Latest Articles Appearing On Classic Warbirds..

Reno Races are back Sept 16-19 2010. Please visit our slide show from last year..


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Air shows and other flying events are pretty much the same.  No matter where you go, air shows are similar.  A few locals flying, a military jet, some over priced food and if you are lucky, one or two professional acrobatic acts.  The Reno Air Races are like nothing else on this planet or any other. Since 1964, every September the Skies just north of Reno Nevada are transformed into one of the greatest aviation and motorsports events in the country.  This year from September 15th to the 19th the races will be on.  Last year, Steve Hinton (Jr of course), Stevo  as every one at Reno calls him,won as the youngest pilot to win the Unlimited Class.  He’s a heck of a nice guy and very talented pilot, plus he can fly P-51 Strega very fast.  I did hear that John Penny wants the trophy for himself and Rare Bear, so it’s going to be a great race again this year.  We shall see what happens? Read more »

The Nose Artist

By  Mark Hrutkay I was at the recent Mid-Atlantic Air Museum airshow in Reading, Pa and ran into Gary Velasco.  For those who don’t know him, Gary is probably the foremost nose art painter in the country.  He paints art on a lot of warbirds and there is a really simple to understand reason why…  Gary is darn good at it. Gary was working, selling the art he paints.  He paints on metal that simulates the panels of WWII fighter aircraft.  His work is pretty darn spectacular and is something that is very different than simple framed pictures. Mostly Gary and I got into a discussion of why the nose art that you see on current military aircraft is not up to the standards of WWII.  Gary went on to explain that back in WWII there weren’t any “graphic artists” like today.  They had “sign painters,” every base had guys that were painters and artists in their pre enlistment days that could paint.  They painted everything from signs that said to “Latrine” to the Colonel’s name on his door.   They could actually paint and in their spare time, they found themselves putting some art on the airplanes.  Those skills are rare today.   As usual, Gary was right. Then I had to ask Gary about what was behind him.  I thought it was a B-24 that was being restored and it wasn’t.   Gary simply went out and invented 1:1 full scale nose art.  He measured a B-24J and built a perfect replica side panel, complete with rivets, window holes, etc.  Then he painted some amazing nose art on it.  The panel is big too, say about 7’ high and 14’ long and it is awesome.  Awesome is a word that is overused in the English language, however, this definitely inspires a feeling of awe and wonder.  I know what I’m asking Santa for this year.  If you see Gary, you need to look at the B-24J, it is truly awesome.   Gary can be found at www.FightingColors.Com.

God Bless America on the 4th and always.

B-36 Ride to Hell !!!!!!!!!!!

When men were men---but, of course, they smoked and drank heavily back then. Talk about having a bad day.... B-36 Ride to Hell.... Ah back when engines were really engines.... Aircraft Commander 1st Lt. Oliver Hildebrandt, Pilot 1st Lt. Walter Ross, and Co-pilot Captain Wilbur Evans, and a crew of thirteen took off from Carswell AFB in B-36B, 44-92035 of the 26th Bomb Squadron of the 7th Bomb Wing at 5:05 A.M. on November 22,1950. The planned 30-hour training mission consisted of air-to-air gunnery, bombing, simulated radar bombing, and navigational training. Immediately after take-off, the #4 alternator would not stay in parallel with the other three alternators, so it was taken off-line and de-excited three minutes into the flight. About one minute after the #4 alternator was shut down, flames 8 to 12 feet long erupted from around the air plug of the number-one engine. Read more »