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Bill Destefani

athlete

Inducted February 17, 2005

Nicknamed “Tiger”, Destefani became fascinated by airplanes as a young boy when he hid in the fields of his family’s farm outside of Bakersfield just for the thrill of being buzzed by crop dusters. He took flying lessons at age 21 and bought his first plane at age 30. After spending time rebuilding and restoring planes, Destefani began racing. He and several other aircraft owners formed Air Racing Unlimited, and he served as president of that group for three years. As a competitor, Destefani was a six-time winner in the Gold unlimited race at the Reno National Championships, in 1987, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1997. He also won the Gold in 1991 and 1992 in Denver and in 1993 in Kansas. His P-51 Mustang, Mangia Pane, won the Silver unlimited race in Reno in his first race there in 1980.