The North American P-51 Mustang
Reno 2016
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P-51 Mustang at Reno 2016
story and photos by Curtis Fowles

Biplanes, like the F-1s start the race on the ground. They take-off and move directly onto the race course. They are fast, and the most popular aircraft it the Pitts Special - mostly red ones. The usual runaway winner, Tom Aberle, is sitting this year out. He puts up speeds that no one has been able to touch - over 260 mph! This year the trophy is up for grabs and many want to grab it. Jeff Rose jumped out to lead the qualifying in his yellow Mong Sport #23 at 221 mph.

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The biplanes have some very close racing and are fun to watch. They are very difficult to race with visibility being a huge problem with both wings so close together. The pilots have to look below, between and over their wings to keep all racing traffic in sight. Their line of sight depends on their track position, elevation and bank - it is constantly changing. They share the fun with the F-1 class of landing on a sloped and grooved runway with unpredictable winds. Once on the ground, their visibility is very limited as well. After the gold race on Sunday, Jeff Rose #23 overtook and collided with #17 Eric Zine on the runway. Again, luckily only aircraft were damaged. Zine landed first and was slowing down for the taxiway turn off around mid-field. Rose came in a bit hot and was landing a bit further down. On rollout, Rose hit Zine and they both spun and came to a stop with only aircraft and egos damaged.

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Gold Results: 1 - #23 Jeff Rose, Reno Rabbit - 217 mph 2 - #17 Eric Zine, Sunny Side Up - 204 3 - #7X Kirk Murphy, Lady Luck - 204 4 - #711 Birch Entriken, Joey - 200 5 - #11X David Roelofs, Purse Snatcher - 198 6 - #31 Tony Higa, Tango-Tango - 196 7 - #3 Sam Swift, Smokin Hot - 195 8 - #18 Jon D'Alessandris, RB Special - 190

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