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52nd annual National Championship Air Races taking begins Wednesday north of Reno


RENO, Nevada — Competition gets underway Wednesday at the 52nd annual National Championship Air Races just north of Reno.

Ten-time Reno champion Tom Aberle of Fallbrook, California set a new speed record in the Biplane Class during Monday's qualifying heat. He completed the course at Reno-Stead Airport at an average speed of 284.5 miles per hour — 10 mph faster than the old mark he set there a year ago.

Planes in the Unlimited and Jet classes fly in excess of 500 mph.

One of those, a modified World War II P-51 Mustang, crashed in front of the VIP boxes at the competition four years ago, killing 11 people and injuring 70 others.

More than 150,000 spectators attended last year's event, which also includes aerobatic performances and demonstrations.

The races continue through the weekend.

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