Reno Air Show Crash Pilot Worked on 'Tuskegee Airmen,' 'Amelia'


Jimmy Leeward reportedly lost control of a vintage WWII plane Friday, killing himself and at least two spectators at the annual event.

The pilot of a WWII airplane that crashed during Reno's National Championship Air Races and Air Show on Friday had worked as a stunt pilot on a handful of Hollywood projects.

Jimmy Leeward's film credits included the 2002 Kevin Costner film Dragonfly, PBS's Tuskegee Airmen, Amelia, and the 2006 John Travolta/James Gandolfini drama, Lonely Hearts.

Leeward, 74, reportedly lost control of the P-51 Mustang as it was making its third pass past spectators. The vintage aircraft spiraled and crashed into a section of box seats, reportedly killing Leeward and two people, and injuring dozens others.

His family posted this message on his Facebook page, "From the family of Jimmy Leeward... Dear friends, we are deeply saddened by the tragedy at the air race today. Please join us in praying at this time for all the families affected."

Leeward's pilot's medical records were up-to-date, and he was "a very qualified, very experience pilot," Reno Air Races President Mike Houghton told the Associated Press.

CNN's AC360 and MSNBC's Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell were among the news outlets that aired amateur video of the the accident. O'Donnell quoted an eyewitness as saying the scene "was like a massacre."

The National Championship Air Races have been canceled and a memorial service will be held for Leeward, a regular at the event, Saturday afternoon, notes CNN.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy