September 24, 2009
By Mike Collins
Click the image above to view a slideshow. Photo and Audio credit: Robert Fisher
Steven Hinton, 22, flew the P-51D Mustang Strega to a first-place finish in the Breitling Unlimited Gold Race at the Forty-Sixth National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 20. Hinton, who led the field throughout the eight-lap, 67-mile race at an average speed of 491.822 mph, became the youngest pilot to win Reno’s premier air race.
John Penney, flying F8F-2 Bearcat Rare Bear, placed second in the Unlimited Gold race with an average speed of 479.088 mph. Sherman Smoot, flying Yak 11 Czech Mate, took third place with a speed of 464.312. P-51D Mustang Voodoo, flown by Will Whiteside, declared a Mayday during the fifth lap and left the competition; the airplane landed safely.
Brent Hisey, flying P-51D Mustang Miss America, won the seven-lap, 58.6-mile Unlimited Silver race with an average speed of 425.4 mph. Doug Matthews, in the Hawker Sea Fury Bad Attitude, took first place in the six-lap, 50-mile Unlimited Bronze race with a speed of 364 mph, although he forfeited the win to compete in the Silver race. Fred Cabanas, flying P-51 Mustang American Beauty, won the Bronze race with a speed of 363 mph.
Listen to a sample of the race action.
Richard Thom of Kissimmee, Fla., won the Formula 1 Gold in a Cassutt, Invictus, with a speed of 241 mph. Thom also won the Formula 1 Silver flying another Cassutt, Miss USA, averaging 219.3 mph. John Hall of Spring Branch, Texas, took the Formula 1 Bronze in a Cassutt, What’s Up Doc, averaging 206 mph.
Nick Macy of Tulelake, Calif., won the T-6 Gold flying Six-Cat and averaging 237.6 mph. Curt Brown of Hudson, Wis., won the Jet Gold race flying an L-29, Viper, at an average speed of 513.5 mph.
Complete results for all race categories can be found on the Reno Air Racing Association’s Web site.
The National Championship Air Races draw large crowds to Reno/Stead Airport, 10 miles northwest of Reno, for five days every September. The 2010 event will be held Sept. 15 through 19.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Giving an injured U.S. Marine a taste of the freedom of flight set a Mississippi pilot on a course to do much more.
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