Over the years, I have accrued a number of nice memories of the Reno Air Races. I’ve met “Pappy” Boyington, Bob Hoover, and seen things that can’t be seen anywhere else.
I have a print I bought from Major Boyington signed – in 1984. I read his autobiography – he had a terrible time in the Japanese concentration camp (it should go without saying) and post war, an awful time. But he pulled through. He’s at Arlington, now.
One thing has changed – well, a number of things. For one, the “Unlimiteds” have become so fast the starter plane changed from a yellow Mustang – piloted by Bob Hoover, to a T-33 jet. They have an L-39 class now – that ubiquitous Czech trainer that the wealthy have embraced. That Merlin – stock was 1,500 hp, is over 3,500 now.
If you go there a pit pass is almost mandatory – you wander among all these magnificent planes.
Here’s a few pictures from today:
This Hawker Sea Fury has the original 2,500 hp Bristol-Centaurus engine – I can tell by the prop. I was right near one of these taxiing and I swear you could feel the ground vibrate.
In Reno Lore, this plane is Royalty. A Grumman Bearcat, Rare Bear. . With Lyle Shelton it dominated Reno for a number of years. Then it sat forlorn and in pieces. She is back together now.
The Air Force is a bit more stodgy with nose art these days, aren’t they?
This P51-A had the original Allison engine. From what I could see of it, it was beautiful – a work of mechanical art.
Had a nice conversation with the pilot of this E3-C. “Gretel” told me that she too was a graduate of Top Gun. Told her about Lex and of course since I have my basic lexology certificate and know about the sometimes brutal process of getting a callsign, had to ask her how she got hers.
“I leave bread crumbs every where“, she said.
Based on what Lex taught me, I told her that she got off easy.
Based at Fallon, I think I made another Lexican.
I’d show you the video of this Harrier hovering but we are getting precariously close to hitting the “full” mark on allotted disk space.
I believe this is a Yak-3. I read the other day that it was every bit the equal of the Me109.
A Texas museum brought a wonderful assortment of WW2 aircraft. No it wasn’t the CAF. Forget their name. They had a flyby with this B-25, an F4-U, Spitfire (all I know with the elliptical wing is was an early one, P-40, TBM Avenger, and a P-51D Mustang.
One picture I regret not getting – talked with a young woman who had what looked like a WW2 Army Air Force uniform. Except she had on hot pants (although it looked like it was regulation khaki 🙂 ).She had an 8th AAF patch on her sleeve, and her Garrison Cap was the regulation angle on her head.
Call it a quirk, but I think a woman with a garrison cap looks sexy. I told her that this reminded me of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, held in the UK every August on Lord March’s estate. Lord March is apparently a car nut.
Anyway a lot of people get dressed in period dress there. It’s on my bucket list. Anyway, I asked her if her outfit was regulation and she replied with a smile, “It is my interpretation of the uniform!”
As I said, I wish I had asked her for her picture but our conversation lasted all too short and she was off…