Notes from the Reno Races- page 5 | Flight Today | Air & Space Magazine
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Rare Bear takes off for the Saturday Gold race. On Sunday, pilot John Penney finished first in the Unlimited class. (Larry Lowe)

Notes from the Reno Races

Dispatches from the 2007 National Championship Air Races.

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Other pilots sit under the wings of their racers or around them in the hangars, making small talk. For some, the day before racing includes a frantic effort to rebuild a broken airplane. Andy Chiavetta has taken the engine out of Sport Race #33 and spirited it to a secret location in the mountains near Tahoe, where a mad scientist of the propulsive arts is reputed to live. Sometime past midnight, they will be installing the engine on the airframe in time for the 9:40 a.m. first race Thursday. The Unlimited Gold-winning P-51 Strega is also having engine problems, as is Voodoo, two stalls down.

The mechanics are focused; there is no time now to waste. In the gathering dusk the Griffon-powered P-51 Precious Metal returns from a photo mission, makes a pass down the runway, and lands.

Tomorrow we begin.

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