Reno concludes safely - Vandam wins (again)
Sep 17, 2012 - The 2012 Reno National Air Races concluded safely with CJAA member Rick Vandam winning the Jet class for the second year in a row. His speed in American Spirit (L-39 Albatros owned by Ed Noel) of 490.629 MPH was fastest among all the classes, and during a Tuesday qualifying heat, Rick pushed his jet to 504.658 MPH.
The Jet pits were a beehive of activity throughout the event as racers and crew (many of them CJAA members) serviced and prepared man and machine for another set of laps. The only distraction was the engine noise from the nearby Eagle, Hornet and Raptor jets, whose startup and idle would drown out any conversation.
In memory of the 2011 fatal crash, tributes were held Thursday to honor the medical personnel and emergency responders, and another on Sunday honoring the 11 victims, with white balloons being released with the reading of each victim's name.