Gibson unseats six-time gold winner Steve Hinton in “Voodoo” who did not finish the race

Reno, Nev. – The 52nd Annual National Championship Air Races came to a close today with Robert “Hoot” Gibson as the winner of the Unlimited Gold Race with a speed of 488.983mph in “Strega.”

Stewart Dawson flying “Rare Bear” was second (471.957) and Dennis Sanders in “Dreadnought” was third (420.361).

Steve Hinton, flying “Voodoo,” and who had won the Unlimited Gold Race the last six years in a row, did not finish the race.

Gibson, 68, is a former American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, and a retired NASA astronaut, as well as a professional pilot who currently races regularly at the annual Reno Air Races.

Other race results:


Speed: 488.983

Plane: Strega

Pilot: Robert “Hoot” Gibson


Speed: 502.370

Plane: Vampire

Pilot: Pete Zaccagnino


Speed: 238.073

Plane: Midnight Miss III

Pilot: Dennis Buehn


Speed: 377.403

Plane: Blue Thunder II

Pilot: John Parker


Speed: 245.109

Plane: Phantom

Pilot: Tom Aberle


Speed: 239.432

Plane: Endeavor

Pilot: Steve Senegal


Tom Aberle broke the speed record in his plane, Phantom, in the Biplane class in a qualifying race on Monday, September 14, with a speed of 284.454 mph. The previous record, set in 2014, was 274.091.

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About the STIHL National Championship Air Races:

Held every September just north of Reno, the STIHL National Championship Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. Last year’s event attracted more than 150,000 spectators and generated more than $66 million for the region’s economy. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations. For more information on the STIHL National Championship Air Races, to obtain media credentials, volunteer or purchase tickets for this year’s event, visit

Media Contact:

Kelly Glenn

The Glenn Group

775-815-7779 (cell)

[email protected]