Reno Air Races Recap
Again I am honored to be part of the Palm Springs Air Museum. Here as photographer, content creator, social media manager and even in flight operations at the 55th National Championship Air Races in Reno for 2018. Thanks!
The Palm Springs Air Museum again became the standout at the 55th National Championship Air Races in Reno this September. The most prestigious race in the fastest motorsport in the world saw our Red Tail P-51 Mustang “Bunny” and our P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly” fly around the pylons in front of crowds estimated to be 150,000+. “Bunny” flown by pilot Mark Moodie took a Third Place “on the podium” win in the Silver Unlimited Race with a speed of 333.562, less than one mile per hour away from first place! “Pretty Polly” flown by pilot Jim “JD” Dale made for a crowd favorite in 7th Place in the Silver Unlimited Race with a speed of 307.781. We finished with both aircraft “in the money”!
We were most honored for the second year in a row to be joined by a man who is indeed a very special friend to the Air Museum, 98 year old Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Bob Friend. With us everyday at the Races to meet people and sign autographs, we were most proud to have him start our airplanes and watch as they taxi’d out for the Finals. The honor even extended further as the Colonel joined us on stage for the Awards Dinner to accept our trophies as he was given an extended standing ovation by a hangar filled with 1,000 racers and crew and family and friends. A moment in time that brought many to tears as cameras and cellphones saved the moment for history.
Certainly “Bunny” stole the show in so very many ways. A Red Tail dedicated to the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and specifically to the aircraft flown by Lt. Col. Bob Friend, many would say she is the most beautiful of all P-51 Mustangs. But we had another very special girl with us, “Pretty Polly”. One of perhaps only four P-63 Kingcobras still flying, it has been forty years since a Kingcobra raced at Reno. Race fans, aviation fans, aviation photographers all greeted the news of “Pretty Polly” at Reno and her arrival and racing with huge enthusiasm and appreciation. Our Race Pit was continually visited by Kingcobra fans who specifically came to see her. Even a fan from Japan came by wearing one of our Air Museum ‘Pretty Polly” shirts! Pilot Jim “JD” Dale was on hand to talk with so very many and they were in luck because “JD” is a tremendously knowledgeable Kingcobra historian and of course one of the very few Kingcobra pilots.
The National Championship Air Races Reno gives the Palm Springs Air Museum the opportunity to bring our message of living history to expanding audiences around the world. Millions of people online will share in our adventure being there. We have endless numbers of people to Thank in getting us to Reno. Mechanics, pilots, the people who loaded the trailers, and so very many volunteers. And of course the individuals and sponsors who donated to funding our being able to make it happen. Everyone has their own reasons for being part of Reno with us. But to a person, it is unselfish and giving, whether through their money or labor. To everyone a huge and heartfelt Thank You! And an excited; see you in Reno for 2019!