Check Out Our Sports Photo Galleries Contact Us
A witch, a bear and Angels invade Reno
by Dan McGee, Special to the Tribune
Sep 14, 2009 | 956 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Dan McGee - Prior to Al Goss qualifying runs Monday, two members of his crew, Steve Ballard from Anchorage, Alaska and Pierre Biglow from Prescott, Ariz. button up the engine on the T-6 named Warlock.
Tribune/Dan McGee - Prior to Al Goss qualifying runs Monday, two members of his crew, Steve Ballard from Anchorage, Alaska and Pierre Biglow from Prescott, Ariz. button up the engine on the T-6 named Warlock.
slideshow
STEAD - This week, fans from across the country, Europe, Asia and Australia will be arriving in Reno. They are coming for the 46th annual Reno National Championship Air Races, a full week of low-flying, hair-raising action.

As usual, the Unlimiteds are the stars of the show and most of the usual suspects will be on hand but there are some major changes.

Missing from this year's event is Mike Brown, a former champion, who usually brought three aircraft with his team. And one of the most popular racers, Rare Bear, is sporting a new paint job.

The Strega team (Italian for "witch") has another major change as last year's champion Bill "Tiger" Destefani will be on the sidelines. This time young Steven Hinton is in the P-51's cockpit.

Young Hinton's father Steve is a former champion and flies the pace jet.

Destefani has confidence in his new pilot and said, "If he couldn't cut the mustard, he wouldn't be there. But being on the sidelines will be a whole new ball game."

Reno is the only place on the planet where six classes of aircraft race each other and as such is a unique event in the sporting world.

The action each day begins around 8 a.m. After Sunday practice sessions, qualifying began Monday and runs to through Wednesday morning with racing beginning Wednesday afternoon. The early start is needed as the smallest aircraft need as calm as possible air for their events.

The special guest this year is the U.S. Navy Flying Blue Angels. They arrive Wednesday and spend the five days here. And all their shows are scheduled for 1:20 each afternoon.

On Wednesday they do a circling maneuver around the Stead airport area followed by two practice shows on Thursday and Friday. Then the Angels will perform their full shows Saturday and Sunday.

The weather can be a factor, like it is at any air show, and could change each day's schedule. Those planning on attending should check the weather and come prepared.

A series of heat races sort all the aircraft into their respective groups based on speed. Any class championship is determined by who wins a group's gold race.

The climax to the air races comes shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday when the Gold Unlimited race is run, usually the post popular event. A team winning that National Championship will have bragging rights for the next year.

Those wishing further information, go to www.airrace.org.
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

A witch, a bear and Angels invade Reno by Dan McGee, Special to the Tribune


Featured Businesses