Air Racers 3D Movie Opens Today

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A new 3D film currently scheduled for a handful of IMAX theaters offers unique visual perspectives of the Reno Air Races, good engine noise and a bit of aviation history. The filmloosely follows Steve Hinton, Jr.’s 2009 bid to succeed his father’s record as the youngest pilot to win the Unlimited Gold championship at the races in the modified P-51, Strega. Filming was done at 2009 and 2010 Reno race events and was completed in June 2011 with specially staged air-to-air shots. The final product leaves out mention of the September 2011 crash that killed pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 spectators, injured 74 others, and destroyed the modified P-51 Galloping Ghost.

The movie begins with computer-generated footage involving wartime P-51s in action. It introduces historic footage (in 2D), briefly covers aviation’s roots as relevant to air racing, and evolves into an introduction to what we know as the modern Reno Air Race event, including select airshow performances. For those, some of the air-to-air filming offers airshow enthusiasts a new visual perspective on aerobatic flight routines, including flights by the Snowbirds, Kent Pietsch and the late Greg Poe. The film avoids deep technical details and sometimes layers music over engine noise but also captures in-cockpit speed and sound while giving a glimpse behind the scenes at the races. The current show schedule is here.