The guttural roar of engines, the smell of fuel in the air, and pilots pushing nascent technology to its limits, it’s easy to understand why airplane racing captured the imagination of the public during the 1920s and 30s. It attracted the most skilled and daring pilots of the day to tournaments held all over the world, duking it out above spectators heads in planes we would call crude at best today. Unfortunately, the sport was sidelined by World War II as aircraft pilots and manufacturers focused on the war effort and never quite regained the same level of popularity afterward.
However, air racing has seen a resurgence in interest in recent years, led largely by Red Bull’s involvement in the sport. However, the energy drink giant’s series isn’t the only game in town. Here we present the five most important air racing tournaments to have on your calendar, including established favorites and hungry upstarts.