Second Stunt Plane Crash in One Week

As thousands of spectators watched in horror, a stunt pilot was killed at an air show in Ohio Saturday when his biplane suddenly slammed into the runway of the Dayton International Airport and burst into flames.

His death came just a day after a fiery scene at an air show in Oshkosh, Wis. There, two single-engine World War II planes collided, killing one pilot and injuring the other.

In both cases, no one on the ground was hurt. One major reason is that the FAA doesn't allow air show pilots to fly directly at or over spectators.

Air show crashes are rare. There are only about four a year, and there are more than 400 shows in the United States alone.

Internationally, the story has been far more tragic. In Germany in 1988, an air show crash killed 70 and injured hundreds of people on the ground.

'We [in the United States] have one of the best safety nets that's ever been created," AirShowBuzz.com's Ed Shipley said. "Last time anybody, a spectator, was ever injured -- that was back in 1951."

But each accident is magnified because everyone seems to have a camera recording every dramatic second.

At the Ohio crash Saturday, many with cameras witnessed the crash.

"If you've got kids, please turn them away, please turn them from the flight line," an announcer shouted over the loudspeaker. "Get your kids near you."

The award-winning stunt pilot, marine veteran Jim Leroy, died on the way to the hospital.

"He made a lot of great friends and was really just a spectacular performer that all of us looked up to, " Shipley said.

While American spectators have been safe, not everyone on the ground has been so fortunate.

Earlier this year in South Carolina, the Navy's famed "Blue Angels" lost their 24th pilot when he crashed into a neighborhood, damaging three homes and injuring eight people. And in California in 2004, a plane dove into a car, injuring the two women inside.

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