Reno NCAR at Stead Field – Updated 2010 Reports and Winners
Getaway to Reno for the National Championship Air Races, currently the only air races being held in America. Reno is known as the center of air racing world-wide as well.
The Reno National Championship Air Races and Air Show, also called the Reno Air Races, were held this year from September 15th – 19th, 2010 at Stead Field just a few miles north of Reno – see schedule. Depending on the race class, speeds were over 500mph in some competitions. Due to high winds in excess of 30mph on Sunday afternoon, some of the final races were cancelled. See results from this year’s races by class below.
With pilots, race crews, media and thousands of fans waiting about an hour for the decision of whether to cancel the final race in the interest of racers, officials decided to call off the Breitling Unlimited Gold race because of escalating strong, gusty winds blowing out of the southwest at 35 mph.
HIgh winds had previously forced the cancellation of the T-6 Class Gold race after a plane crashed during the Super Sport Gold Race.
Racer George Giboney, of Des Moines, Iowa, declared a “Mayday” and made a hard landing, suffering minor injuries when his plane cartwheeled off the runway. It is believed that both high winds and mechanical difficulties caused the Thunder Mustang piloted by Giboney to go down during the final lap of his race.
Giboney’s plane, Rapid Travel, misfired and then the engine stopped completely. When he attempted to land his plane hit the runway and bounced. A strong wind gust took the plane off the runway and into the dirt. Then Giboney’s plane hit a bump and shot up into the air. The plane came almost completely apart with the impact. Giboney got out of the plane unaided. He was examined at the Reno Air Race medical facility and released. He luckily sustained only minor cuts on his arms and legs in the terrifying crash. See dramatic crash-landing images by Brian O’Brien.
On Sunday around 4pm, as the elite racers prepared to take to the skies to compete for the coveted Breitling Gold championship, the Unlimited Gold championship race was grounded due to safety concerns caused by dangerously high winds. It was the first time in the event’s 47-year history that the Breitling Gold was cancelled.
“The decision to cancel our championship race was not an easy one but it was the right decision,” said Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the National Championship Air Races. “The safety of our pilots is our foremost concern and this decision was made along with class presidents, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority and the Reno Air Racing Association.” See video.
According to official rules created by each individual race class, when a race is cancelled for any reason, the winner is declared based on their qualifying positions.
The T-6 Gold race was also cancelled due to high winds.
Class – Pilot – Plane – Average lap time – Average speed
- Formula One Steve Senegal “Endeavor” 6:10.13 248.022 mph
- Biplane Tom Aberle “Phantom” 4:33.53 250.808 mph
- Sport Jeff Lavelle Glasair III 7:44.86 339.101 mph
- Super Sport: Mike Dacey “Bad Intentions” 6:41.251 374.052 mph
- T-6: Dennis Buehn “Midnight Miss III” 6:18.232* 241.247 mph*
- Jet Curt Brown “Viper” 5:51.241 515.582 mph
- Unlimited Steve Hinton “Strega” 6:21.146* 473.437 mph*
*Due to high winds, the T-6 and Unlimited Gold races were cancelled and winners were declared based on their most recent gold heat. Time and speed are taken from Saturday’s race.
Caution was taken to follow race rules and safety regulations to protect pilots from potential crashes such as the fatal accidents that have happened in previouse events. During the 2007 competition, three pilots died during their races. Two airplanes collided in the air killing one pilot and injuring another. Five-time defending champion Gary Hubler, 51, Caldwell, Idaho, was killed in the crash, marking the 18th fatality in the history of the Reno air races. Competing in the Forumla One class, Hubler was flying a Cassutt III M single-seat plane named “Mariah.” His plane was designed for pylon racing and aerial acrobatics.
Also killed were Brad Morehouse who was flying an L-39 Albatross jet named “Dino Juice,” often used for military flight training. Morehouse was flying in the jet class competition. It was believed he may have gotten caught in the wake of a jet he was tailing, flying in excess of 500mph.
Steve Dari, a pilot from Lemon Grove, Calif., was killed when his biplane stalled shortly after takeoff during a practice run.
Due to the three fatalities, remaining 2007 races were cancelled.
“It was our judgment, in the best interest of all the race pilots who are out there, it’s better to take a breath, get an assessment of where they are and then figure out where we go from there,” remarked Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association.
The following year, another racer was killed during a practice flight. The crashes prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to place greater scrutiny on the races.
Regarding the plane crash today and the decision to cancel races on Sunday, Houghton said, “It was a safety issue. Our Number 1 priority is the safety of our pilots.”
“Our pilots are the best in the world and are trained to handle all matters of conditions and situations,” said Houghton. “George did an incredible job landing and maintaining control of the plane throughout the accident. We are relieved that he is safe and uninjured and proud of the level of skill and professionalism he displayed today.
“The safety of our pilots, fans and volunteers is our number one priority and while incidents like today are uncommon, they reinforce the effectiveness of the countless safety measures we have implemented. Today was a testament to the skill of the pilot, durability of the plane and the immediate responsiveness of our staff and emergency personnel.”
Around 150 of the world’s top racing pilots compete in the annual event for $1 million in prize money. Reno has the world’s only multi-class air races, with six classes of aircraft competing
See Sharon Gay’s photogallery below.
2010 Formula One Reports
2010 Biplane Reports
2010 Sport Reports
2010 Super Sport Reports
2010 T-6 Reports
2010 Jet Reports
2010 Unlimited Reports
Story: Reno Air Races – Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage Trophy Winners
Story: Reno Air Races and Air Show – updated event schedule
The 47th National Championship was produced by the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA). The National Championship Air Races [“NCAR”] and Air Show has been held just outside Reno, Nevada, every year since 1964. [On 9-11-2001, the 38th National Championship Air Races were suspended during the pre-race aircraft qualifying period.] The event draws thousands of fans from all over the world,