A local pilot and aircraft engineer are set to take on the world's best flyers at the National Air Race Championships in Reno, Nevada.
Hayden King, from Nowra, and pilot Matthew Coughlin, from Berry, will return to the US to contest the Formula One light aircraft category.
The pair are looking to top their initial performance on which they placed third in their division last year.
King said the pair were surprised where they had ranked last year, considering it was his and Coughlin's first race.
King and Coughlin had met at the Albatross Aero Club, and bonded over their mutual interest in unusual aeroplanes.
"It wasn't until he purchased a Cassutt racer that we sort of got together," King said.
"We started making modifications on that.
"Matt decided he wanted to go over to the pilot rookie school in Reno last year, and that's where he met Holbrook Maslen, who now we're actually flying for."
He said the opportunity last year came from a chance meeting between Matt and Holbrook over coffee.
Matt told Hayden he had "met this really cool guy, who had a really cool aeroplane up in Boise in Idaho and had asked him to race it for him".
King and Coughlin pilot Judy, a 1973 Cassutt Racer #44, which was originally built for Ohio aviation legend Judy Wagner.
It's one of the oldest planes at the event, and has been through a series of modifications for the upcoming race. According to the official rules, the aircraft must have a minimum wing-length of 6.1 meters and weigh 500 pounds or more. Aircraft engineers make adjustments to the craft to make the plane fly as fast as possible.
"Formula One is open to the amount you can push the envelope of the aeroplane," King said.
"These small aeroplanes, originally they're 100 horsepower, but we're getting about 180 horsepower out of these machines, and we're doing about 250 miles an hour at 60 feet.
These small aeroplanes, originally they're 100 horsepower, but we're getting about 180 horsepower out of these machines, and we're doing about 250 miles an hour at 60 feet.Engineer Hayden King
"We're about five to six miles per hour slower than [last year's winner], but it was our first race, and we needed to iron out a few more things, get a little more out of the machine.
"Hopefully we can get in the top three again."
Coughlin will be flying three laps around an oval course of 5.13km, against another 27 pilots from around the world. While King and Coughlin hope to rank, King said they would be happy for a safe race, and to finish with the aeroplane intact.
The championship runs from September 11-15, and include aero demonstrations, short take-off/landing drag races, and legacy flights from historical American aircraft.