other services throughout the nation. The massive giveaway starts at 10 a.m. All are welcome and no identification is required.

Behind the news: Convoy of Hope – an amalgam of churches, businesses and volunteer organizations – was formed in 1994. The parents of its president, Hal Donaldson, were hit by a drunken driver in 1969. His father was killed, and his mother incapacitated. Local churches and the community pitched in to provide food and shelter for the family, inspiring Donaldson and his siblings to help others in need.

Info:www.sacramentocoh.org

Day of reflection set at Cal Expo 9/11 site

On the anniversary of 9/11, Sacramentans can pay tribute to the victims at Cal Expo, which is hosting a day of reflection Tuesday at the State Fair's September 11 Memorial Plaza from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking is free.

Behind the news: Construction of the Cal Expo memorial began a year after the attack, when board member Larry Davis acquired and donated 125,000 pounds of wreckage from the World Trade Center to Cal Expo. The memorial also includes a granite ball inscribed with the names of 9/11 victims.

Info: www.calexpo.com

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