Chino Airport Keeps Air Racing Alive

By Holley Montoya

Hundreds of people flocked to Chino Airport for the monthly
Planes of Fame seminar and air show.

These events are put on mostly by volunteers at the airport. The
proceeds of the event go towards restoration of the planes and
museum exhibits. Saturday’s event was particularly special because
the seminar was on air racing. This included the history and the
future for the “sport.”

About 90 percent of attendees were members of the Planes of Fame
Air Museum and most were senior citizens. Plenty of four and
five-year-olds gawked at the planes on the airfield and scattered
across the old airplane hangers.

The people that attend these types of air shows are typically
more interested in older planes, especially World War II models,
than in more technologically advanced aircraft.

“It is just fun to watch the old planes,” said Fred Barnes,
Glendora resident and 1971 graduate of Cal Poly.

He and his wife, Cynthy, attend these events every month and
have been members for more than a year now. Cynthy is also a
volunteer at the gift shop and loves every minute of it.

“We love to attend these events because the speakers at the
seminars are all very interesting and always have something neat to
say,” said Cynthy. “It is always very exciting.”

The lecture started off with a welcome from the founder of
Planes of Fame, Ed Maloney. Planes of Fame is celebrating its
golden anniversary this year thanks to the efforts of Maloney and
his many faithful volunteers.

Historian Frank Mormillo gave a talk on the history of air
racing. A love for speed was the root of the pre-war fascination
with racing.

“They were looking to see if they could go faster than anyone
else,” said Mormillo. “Air races were literally the cutting edge
before WWII,” said Mormillo.

Air racing has mostly died out after WWII, but still continues
in Reno – the only place in the world where it still continues
today.

“Air racing is a pure labor of love,” said Mormillo.

With only one primary site for air racing, it is hard to make
any predictions of what is in store for air racing.

“The future is uncertain, but it really is an awesome sight to
see,” said Mormillo.

Other air racing fans and participants told stories of pilots,
such as Jimmy Doolittle.

The event’s highlight was the flight of the T-33 Shooting Star
Jet. This plane can reach speeds as fast as 600 miles per hour.
This impressive aircraft has a wingspan of 38 feet. Whenever the
plane flew overhead, the crowd would express their amazement.

“I have flown a Grumman Tiger,” said 14-year-old Anaheim
resident Thomas Penn.

He and his father, Steven, attend many air shows together. The
young man and his father are fascinated with planes. Steven was
President of the Orange Coast Radio Control Club and is also a
model plane flight instructor. Thomas’s favorite plane is the B-17
and Steve’s is the P-47 Thunderbolt.

Although shows like this are now rare, Saturday’s turnout proves
that there will always be an audience for them. Locally, the Chino
Airport is keeping this tradition alive.

Holley Montoya can be reached by e-mail at arts@thepolypost.com
or by phone at (909) 869-3744.

Chino Airport Keeps Air Racing Alive

Chino Airport Keeps Air Racing Alive

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