Tributes Paid to Reno Victims, Heroes

    September 20, 2012 - The 2012 Reno National Air Races concluded a safe, successful week last Sunday at Stead Airport. Poignant tributes were held to honor the 11 people who perished, the more than 60 injured, and the heroic efforts of people on the ground in the wake of Jimmy Leeward's horrific crash in 2011. On Thursday, race organizers and attendees honored the medical personnel, law officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders. On Sunday, a tribute was paid to the 11 victims, as white balloons were released with the reading of each victim's name.

    Reno Air Racing Association President Mike Houghton described it as a "somber memorial to those whose lives were lost in an unthinkable tragedy" and "a humble tribute to the compassion on display under challenging circumstances," according to the Associated Press.

    EAA supported the event, which marks 50 years in 2012, by welcoming EAA members to its hospitality


    Rick Vandrum, flying the L-39 American Spirit owned by Ed Noel, posted the fastest lap speed of the week, 504.658 mph.

    chalet, hosted by President/CEO Rod Hightower and a number of EAA staff members. "Reno happened this year due to the efforts and perseverance of many, but none more so than Mike Houghton and his RARA team," Hightower said. "We are excited about the presence of so many EAA members at Reno, and look forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the world's fastest motorsport next September."

    Here are the race results:

      • Breitling Unlimited Gold Trophy: Steve Hinton, P-51 Mustang Strega, 477.523 mph

      • Jets: Rick Vandam, L-39 Albatros American Spirit, 490.629 mph (Vandam also had the fastest speed of the week, 504.658, in a Tuesday qualifying heat)

      • T-6: Nick Macy, Six Cat, 247.317 mph

      • Sport Class: Jeff LaVelle, Glasair III, 393.552 mph

      • Biplanes: Tom Aberle, Modified Mong Sport Phantom, 246.454 mph

      • Formula One: Steve Senegal, Arnold AR-6 Endeavor, 253.817 mph



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