Flying wingtip-to-wingtip around pylons at nearly 500 mph, just yards above the desert floor, the Mustangs, Bearcats, and Corsairs of the Reno Air Races are the fastest, loudest, baddest piston-engined aircraft in the world. Using the same fly-on-the-wall reportage as in his Bogeys and Bandits, Gandt tells the story of Reno's 1997/1998 championship season.
A wealth of anecdotal material, going back to the early days of air racing, provides the underpinning of the story, but the book focuses on the year culminating in the 1998 races. Gandt illuminates the fierce, colorful rivalries between the elite pilots, their struggles to keep airworthy their million dollar monster machines, the danger and the drama of a high-risk (often deadly) sport, and the obsessive drive for more speed. Like Wolfe, Krakauer, and Junger, Gandt explores the passions that drive men and women to push their limits -- and tells a hell of a good yarn in the process.In Fly Low, Fly Fast, Robert Gandt takes us into the high-risk world of airplane racing, chronicling the 1997 and 1998 championships at the Reno Air Races, attended every year by more than 100,000 spectators and featured on scores of web sites. Flying wingtip to wingtip around pylons at 500 mph, just feet above the sagebrush, Reno's killing machines are piloted by an adrenaline-addicted, type-A elite whose big talent and big egos spawn a hundred stories. With the same vivid reportage of his Bogeys and Bandits--"about as close as you can get (to the cockpit) without arming the ejection seat," said the San Diego Union-Tribune--Gandt traces the history of this exhilarating but often deadly sport. He follows the evolution of competition planes from the 1930s custom exotics to today's big, throaty warbirds like the Mustang and Bearcat, still the fastest piston-engine planes ever built. Gandt also looks at the evolution of the pilots from famous laconic old-time air cowboys to the younger, slicker hot shots, the jet-fighter-trained "top guns."Fly Low, Fly Fast ignites with fierce rivalries, the struggles to keep the vintage warbirds flying, the heart-stopping drama of the races themselves...with winners, losers, close calls, spectacular crashes, and glorious victories. It's a book for aviation buffs, armchair adventurers and anyone fascinated by the passions that drive men and women to test their limits--and risk their lives--in the quest for speed.
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