Here’s a quick Compilation of Awesome Photos by Ken Sakurai from the Reno Race’s 50th Anniversary.
At approximately 4:20 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, during Unlimited Class Gold Heat, the P-51 Mustang “Galloping Ghost,” piloted by Jimmy Leeward, crashed into the box seat area in front of the main grandstand.
It was a mass casualty situation and local emergency personnel were on the scene immediately. All aspects of the horrific situation were handled swiftly and professionally by the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) staff. The Executive Committee, Police Chief, Fire Marshall officials, FAA, NTSB, Reno Mayor and Nevada Governor were convened in the media center to review the situation and prepare official statements.
Mike Houghton, CEO and President of RARA gave two press conferences and extended his deepest sympathies and condolences to all of the families involved in the tragic accident. “The Air Races are truly one big family and our thoughts are with all of our aviation family members, immediate and extended.” – just some of the official comments provided in last night’s press conference.
Because of this very sad time this is all I can say… For now, you may view the second press conference video from last night here. (sorry, wordpress is upgrading their system so we can’t upload the video press conference until Monday, September 19, 2011)
Later I will post many beautiful photographs taken by many of my fellow photographers.
My deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones and to the family of Jimmy Leeward.
Kimberley West, WarBiordBabe
Good Morning Race Fans!
By 6:45 am this morning forty or more photographers
were on the ramp taking photos of the Unlimited Class warming up their engines, static F-15’s, F/A-18 Hornets and the static Heritage planes and jets. This morning was a photographers dream with the
sunrise sifting through the unexpected clouds and the bright pink alpenglow on the gentle desert hills in the background.
If you’re at home, wish you were here!
Unlimited Bronze Heat 3C – Official Race Results – 6 laps at 8.4333 miles each
1st Place: John Curtiss Paul, Race #17, P40N “Parrot Head,” 321.549 mph
2nd Place: Jimmy Leeward, Race #24, F4U-4 Corsair, 315.891 mph
3rd Place: Doug Matthews, Race#117, Hawker Sea Fury, “Bad Attitude,” 315.687 mph
4th Place: Fred Cabanas, Race #52, P-51 Mustang, “American Beauty,” 315.1221
5th Place: Thomas Camp, Race #2, Grumman FM-2 Wildcat, “Air Biscuit,” 267.286 (cut pylon 2, lap 5)
T-6 Gold Heat 2 – Official Race Results – 5 laps at 5.0693 miles each
1st Place: Nick Macy, Race #6, T-6, “Six Cat,” 236.749 mph
2nd Place: Dennis Buehn, Race #43, T-6, “Midnight Miss III,” 231.636 mph
3rd Place: Alfred Goss, Race #75, T-6, “Warlock,” 321.312 mph
4th Place: John Lohmar, Race #28, T-6, “Radial Velocity,” 224.093 mph
5th Place: John Zayac, Race #37, T-6, “McDonald Racer,” 224.012 mph
6th Place: Gene McNeely, Race #90, T-6, “Undecided,” 219.677 mph
Many thanks to the crew and pilots for the exciting races!
Good Luck and Godspeed!
Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe
Hey Newbie Janet!
Great Questions and thanks for writing! Here’s what you should know and can expect from the races as a newbie.
First, the “Reno Races” are in fact “air races” with lots of thrilling and entertaining “air show” events occurring between the races within the tightly choreographed four day event. You will be attending with about 210,000 of your new race friends!
About the Races
The aircraft race in a basic circle course around Pylons (flying low and flying left) and each category of aircraft listed below have their own course, varying in length depending on the speed and size of the aircraft. The “home pylon” is front and center of the Grandstands and Box seating, so you can see the winners zipping by and pulling up at the finish of their race! You might want to bring binoculars to see the planes as they are flying their laps on the far side of the course and to people watch!
These are the six classes of aircraft that will be racing, their average speed and course length:
- The Unlimited and Jet classes fly the same and largest course of approximately 8.43 miles. The Unlimited class fly between 465 mph to 487.9 mph* (a course record in 2007, although I was there when a 501 mph was recorded on a qualifying lap). The Jets fly about the same speed and I’m betting they’ll fly about 10 mph faster this year.
- The Sport Class has a slightly smaller and tighter course of approximately 7 miles (6.9992). These small planes fly fast, about 400 mph.
- Formula 1 aircraft are built according to strict specifications and reach speeds of about 250 mph on a 3.1875 mile course.
- Biplanes, the small aerobatic aircraft fly about 250 mph on a 3.1761 mile course.
- My personal favorite, the AT-6’s fly a 5.0693 mile course at speeds that range from 210- to 235 mph.
Be prepared to enjoy the roar of the radial engines up-close and personal! Most of the aircraft will be starting their planes in view of the grandstands and will set the tone with the chest rattling sounds of heavy metal – just for you!
About the Air Show
Secondly, the Reno Races feature a first class air show with incredible talent and incredible machinery. This year the Blue Angels will perform (first time since 2000) in their F-18 Hornets – always a show favorite with their tight precision maneuvers and screaming fast fly-bys. Be sure to keep your eyes on the solo flyers. If you’re not watching, you won’t see them; you’ll just be startled by their AWESOME SCREAMING sound!
There’s always an impressive US Navy Legacy Flight which features the beautiful and rare P-38, Glacier Girl, P-51, an A-10 and an F-16. The Navy chooses two pilots from a special list of civilian pilots to fly the P-51 and P-38. What an honor for those lucky pilots! They’ll fly by low and slow in tribute to our armed services and flying heroes.
Patty Wagstaff in her Extra 300S will dazzle with her aerobatic performance as will David Martin in his aerobatic show with the same type of aircraft. The precision team Red Eagles, Dan McClung and Buck Roetman in their low flying pretty bi-planes will show you what a snap roll, flat spin, torque roll, tail slide and inverted flat spins are all about – but warning: don’t try these at home… ! (There will be more performers, so check the official website provided on my side bar for the latest show additions.)
Thirdly, you’ll have the opportunity to view the static displays of Vintage aircraft and Heritage Trophy aircraft. There’s an award ceremony with trophies presented by aviation VIP’s and the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum. You’ll also have access to the Military Static Display with impressive hardware like the Harrier, the Predator, C-130, C-12, C-21, F-5, F-15, F-16, F-18, KC-135, T-1, T-6 and many more.
Fourth, if you’d like to see and admire the racing aircraft, their pilots and crew, I’d strongly urge you to purchase at least one day of “pit access” tickets. You can walk all aisles of parked aircraft, the T-6 and Unlimited, and visit the crew and friends of the Sport, Bi-plane and Formula planes under two hangars. The air show performer aircraft are parked next to the Exhibitor aircraft and you may see “Hoot” Gibson, Space Shuttle Columbia’s Commander and 1984 Challenger’s Pilot flying a demonstration of the latest Gulf Stream Jet – for those who’d like to take home a little something special.
You can still view the races in the Pit Area and see the air show events in progress. You may even catch a glimpse of the legendary Bob Hoover and other racing VIP’s and performers!
And last, but not least, expect the sun to shine brightly, the weather to change on a dime and the wind to blow hard sometimes. Expect to be overwhelmed with beautiful aircraft, lots of people, and your feet to say “sit down.” Be thrilled by the talented pilots flying all kinds of aircraft for your enjoyment – it only happens once a year and in one place on earth – that’s Stead Air Force Base, the home of the Reno National Championship Air Races. Take your time, soak it all in, talk to the other fans and take lots of pictures. And remember, you’ll be viewing history in motion!
Enjoy your races Janet! We’ll be looking for you!
Good luck and Godspeed~
Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe