Air Racing 101

A course in handling the course at the National Championship Air Races.

A trio of Sport class racers skim the high desert. (Jan Peters)
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There are no more rookies now, only race pilots.

Three fatalities incurred during race week 2007 would cause some to wonder if there is any foolproof way to make air racing safer. The PRS at least sets high standards and puts on notice pilots who don’t meet them. Before the 2006 races are finished, Scott Alair will make one mistake too many. Coming off the race start, he cuts under and across the four aircraft to his left, attempting to gain a minor tactical advantage, which causes Ernie Sutter to take evasive action. The executive committee determines that Alair is a hazard and permanently bans him from racing at Reno in any class.

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