Setback at Jet Vs. Car Race in Opa-locka

Student-built car overheats before race with Learjet at Opa-locka Airport

By Julia Bagg
|  Friday, May 3, 2013  |  Updated 3:10 PM EDT
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What was supposed to be a race between a Learjet and a super-car built by inner-city students at Opa-locka Airport Friday instead turned into a lesson in improvisation.

What was supposed to be a race between a Learjet and a super-car built by inner-city students at Opa-locka Airport Friday instead turned into a lesson in improvisation.

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What was supposed to be a race between a Learjet and a super-car built by inner-city students at Opa-locka Airport Friday instead turned into a lesson in improvisation.

Thirty students from Experience Aviation, a Miami non-profit learning center that encourages kids to pursue careers involving science, technology, engineering and math, spent nearly a year building the car in anticipation for Friday's race.

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But before the race began, the car overheated and couldn't be cooled down even with the help of a firetruck.

"We put a lot of man hours into that car," said engineer Emilio Monti, who worked with the students up until Friday morning to have their car ready. "We worked all night. It was down to the finish."

Instead, Barrington Irving, a Guinness World record pilot and founder of Experience Aviation, had to use a plain old Corvette. And in the end, the jet won by a hair.

"Sad but yet, we tried," said 16-year-old Devon Gardner, who worked on the super-car's engine.

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"I won," said pilot Henry Castellanos triumphantly. He clocked his jet at finishing in 84 seconds.

A rematch is set for 30 days.

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