Exciting Week at Reno Air Races 2013

Did last year's winning pilot or airplane take home the 2013 Reno Air Races trophy?

Reno 2013 Lineup

Reno 2013 Lineup

Reno Air Races

As aviation legend Bob Hoover announced the customary command for the Unlimited pilots, "Gentlemen, start your engines," the final Gold Heat at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, was on. First to take off was the T-33 pace plane flown by Steve Hinton, a legend in his own right as a long time speed record holder and winner of several Unlimited trophies.

Hinton's son, Steven Hinton, who became the youngest Unlimited winner at age 22 and had consecutively won the Unlimited Class four times, appeared to have no problems transitioning into his new airplane, Voodoo. Flying the purple and yellow modified P-51, Hinton dominated the heats during the entire week with speeds approaching 500 mph. With a great start in the final race on Sunday, nobody could keep up with Voodoo and Hinton took home the trophy for the fifth time.

Strega's pilot, Matt Jackson, may have been able to give Hinton a run for his money if he was not forced to start the race at the end of the pack. In a dramatic mayday at the beginning of the race-week, Strega's canopy imploded at 500 mph, dropping Jackson to the Silver heat (due to a lack of participants, there was no Bronze Heat this year). Jackson could have secured a good slot in the final race, but ended up breaking the deadline at the home pylon on Friday, forcing him to once again race in the Silver on Saturday. He dominated that heat and was bumped up to Gold. Strega quickly advanced past racers such as Precious Metal and Rare Bear, but was unable to catch up to Voodoo.

While the Unlimited race brought the most excitement to the event at Stead Field, spectators had much more to cheer about. Several additional race classes, including jets, biplanes and T-6s, brought tight competitions, and the Patriot Jet team served as a great replacement for the missing military formation teams. The show's biggest sponsor Breitling brought Jetman, who flew the racecourse in his strap-on wing, and David Martin, who flew his seemingly impossible aerobatic routine.

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