Reno Air Races

This was another fun trip we made in my friend's Piper Navajo during September 2000. Along with OshKosh and the big ballooning event in Arizona, this is one of the big three triumvirate of "must attend" events for pilots and airplane fanciers. It's well worth it, and makes an excellent flight to take from the Bay Area on a small plane. We landed at the Reno airport and stayed at the Atlantis hotel. The FBO was waiting with a tug to hangar the plane and the keys to a Suburban, so once again, general aviation beat the heck out of flying commercial!

The races were held at a little ex-military airbase called Stead, which puts them conveniently away from any Reno air traffic and provides a good facility for the event. The Air Races are extremely well attended, and you will find it to be the biggest and most crowded airshow ever, with the exception of the OshKosh event. Nevertheless, it wasn't so crowded as to make things unenjoyable. Be sure to bring stadium seats, or better, a comfortable folding chair. There are bleachers, and areas were you can set a folding chair on asphalt, and not much else. Those in the know can gain access to one of the VIP boxes with more comfortable seating and catered food.

What follows is a little photo essay of what we saw:

It's a beautiful clear day for the races. We arrived in the morning, and the events won't start until almost noon.

Nice flight of F-18 Hornets. You can see how everyone has brought comfortable folding chairs. We wound up buying some at Target the next day.

Opening ceremony involved an F-14 flying past slow and "dirty" with wings, gear, and arrestor hook extended.

Meanwhile, a very high altitude (invisible) aircraft dropped the obligatory parachutist with large American flag. The National Anthem was played as he came within view and then the show commenced.

For me, the best part was walking the pits, which is an extra-cost option, but well worth it. You can see the airshow from pretty much anywhere, may as well have something interesting to look at between acts.

These are some expensive play toys!

Look at that motor!

Note the low slung canopy, modified for lower drag.


All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.