At the Reno Air Races pilots pursue each other at 500 miles an hour, as little as 50 feet above the ground. It's like a NASCAR track in the sky. Steven Hinton has won here twice.
"And you're within 10-20 feet of that, that airplane on the start. And then depending on how close the racing gets, you can be within 5 feet, wing tip-to-wing tip."
"At 500 miles per hour?"
"At 500 miles per hour. Everything's right on the edge. There's you know, very little room for error."
Hinton is featured in a new imax documentary, "Air Racers 3D", that puts viewers in the cockpit for what's billed as the fastest motorsport on earth.
In 2009 when he was just 22, Hinton became the youngest winner ever at Reno, breaking a record previously held by his father, Steve Hinton.
"Some people think it's a dare-devil sport, but it's really not. You know, none of us go out there to race thinking that we're just adrenaline junkies. We're out there to try to accomplish something."
In the Hinton family flying seems as essential as breathing.
"Since you were a kid, love of airplanes?"
Hinton answers, "Yeah, grew up, I had a crib right here in the office. My mom works here. So it was always a family business."
At the planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California, the Hintons restore classic aircraft. Steven took me flying in a WWII P-51 Mustang. Then his dad pulled up right beside us…suddenly we're flying frighteningly close, wing tip-to-wing tip, as they do in the races.
"Well, at 8 or 10 feet between the wings, it bothers me a little bit, I've got to admit."
Still we were cruising at less than half the 500 miles an hour racing speed.
But that was quite enough for me. Steven however thrives on the edge of danger. "So the engine's like a time bomb, the fuse is lit and you don't know how long it is."
The fuse seemed to reach its end in Reno last year when one plane crashed into a grandstand. Eleven people were killed including the pilot. Scores were injured.
Before the crash, filmmaker Christian Fry had just finished shooting 'Air Racers 3D. He'd been a fan for years.
"It was one of those events when the minute you walk through the gate, you go, "Wow, this is something special." And I just knew that-- I wanted to try and tell a story about it," says Fry.
But he decided to mention last year's tragedy only in an epilogue. He wanted his film to be a celebration of this unique competition.
"Do you worry that perhaps the Reno Air Races will get more fans because people see the possibility of terrible things happening?"
"You know, John, I think that, that's sort of inevitable. You know?"
Seventeen pilots have been killed since the races began in 1964. But never had spectators died.
In 1979, Steve Hinton blew an engine during the race. In a crash captured on film his plane.
Slammed into the ground. Somehow he survived.
"It's not really like the movie. I mean, you don't go in screamin' and yellin'. Yeah, you know, You fly the airplane right to the crash. You control it all the way down."
After multiple surgeries, Hinton returned to racing, although these days he leaves the competition to his son.
"Death doesn't worry me at all up there. I don't.."
"Death doesn't worry you?!"
"No, I don't go up there to die. I go up there to race. I don't think I'm going to do anything dangerous up there. And we practice all the time," says Steve.
"Of course you're doing something dangerous up there!"
"But, like I said, it's a calculated risk."
By my calculation, however, its safer just go see the movie.
"Air Racers 3D" should be screened at Digital 3D cinemas in Reno in September, with the exact locations to be announced shortly. The film should also play at the IMAX 3D theatre in Sacramento, as well as in Digital 3D locations in the state later this year.