Moose Peterson reports:
Thursdays start at Stead Field, home to the Reno Air Races was spectacular! On the ramp was the now-famous P-51D “The Rebel” that Doug Mathews took to new heights just months ago setting five new records. It’s hard to believe this Mustang was flying at 42,000 feet! “The Rebel” is one of the aircraft in the Unlimited Class racing this week at Reno.
This morning’s biplane and formula heats were really exciting with some great flying, and while no records were set, watching four or five aircraft battling for position as they made each turn sets the pulse racing. For you who have never seen a Formula plane in person, these historic aircraft, that have been a part of racing from its very beginnings, are incredibly small. How small? Even with a tub of grease smeared on me, there is no way I could probably get one foot into them, let alone my whole body. But they scream down the course and make for some very exciting racing!
The one big change in leaders came today in the T-6 Gold Heat. Leader Nick Macy was piloting “Six-Pack,” and right after the start of the race on the first turn, had a mayday. His engine had seized but with some great flying skill, he pulled up and then came in deadstick for a perfect landing. Unfortunately though, he is now out of the race putting Dennis Buehn in #43 in the number one spot.
Tomorrow the Unlimiteds take to the air as they start bidding for the Gold. In the evening after the last jet heat, Precious Metal piloted by Thom Richards went for a test flight and overhead, had the highly modified P-51D really humming along, as in on the ground looking up, everyone was saying, “He’s rippin!” It looks like there is going to be some amazing racing from all of the classes for the rest of the week.
One of the highlights of the day though was not in the air, but in a panel discussion of racing pilots. Hosted by RARA’s Mike Houghton, legend Bob Hoover was joined by Matt Jackson, the pilot of Strega, Tiger Destefani, the owner of Strega, and Steve Hinton, the pilot of Voodoo. It was a marvelous conversation of racing’s past, present and future. Bob entertained the crowd as only Bob can and the good humored rivalry amongst the racers wasn’t lost on the crowd. Friday promises be a great day of racing, and Warbirds News will be here reporting on the latest happenings and results so be sure to check back for our continuing coverage of the 50th Annual Reno Air Races!
If you are interested in seeing some more of Moose Peterson’s amazing warbird photography, be sure to check out www.WarbirdImages.com. He also has a great photography website, and has authored an E-Book, Taking Flight – Your Start into Aviation Photography which takes full advantage of the electronic format with tutorials, slideshows, sliders, links and videos, illustrating the most effective techniques for improving your warbird photography efforts, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, and given its electronic format, the “book” automatically updates, so you should never need to buy a later edition. Be sure to check it out!