Reno Air Races Wrap


Reno National Championship Air Races wrapped up a safe week of high-speed flying on Sunday afternoon. Mike Brown and “September Fury” won the Unlimited Class Gold Race with a speed of 481.619 mph. Matt Jackson flew “Dreadnought” to a second-place finish, roaring around the pylons at 453.559 mph. The winners shared a purse of $1 million. “This is the only place in the world where you can come and do this [fly low and fast] and not get in trouble,” race president Michael Houghton told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “We’ve got the largest race field we’ve ever had.” The event has grown in the last few years, now attracting about 200,000 visitors, lots of vendors and displays on the ground, and dozens of airplanes that race in six categories from biplanes to jets. Fastest and most popular are the “unlimiteds,” modified warbirds that fly close to 500 mph. According to Reno’s race results page, a Lancair Legacy qualified for the Sport class at better than 354 mph.

A film crew was on-site shooting the action for “Thunder Over Reno,” a flying romance due at your local theater sometime next year. All of the flying visuals in the film will be real, the filmmakers said, no computer-generated images. One person suffered minor injuries on Saturday when an oxygen bottle exploded in the rear of a P-51 Mustang. Several aircraft experienced in-air problems from a lost canopy to unspecified “maydays,” but nobody was hurt. Check out the Gazette-Journal’s online package for slideshows, reports from the scene, and complete race results.