Parkite wins flight title |

Parkite wins flight title

Submitted by Bing Zhang,

Pete Zaccagnino of Park City brought home the Gold Championship in the Jet Class at the 52nd National Championship Air Races. Zaccagnino flew the Vampire, a fighter jet built in the 1950s and one of only three flying in the entire world. The Vampire was the first fighter jet to land on an aircraft carrier and to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Held every year, the National Championship Air Races have become an institution for aviation enthusiasts from around the world. For one week, the event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations. At over 540 miles per hour, racing up to seven other aircrafts at altitudes between 50 and 250 feet around an 8.5-mile course, each lap takes less than one minute.

"Our team has been working very hard getting the new plane ready to make this kind of speed," Zaccagnino said.

Zaccagnino also became the fastest air racer in the history of the event. In 10 years racing at the Reno National Championship Air Race, Pete won the gold medal in 2013 in both the Sport and Jet Classes, and also won the gold medal in 2007 in the Sport Class.

Zaccagnino keeps his race plane at the Heber Airport. He graduated with a BS degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is an avid skier, a passionate engineer, a professional test pilot and appears on the Discovery Channel’s "Dangerous Flights."