October 16, 2008
By Mike Collins
Engines screaming, airplanes bank around pylons in an all-out speed contest. These are the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, which marked its 45th anniversary last month. The event draws large crowds to Reno/Stead Airport, 10 miles northwest of Reno, every September.
One of the most unique perspectives on the races—second only to that of the race pilots themselves—is from the base of the pylons that mark turn points on the course. Contributor Robert Fisher shares that experience with this audio slideshow produced exclusively for AOPA Online.
Bill “Tiger” Destefani of Bakersfield, Calif., won the Unlimited Breitling Gold race Sept. 14 in his P-51 Mustang Strega, with a speed of 483 miles per hour. Dan Vance of Santa Rosa, Calif., captured the Unlimited Silver with his Hawker Sea Fury September Pops, and Will Whiteside of Windsor, Calif., took the Unlimited Bronze flying Voodoo, a P-51.
In the T-6 class, Ken Dwelle of Auburn, Calif., won the gold—and set a class record—in Tinkertoy with a speed of 244.523 mph.
John Sharp of Mojave, Calif, won the Super Sport Gold in his NXT, Nemesis, with a speed of 392 mph. Tom Aberle of Fallbrook, Calif, won the Biplane Gold competition. Steve Senegal of San Bruno, Calif., captured Formula One Gold honors, and Curt Brown of Hudson, Wis., was the Jet Gold Race winner. Complete results can be found on the Reno Air Racing Association’s Web site.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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