Although marred by Saturday's fatal crash of Miss Ashley II — one that killed pilot Gary R. Levitz — this year's National Championship Air Races at Reno once again brought out the racing faithful, those who crave the smells of high-octane fuel, hot oil and sweat mingled with the growl of race-tuned aircraft engines putting out way too much horsepower. In addition to the racing, attendees were treated to a program that included airshow veterans Bob Hoover and Wayne Handley, among others, plus a special program honoring Heroes of Flight. AVweb Contributor Matt Paxton was there. Here are some of his images.
Rare Bear, Lyle Shelton's
highly modified F8F Bearcat returns to Reno. In practice on Tuesday, the
Bear broke a clamp holding an exhaust stack damaging a cylinder and
other engine components. The crew was finishing up the cylinder
change-out on Wednesday afternoon.
After P-51 "Voodoo Chile" damaged
its engine on Monday its crew worked all day Wednesday installing a engine
bought from the Dago Red crew. The engine change was accomplished just in
time to allow Voodoo to qualify late Wednesday.
Last year's Unlimited Gold winner, Dago
Red, also had work going on under the hood on Wednesday.
Formula One pilot Holbrook Maslen helps a
youngster into the cockpit of his racer "Judy". Quite a few
kids got the chance to sit in Maslen's airplane and try to envision what
it's like to fly the pylons at Reno.
Howard Pardue's Sea Fury had an unusual
pilot in the cockpit on Wednesday.
The vendor area behind the
grandstands was busy Thursday. Food and drinks, hats, t-shirts, and
souvenirs were selling briskly.
For a number of years,
Reno's Boy Scout Troop #1 has sold the official Reno Air Race poster.
Scouts and scout leaders had a good crowd at their tent on Thursday.
On static display is Robert
Odegaard's F2G Corsair, which raced in the 1949 National Air Races at
Cleveland. The F2G was one of only a handfull - less than 20 - produced
at the end of World War II with the massive Pratt and Whitney R-4360
engine. This aircraft is the only flying survivor.
Crew members check over Riff
Raff, the Sea Fury flown by Hoot Gibson after its victory in Heat 1B
T-6s round pylon #1 during
a heat race on Thursday.
A biplane in one of the
heats Friday snarls past a pylon on the racecourse.
Jack Frost in Frost Bite
leads Mary Dilda in Two of Hearts in the T-6 class 1A heat Friday
Ridge Runner and Critical
Mass duke it out in the Unlimited Gold heat 2A on Friday afternoon. Dago
Red nosed out Strega to win the heat.
Crew members work on the
main landing gear Howard Pardue's Sea Fury following the Unlimited
Silver heat 2B on Friday.
Unlimited contender Strega
prepares for Saturday's Unlimited Gold heat.
The crew finished up work on
Rare Bear Saturday morning, in time for the Bear to fly in the Gold heat
A crew member put the final
polish on Bill Anders's Bearcat Wampus Cat. The Wampus Cat took fourth in
Saturday's Bronze heat.
Fourth And Final Day
The turnstyles were busy
Sunday as the largest crowd of the week turned out to see the finals in
all classes, including the Unlimited Gold race.
Racers in the Sports class
fly past the grandstands completing another lap in the race.
The Sport class Gold race
saw some action in the field, but was dominated by Dave Morss in his
T-6 class racing competition
pits virtually stock airplanes against each other, providing true
one-design racing at Reno.
Two Sea Furies battle it out
down low while a Mustang takes the high road in Sunday's Unlimited Gold
final at Reno.
Bruce Lockwood savors Dago
Red's victory in the Unlimited Gold race Sunday at the 1999 National Championship Air Races