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Reviewing the 2016 National Championship Air Races

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Shared duty, Beau Goff and Jared Black covered the Races for both ClassicWarbirds.net and Photorecon.net…

What makes a person want to fly? What makes a person want to race? Surely there must be something within the human genetic code that drives certain people to push the limits of man and machine in the sky. Like a persistent itch, there are those who constantly look to the sky, always, with an insatiable desire to return. It doesn’t much matter to these people how they get there, or if the machine that carries them is made from wood and fabric or the latest composite material. So long as it flies. In the case of a small group of pilots within the aviation community, it is preferable if that particular machine is capable of rather extreme performance.

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Regardless of the source of that drive, every year in the middle of September, at a small, otherwise nondescript airport in the high desert of Nevada, a group of aviators come together to scratch that itch in the most spectacular way possible. The machines they bring to Stead Field, north of Reno, shine in shades of purple, red, white and polished aluminum. Each one of them possess incredible capabilities. Only here during that one week can a person witness this rare breed of man and machine in the most unique, inspiring and fastest event in the world.

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We Mourn the Passing of Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, “The Greatest Stick and Rudder Man Who Ever Lived.”

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NASM Photo

One of the greatest pilots in aviation history passed into the eternal Wild Blue Yonder on October 25, 2016, R. A. “Bob” Hoover. The ninety-four year old Hoover passed away at his Los Angeles home according to sources.
Hoover was born January 24, 1922 in Nashville, Tennessee, and began flying at age fifteen. In his early years, Hoover taught himself aerobatic flying and vanquished recurring air sickness through the force of repetition, according to a 2010 Smithsonian interview.

Known as the “Pilots Pilot”, General Chuck Yeager – one of the most famous test pilots in history – once described him as “the greatest pilot I ever saw.” Another famous WWII aviator, the great Jimmy Doolittle, described him as “the greatest stick-and-rudder man that ever lived.”

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Bob Shane Photo

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Collings Foundation’s 2016 Battle For The Airfield

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Stow, Massachusetts is usually adorn with autumnal colors during the second weekend of October, and “leaf peepers” abound in the scenic town just beyond the bustling suburbs of Boston. At the Collings Foundation’s main museum and headquarters, a collection of airplanes, autos and armored vehicles sits in and around a large barn/hangar building, adjacent to a grass runway. Lined by changing trees and a meandering river on the other side of the buildings, the runway recently became a battleground and living history exhibit for almost three hundred military reenactors, a dozen or more military vehicles and a true World War II veteran, a Fieseler Fi-156 Storch liaison aircraft. Hundreds of spectators made their way to Stow for either a morning or an afternoon history lesson at a realistic portrayal of World War II warfare at the 2016 Collings Foundation’s “Battle For The Airfield”.

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Atlanta’s Warhawk Weekend

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Photos by Gerhard Frenz Photography

 The Commemorative Air Force’s Dixie Wing offered its’ Atlanta Warbird Weekend over the last weekend in September, 2016. Splashed through their advertisements, the Wing was quite specific that the “Atlanta Warbird Weekend is NOT an air show. It is a warbird display, aircraft rides, and history education event.” Sure, warbirds alighted from time to time, but emphasis was on ground displays.

This year, a special salute to the 75th anniversary of the American Volunteer Group (AVG – nicknamed the Flying Tigers) brought five Curtiss P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawk World War II fighter planes together on the grounds of the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Several original members of the AVG were even present at the event too. The AVG operated in the China/Burma/India (CBI) Theatre of the war, the same geographical area where the famous “Hump”, with its tall Himalayan mountain peaks made resupply operations both difficult and costly. Discussions of operations over the Hump were also part of this year’s weekend. Examples of the Curtiss C-46 and Douglas C-47 transports that carried critical supplies intra-Theatre were present for the weekend too.

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