Sport: Old Hands

The 23 planes were mostly stripped-down ex-Army pursuits—wax-covered P-38s, fat-bellied P-51 Mustangs, and a Kingcobra with two feet chopped off each wing. They roared down the runway at the Van Nuys airfield, zoomed above the Hollywood hills.

Paul Mantz, 43-year-old movie stunt flyer, who had entered the Bendix Trophy Race four times before but never won, had this race figured: it would be won by an old hand, not by some war-bred whippersnapper.

Mantz was an old hand, but he was the only one to have take-off trouble: for five costly minutes after he...

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