Updated: 22/09/16 : 13:24:48
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World:: Pilot almost loses head in terrifying incident - Video

Heartstopping cockpit footage of an incredible near miss at the Reno National Championship Air Races has been released on YouTube.

The incident, which took place on September 18, shows pilot Thom Richard in his plane as he prepares for take-off during the Gold final start along with seven other planes.

Richard's plane was fourth place on the starting grid with three planes behind. But, just before the race began, he noticed his engine was not running properly.

Richard describes what happened next:

"I made the decision to shut the engine down to signal the starters to halt the starting process. The flagman on my row put his hands in an ĎXí over his head, as our procedures prescribe, and I opened my canopy to make it clear I was out of the race and so everyone could see me."

However, there was a miscommunication and the planes behind him began to taxi down the runway for take off.

"Much to my surprise, I saw the flagman run out on to the runway waving his hands over his head as if something was wrong. The aircraft to my right started rolling and a few seconds later the number six and eight aircraft flew by me on either side. All I could do at that point was hope the number seven (center) aircraft would clear me on the centerline to my right," he writes.

It didnít and the wing of the plane hit Richard's at sixty miles per hour.

The cockpit footage of the incident is terrifying.

Amazingly, both pilots suffered only minor injuries with Richard suffering a broken hand from the wing's impact.

And he has a pretty Zen outlook on the accident.

"Iíve said many times before and Iíll say it again, thereís risk in everything we do. But the counterpart to that is reward. I choose to cross the street because the risk of crossing the street is worth the reward of getting to the other side. Same thing with air racing, Iíll be backÖ Iíve used up another of my nine lives, but why would you have nine unless you plan to use them?Ö

"We live, learn and race on. "