The Unlimited Class of racers took to the air today. The heavy iron included Sea Fury aircraft, Mustangs, Bear Cats and a Tigercat. Their speeds were well over 400 mph.
The Sport aircraft category saw speeds close to 400 mph by the likes of the Nemesis and Relentless, purpose-designed airplanes, Lancair Iv's and Glasairs. Their engines sung and action was thrilling.
The Formula 1 aircraft keep surprising as their speeds are approaching 300 mph on their 200 cubic inch engines. In many ways I find their race most spectacular, knowing that they achieve these speeds on engines which powered Cessna 150's.
First time at Reno was the Super Sport class. These aircraft, including the NXT, Lancair IV's, are able to use up to 1000 cubic inch engines and any fuel available on the field. They achieved over 400 mph and could have raced with the unlimited class of aircraft.
The races have been marred by two fatal accidents - one a take-off accident by a biplane and today by a spectacular fiery crash in front of the grandstands of a L-39 jet. It appears that the aircraft lost control in a turn, likely caught in the wake of a preceding aircraft, and caught a wing tip in the ground.
Other mishaps have occurred - ground loop due to a frozen brake and a pre-takeoff accident during a T-6 race start when a T-6-s tail was chewed by the propeller of another aircraft behing. Neither event caused injury.
Weather promises to remain excellent throughout the races, although winds were gusty today.