2D Cameras

Stereo Cameras

Stereoscopes

Handheld Viewers

Stereo Projectors

Old Stereo Photos

New Stereo Photos

Stereo Misc.

What Is Stereo?

These photos are from the National Championship Air Races at Reno. Welcome to the world's fastest piston driven motor sport. The rules are simple. It has to fly, be powered by one or more reciprocating engines, and have at least one propeller. That's it. Front runners, like the seven time national champion Rare Bear, are highly modified WWII war birds. A couple scratch built specials have poked around the edges, but to date the Unlimited class has been dominated by brute force.

Rare Bear F8F Bearcat

After having been grounded for several years with a broken motor and no money, Rare Bear almost made it back in 2002. A fan sponsorship program brought in over $150,000 in donations to get the Bear in the air. Sadly, after months of frantic effort, gear problems caused the team to miss the qualifying window by five minutes. Air racing's most famous F8F Bearcat successfully returned to competition with a second place finish in '03.

Critical Mass Hawker Sea Fury

2002 was a bad year for radials. Critical Mass suffered a gear problem while taxiing, resulting in wing, prop and motor damage. The engine, a hybrid Wright R-3350, is built to the same basic specification as the Bear's. For those of you in Rio Linda, That's 3,350 cubic inches distributed around two rows of nine cylinders each. These engines turn at roughly 3,000rpm and make over 3,500 horsepower.

Precious Metal Griffon Mustang

Precious Metal is a heavily modified, Rolls Royce Griffon powered P-51 Mustang. The counter rotating props are taken from a British Shakleton patrol bomber. Although a real crowd favorite, the plane has not been fully developed. It doesn't really matter. Watching those props swing is enough to make the plane a winner in my heart. I always try to buy at least one t-shirt from them every year. Its not much, but every little bit helps.

Precious Metal Griffon Mustang

This shot looks incredible in a good viewer. Its a shame to have to give up so much resolution for the web. Whether or not the counter rotating props are effective, to the mechanically inclined they are certainly mesmerizing.

Mike Brown F7F Big Bossman

Wow! Mike Brown's F7F Tigercat is an immaculate machine, and its the only Tigercat ever to have flown the pylons. Mike had engine troubles on his first attempt in 2003, but flew flawlessly all week in '04. Air intakes in the wings make a distinctive whistle in the air. The total sound experience from this machine is not to be missed. Its enough to have "Big Bossman" on the flight line, but it's only one of three aircraft Mike brings to the races.

Mike Brown F7F Tigercat Big Bossman

The aircraft on course is a Hawker Sea Fury. With a 38 foot wingspan, its clear he is flying at under 100 feet of altitude. If he's on the clock, he would be traveling in excess of 400 mph. This is another shot which loses a lot of depth and detail when presented on the web.

John Penney Rare Bear

Saturday afternoon at Reno '08. 2007 champion John Penney has just completed the day's heat race when up comes a man on a scooter. The gentleman is announced as John's flight instructor. I'll tell you who he is if I can get the information.

Mel Gregoire Dave Cronell Steve Hinton

As Rare Bear crew chief Dave Cornell and pace plane pilot Steve Hinton chat in the background, 92 year old engine builder Mel Gregoire signs an autograph for orange clad "Section 3" fans. Gregoire is probably the most knowledgeable radial engine guy alive. In one famous instance a few years ago, they flew him in to diagnose metal in the screens. He took one look and sent the crew straight to the problem, which was located in the engine's accessory section. Not knowing exactly where to look, the team might well have had to withdraw rather than risk the whole engine.

Tiger Destefani Strega

It's why they play the game coach. In his final year of racing, a 64 year old Tiger Destefani and the Strega team celebrate his seventh Gold Unlimited championship. Tiger has retired before, but with a young Steven Hinton now qualified to fly Strega, in 2009 we may well see one of the most successful racers of all time in the hands of a new pilot. With the recent passing of Dwight Thorn, 2008 was also significant in being the first win for a non-Mouse Merlin engine in a long time.

BACK