At the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, over 100 small aircraft droned, whined and roared as they zoomed in races at hundreds of miles per hour over the high desert floor; they maneuvered around giant courses, banking left around pylons that mark their turns. These aircraft range from tiny, home-built planes in the “sport” category, to full-on jets, to biplanes. All told, there are six different types of planes that compete.
The pits at Reno Stead Airport are where the planes, crew, and pilots hang out when they’re not racing, just like race cars spend time in pits. Here’s are some of the coolest machines we saw as we roamed the grounds under the hot sun.
Editor’s note: We’ve updated this post.
Popular Science was on the ground (and in the air) in Nevada covering the Reno air races. Check out our by-the-numbers breakdown of the high-speed aviation competition in the desert, a look at what it’s like to fly upside down, and a glimpse at the past and future of the planes fighter pilots train in.