Northern Nevada: The Valley of Speed

Held every September, the National Championship Air Races have become an institution, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators each year from around the world.

For one week, the high desert north of Reno becomes home to hundreds of aircraft, their pilots and crews. The basic rules are simple, yet spectacular: "Fly low, go fast, turn left".

Competitors soar around the pylons at heights as low as 50 feet (15 m.) above the ground. The fastest racers can reach speeds of over 500 mph (800 km/h), making them two- to three times faster than a typical Formula 1® or Nascar® race car.

The course, which varies in length depending on the race class, is marked off by between seven and ten 35-feet high pylons while airplanes are separated by type (T-6, Biplanes, Jet) and performance (Formula One, Sport Class, Unlimited).

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