Celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary, the National Championship Air Races, better known as the Reno Air Races, takes place at Stead airport a few miles north of Reno, Nevada, where, for five days, pilots in several categories of plane compete on circuits marked out by pylons in the desert.
Speed The racing aircraft reach speeds in excess of 500/mph – which is by far the fastest-moving machines of all motorsports! Whilst the aircraft are the main draw, other demonstrations of speed by Yves “Jetman” Rossy and Bentley excited the crowds.
Paint Having a good looking steed is as important as it being fast .With paint jobs that cost in excess of $100,000, wildly painted aircraft like Rare Bear, September Fury and Voodoo certainly draw the crowds on the ground. Other teams prefer classic heritage paint schemes like Strega, Czech Mate and Dreadnaught.
Noise With some engines assembled in Sussex’s own Rolls Royce plant and the open desert many of the planes produce a phenomenal amount of sound.
Nostalgia Bob Hoover was in attendence this year along with his plane Ole Yeller. In aviation circles, often referred to as “the pilots’ pilot”, Hoover is generally regarded as the greatest aerobatic pilot of all time. Hoover is often credited with partly inspiring the film The Great Escape. With the unlimited class being modified WWII fighters, the races truly celebrate a bygone era of design and engineering ingenuity.