September 12, 2012
A racer's six-blade prop is ready for action.
Two T-6s make their way around the course.
Biplane Class entry Phantom is a modified Mong Sport.
A heat of T-6 racers waits to take off.
P-51 Precious Metal basks in the sun.
Race aircraft, their pilots and crews, and air race fans from across the country have descended on Reno/Stead Airport north of Reno, Nev., for the 2012 National Championship Air Races. Qualifications for all race classes ran from Sept. 10 through midday Sept. 12, when racing began.
A fatal crash during last year’s air races, when the highly modified P-51 Mustang Galloping Ghost abruptly rolled, pitched up, and crashed—killing longtime race pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 spectators on the ground—cast a pall of uncertainty over this year’s event. However, course modifications, additional pilot training, and a $1.7 million insurance premium increase allowed the races to continue. This year’s races continue through Sept. 16.
Rare Bear's engine receives some attention. Photo credit: Robert Fisher.
Unlimited Class race pilot Matt Jackson of Van Nuys, Calif., was not injured Sept. 11 when the right landing gear of his Hawker Sea Fury, Furias, collapsed after landing. “He had three green lights but one was flickering,” a journalist at Reno told AOPA. “Somebody came up behind him and told him the gear was down and couldn’t tell if it was locked,” he said. “He came in nice and slow, landed down on one wheel—nice and easy—then the other side collapsed,” causing the airplane to ground loop. Furias had qualified third in the Unlimited Class with a speed of 467.287 mph.
The number of racers this year is down in most categories except for Sport Class, which is at capacity, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
Racing began Sept. 12 in all classes except Unlimited, which will fly its first heats Sept. 13. Three heats are flown in each class daily, with airshow performances between the heats. Race results are posted almost immediately on the Reno Air Racing Association website, or through the Air Races app for the Apple iPhone.
Alaska seaplane pilots will gather at Lake Hood April 26 for a day of free seminars, briefings, and conversation to kick off the season.
Kirby Chambliss dodges the Texas Star Ferris wheel, whizzes under a bridge, zigzags between trees, and buzzes police vehicles with sirens blaring in a promotional video for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which comes to Texas Sept. 6 and 7. Can the police #CatchKirby?
AOPA's first regional fly-in of 2014 kicks off April 26 in San Marcos, Texas. Here are 10 tips to look forward to the day of the fly-in.
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