The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a plane crash that killed one person at the Reno Air Races Sunday.
The pilot killed in the jet crash during the Reno Air Races was Paso Robles resident Aaron Hogue.
Hogue died at 61 years old.
“We lost a member of our race family during the Jet Gold race on the third lap,” said Reno Air Racing Association CEO Fred Telling.
Hogue piloted Jet 29, known as “Ballista,” which crashed during the third lap of the Gold Race.
“As he was approaching the fifth pylon, we noticed a very sharp turn to the right,” said Matt Moore, a witness during the race.
Witnesses noticed the jet began to drop during the initial start of the race before recovering multiple times.
“It was a left roll all the way to the ground,” said Moore. “It impacted ground as a giant fireball.”
Moore said those watching were in shock when the plane crashed.
“There was a sudden pause,” said Moore. “There was no other reaction, kind of just a dead silence. To actually see it firsthand of that happening, it's hard.”
Hogue made his presence known during his time in Paso Robles at the Paso Robles Municipal Airport.
“Aaron was pretty motivated and very energetic,” said HeliComm Avionics Owner David Nutile. “To say that even is understatement.”
Hogue was praised by Nutile for connecting Central Coast residents to flying.
“He did a tremendous amount of work himself on his airplanes, and he loved it so much,” said Nutile.
While he co-owned a knife and firearm attachment business, Hogue’s true passion was being in the air.
“He didn't spend a great deal of time on the ground,” said Nutile. “He liked to be in the air. When he flew by in his jet, you knew it was him every time. He is the last guy that I would have ever expected that to happen to because he was so sharp and such a good pilot. It's devastating just to try to reconcile with what happened.”
“While we cannot change this tragedy, I would ask everybody to think, pray and honor Aaron and his passion for life and certainly his passion for air racing,” said Telling.
Once the race concluded, the Reno Races suspended all activities that normally follow the races.
The investigation into the crash currently remains open.
The family was unavailable for comment on the subject as they were present when the tragedy occurred.