2010 & 2012 Reno Air Race Photo Gallery by Tatsuo “Ken” Sakurai

Race 232 September Fury, Hawker Sea Fury

Race 232 September Fury, Hawker Sea Fury

…Through photography, creativity flows and spreads around the world, quietly benefiting  everyone in its infinite exchange of beauty and grace…

Each year, world class photographers meet at Stead Air Force Base in Reno, Nevada to capture breathtaking pictures of grand aircraft – old and new, exceptional pilots, race fans and many of the small intricacies that most eyes overlook at this extraordinary event, The National Championship Air Races and Air Show.

Ultimately, feelings of awe, joy, excitement, and many other emotions unique to each individual, are captured in these photographs, all in a collective moment in time.

As these photographers share their best pictures taken each day, I am endlessly amazed that we are at the same event, with the same opportunities to capture the same images.

The combined talent meeting each year for one week in September is unparallelled, the photographs are breathtakingly beautiful and quite moving.  I am humbled and grateful to be among my talented friends.

The following pictures are only a few photographs taken under the pylons that my exceptional friend from Japan, Mr. Tatsuo Sakurai took in 2010 and 2012.  I’ll be posting another collection of his photographs from 2012, that not only showcase his immense technical talent (as seen here in these perfectly clear pictures of Jets and other aircraft flying at speeds of up to 500mph), but also his incredible artistry that transforms simple things into beautiful photographs.

We’re all looking forward to the Air Races, and the best aviation photographs taken by the best aviation photographers!

Until then…

Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe

Race 7 Strega, P-51D, Steve Hinton Jr. Pilot

Race 7 Strega, P-51D, Steve Hinton Jr. Pilot

Race 38 Precious Metal, P-51XR, Thom Richard, Pilot

Race 38 Precious Metal, P-51XR, Thom Richard, Pilot

Race 64 Red Knight, T-6, Keith McMann Pilot

Race 64 Red Knight, T-6, Keith McMann Pilot

Pace Plane T-33, Steve Hinton Sr. Pilot

Pace Plane T-33, Steve Hinton Sr. Pilot

Race 55 Here Kitty Kitty, F7F Tigercat

Race 55 Here Kitty Kitty, F7F Tigercat

Race 55 Here Kitty Kitty, F7F Tigercat

Race 55 Here Kitty Kitty, F7F Tigercat

Race 31 Taango-Tango, Bi-Plane, Tony Higa Pilot

Race 31 Taango-Tango, Bi-Plane, Tony Higa Pilot

Race 31 Tango-Tango, Bi-Plane, Tony Higa Pilot

Race 31 Tango-Tango, Bi-Plane, Tony Higa Pilot

Race 62 Phantom, Modified Mong Sport, Tom Aberle Pilot

Race 62 Phantom, Modified Mong Sport, Tom Aberle Pilot

Race 4 Ruby, Pitts S-1S, Marilyn Dash Pilot

Race 4 Ruby, Pitts S-1S, Marilyn Dash Pilot

Race 4 Ruby, Pitts S-1S, Marilyn Dash Pilot

Race 4 Ruby, Pitts S-1S, Marilyn Dash Pilot

Race 71 Sawbones, Hawker Sea Fury, Dan Vance, Pilot

Race 71 Sawbones, Hawker Sea Fury, Dan Vance, Pilot

Race 1 Hot Section, TS-11 Iskra, Lachie Onslow,, Pilot

Race 1 Hot Section, TS-11 Iskra, Lachie Onslow,, Pilot

Race 66 Black Czech, L-39 Jet, Mark Pracy, Pilot

Race 66 Black Czech, L-39 Jet, Mark Pracy, Pilot

Race 14 Baron's Revenge, AT-6B

Race 14 Baron’s Revenge, AT-6B

Race 66 Black Czech, L-39 Jet

Race 66 Black Czech, L-39 Jet

Race 54 Robin 1, L-39 Jet

Race 54 Robin 1, L-39 Jet

Race 54 Robin 1, L-39 Jet

Race 54 Robin 1, L-39 Jet

Race 232 September Fury, Hawker Sea Fury

Race 232 September Fury, Hawker Sea Fury

Race 1 Hot Section, TS-11 Iskra

Race 1 Hot Section, TS-11 Iskra

Race 7 Strega, P-51D

Race 7 Strega, P-51D

Race 71 Sawbones, Hawker Sea Fury

Race 71 Sawbones, Hawker Sea Fury

Race 38 Precious Metal, P-51 XR

Race 38 Precious Metal, P-51 XR

Tom Aberle, Pilot, Race 62 Phantom Sets a New Course Record!

Reno Air Races, September 15, 2010
Yesterday during prequalification flight, Tom Aberle, Pilot and owner of Phantom, Race 62 set a new course record in his beautiful custom Mong Sport at 261.74 mph.

This year Tom has a shinny new engine – a Lycoming 360 with roller lifters – they operate the valves, and the rollers allow for a more aggressive cam profile equating to more torque.

Last year Tom had some engine problems and ran slower – two bad cylinders, so he flew a mere 236.9950mph. His last course record was in 2008 where he flew 251.75mph.

Ken Tunnel, engine re-builder for Ly-Con, won’t say what he did to the engine – Tom asked for a “dyno sheet” but mums seems to be the word, nothing was printed for the record….So, Tom will have to put more hours on the engine and evaluate the possibilities. Since the new engine is still being broken in, each time Tom takes it up for a spin the engine runs faster!

“We’ll see what he can do tomorrow with traffic, says Bob Brown, Race 62 Crew Glass and Aerodynamics man. “Race speeds are usually slower because you don’t have to worry about passing other airplanes or other airplanes passing you – you just have to fly your course with no accommodations for other aircraft.”

Today Tom’s sitting pretty with his qualification time a good 30+ mph more than the other competitors in the bi-plane class. He pretty much has to race against himself this year, improve his own record and see just what the performance capabilities are.

Tom is a charming, down to earth man, who willingly shares his wealth of information with the other pilots in Formula and Biplane classes and anyone with questions about aviation that visit the hanger.

From all your Race Fans Tom, Good Luck with the new engine! You’ve set the bar pretty high – if it isn’t asking too much, can we see a personal best in Sunday’s Gold Race??

Good luck and God’s Speed!

Kimberley West,
Warbirdbabe

Friday, September 18, 2009 – Video Interview with 2008 Biplane Winner Tom Aberle!

Video Interview with Race #62 "Phantom" Biplane Pilot Tom Aberle

Video Interview with Race #62 "Phantom" Biplane Pilot Tom Aberle

The talented crew for “Phantom” – the beautifully designed Biplane, Race #62, is analyzing one of the four cylinders for tomorrow’s race. The heat is on to beat his wining record last year of 251.975 mph and it looks like with some quick tinkering he’ll be ready to give it 100%.
Pilot Tom Aberle’s Biplane is a modified Mong Sport, which is his custom design.  Tom and his crew built this aircraft in seven months!  BTW, the flattering paint design was created by Leo Williams, who has also outfitted the entire crew with awesome tees for years.

Listen to the video for history of this fantastic aircraft. Thanks for the interview Tom!

Good Luck and Godspeed!
Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe