We all know that there are a lot of airshows out there. From big ones like Oshkosh to small regional shows and fly-ins. Or maybe you want to visit one of the big military displays held at bases all across the country. Or, if your anything like me, try to catch as many different airshows as possible. So in the end. Depending on where you live. And what kind of aviation you are into. There are plenty of choices. Ultimately, no matter what airshow you choose. It will be an exciting time for you and your family. Above all, be sure to take your camera with you!
Now, what if there was a different kind of airshow? One that has catered to aviation fans, both young and old, for over 55 years. It brings together a mix of civilian, military, and warbird pilots from around the world. And what if I told you that it was also the worlds fastest motor-sport? Would you be interested? Well then. Lets talk about Air Racing in Reno!
The Air Racing
It all started back in 1964 when veteran pilot Bill Stead set up a closed course race for high performance aircraft. He gathered together the fastest WW2 fighters and home built Formula 1 racers who competed for a trophy and glory. Since then, Air Racing in Reno has become the longest running event of its kind.
Now, I know what your thinking. How exciting can it be watching a few planes that are just flying around in circles? Of course times have changed since those first races. And so have the classes. For instance, there are now 6 classes of racers.
The Unlimited class is a mix of highly modified, as well as stock ex-military piston engine planes. They fly at speeds as low as 350 mph up to 500+!
The Jet class is well… A bunch of jets. They range around the low 400 mph mark up to the 500’s.
The T-6 class is all about the bone stock AT-6 and SNJ’s. Their speeds range anywhere between 170 to 250 mph.
The Sport class comprises many different kinds of home built general aviation aircraft. Both stock and modified! Their speeds vary between 215 mph up to around 400 mph!
The Biplane class is a bunch of small biplanes with speeds that range from 150 mph to the 200 mph mark.
The Formula One class is another group of home built aircraft. They can reach speeds in the neighborhood of 150 to 250 mph.
Incidentally, Did I mention that these pilots all fly as low as 50 feet off the ground? And that they have to pass outside a set of pylons that mark the course. Pylons that are about the size of a 55 gallon drum on a pole. They are very hard to see while passing by at these fast speeds.
To summarize, these pilots not only have to monitor their planes engine and prop controls. They have to watch for other race planes, the pylons, and their altitude. Not to mention Rattle Snakes, Mountain Goats and sage brush! That my friend, is Air Racing in Reno!
Until now, I’ve pretty much talked about the racing aspect of the air races. And I do remember promising you an airshow as well. Whenever someone mentions airshows. It’s the teams that come to mind. And Reno is no different. All of the big teams have been there. The mighty Blue Angels and Thunderbirds. Not to mention, the graceful Snowbirds and the equally important new comers, the Patriots and Breitling jet teams.
The 2019 air races will feature the US Air Forces Thunderbirds. Along with several different aerobatic and military demonstration aircraft. You can find out more information about the 2019 show here at the National Championship Air Races.
In conclusion, I am pretty confident that you will really enjoy this airshow. It has a fantastic mix of aerial and static aircraft to enjoy. Oh yes, I almost forgot about the surprise flyby’s. They have flyby’s with aircraft like the U-2 spy plane, B-52, and B-2 bombers. Several years ago, John Travolta performed a flyby in his Qantas painted 707! So go have some fun. Let us know what you think. Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. But please… Take your camera!