‘World’s Fastest Motor Sport’ A Spectacle For Aviation Blogger
By Ramona Cox (SkyChick)
The National Championship Air Races, or Reno Air Races, held at Stead Airport in Reno, NV, began in 1964 and is a multi-day event which is considered to be “the world’s fastest motor sport.”
The 2017 event is taking place this weekend and the festivities include stunt pilots performing aerobatics, top modern day military aircraft showing off the capabilities of our finest war machines, and air racers that fly everything from “experimental” aircraft that are built by the owners to jet and vintage warbirds that fly close to 500 MPH.
I’ve flown my Cessna TU-206 to the air races several times. However, this year, there was severe weather surrounding the airfield. Approaching from the East, it was relatively clear where I was, but it was a race to get to the airfield before the mega-storm arrived. Due to torrential rain and wind that arrived with the storm, the airfield closed after I landed.
One place that most never get to see is the view from inside the control tower at Stead.
The margins to win these races are very close. The pilots are highly experienced, and the aircraft are leaned down to the bare essentials to reduce weight. Every rivet and orifice is taped to reduce all potential drag.
My favorite racers are Greg and Gene McNeely. This is a father and son duo where the father taught the son to fly as a young boy and eventually to race. Last year, the two ended up racing against each other and this year we’re seeing the same situation with both racing in the T-6 Texan Gold Class.
Despite speeds upwards of 225 Knots, the race is usually won by a matter of seconds.
Sunday will be the final race for the winner to see if this time, the son beats the father in the final heat. http://www.racingt-6.org/ This is a video I shot and produced that highlights the father-son theme of this drag race. It also shows the inside of air racing.
I’ll announce the winners on Sunday.
About the author: Ramona Cox is the Sky Chick. An avid aviation fan, she is a private pilot who travels throughout North America in her plane for adventures and events such as the Reno Air Show. She also went to the solar eclipse in Madres, Oregon. She resides in Hermosa Beach, CA.