Monday, January 29, 2018

Winter Updates - Air Racing

Things are moving along in the Air Racing world. Here’s a recap of what’s coming up in 2018.

Pylon Racing Seminar for 2018

Originally, we were unsure if PRS (Pylon Racing Seminar AKA Rookie School) would take place in 2018 due to runway construction at Reno/Stead Airport. However, a compromise was reached and while we would normally be flying during the week, the weekend will see most of the flying sessions, so the runway construction can go on as scheduled. This is a great thing for Rookies trying to get certified before the Air Races in 2018.

Speaking of the Races in 2018, they are schedule for September 12-16th this year. Tickets are already on sale, so let’s start making those travel arrangements!

And the Performers have been announced. This is a nice mix of Civilian and Military shows to intermingle with the great racing you will see this year.

The Patriots Jet Team will be back to show their unique aerobatic performance involving 6 L-39s – the largest civilian jet team in the Western Hemisphere.

Also returning is the “Screamin’ Sasquatch” Jet Waco from John Klatt Air Shows. Another unique performance and a true crowd pleaser!

The Smoke and Thunder Jet Truck will be back. This is a great ground based show and allows for launching and recovering race aircraft – which is a great help to the Air Boss at Reno!

For Military Performers, we are lucky enough to have the F-35 Heritage Flight and the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team. I’m hoping at least one of these powerful jets will be able to take the pylons!

Ely and Other Locations

It looks like a race will be held in Ely, NV right after PRS from June 11th through the 16th. The Ely Race will likely be a two-class event. The airport was built for Air Racing – a enormous flat plateau. The course design is underway.

Other locations are also being discussed from the East Coast of the USA to the West Coast of Canada. There are also races schedule in Europe – including the fourth race in Portugal featuring three classes of Sport Racers.

While naysayers have been telling us that Air Racing is a dying sport – we say - HA!

NBC Sports Special

Circle March 31st on your calendar. NBC Sports will be airing the three-part series of the 2017 Air Races featuring all three classes starting on that date. The other 2 episodes will be scheduled afterwards. AND – will be re-aired some time over the Summer months. Call your friends, alert everyone – we need more people to see this amazing event – so we can get more fans in the seats!

A Big THANK YOU to Stihl for their Sponsorship
Credit: Anthony D. Taylor

Speaking of Fans…

How do we reach out to the younger generation?

I belong to several aviation organizations and a common theme in the last few months has been – how do we increase interest in Aviation – in a Xbox World? How do we introduce today’s youth to mechanical things? How do we get them to come to the hangar early on a Saturday morning to learn how an engine works and how to pack bearings or rivet a fuselage?

The Reno Air Races have tried Drone Races (pssst – they’ll be back in 2018) and Motorcross demonstrations. We have also seen the Saab Demo Team (I loved that!). And after hours musical events – which was great for those of us who stay late.

We really need to reach out to NEW fans – not just keep the old ones. We need to share with them the exciting things that happen in the High Desert in mid-September every year.

If you have ideas on how to make that happen – let me know! I’m always open to ideas.


Another area we need to focus on these days is increasing the number of Sponsors we have for the Races and for individual Racers.

Each one of you who are reading these words may know someone who knows someone who either owns a company or works for a company who may be a great sponsor for Air Racing. Think about it – who would benefit by telling their story to the fans of Air Racing. Look at Stihl. Before they started sponsoring Andrew Findlay in the Sport Class – had you heard of them? Had you seen NATIONAL advertisement for their brand? Probably not. But someone on their Marketing Team said – this might be a great place for us to build awareness of our products.

There are other Stihl companies out there who could also build on their brand by sharing their products with the Air Racing Fans.

Again – any ideas? Let me know!

Justin Philipson in No Strings Attached
Credit: Anthony D. Taylor

Lots of exciting things are coming along and as they firm up – I will be sure to share this information.

Happy 2018 and let’s go Flying! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Reno Air Racing Association Announces Aerobatics Performers

RENO, Nev. – The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) is excited to release the initial list of performers for the 2018 National Championship Air Races, scheduled September 12 – 16, 2018 at the Reno-Stead Airport.

The Patriots Jet Team will headline this year’s performers. The Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco from John Klatt Air Shows will perform aerobatics, along with the Smoke ‘n Thunder Jet Truck. Demonstrations will also include the F-16 Fighting Falcon as well as an F-35 leading the Heritage Flight.

“The National Championship Air Races are very excited that the Patriots will be returning to Reno this year,” RARA COO Tony Logoteta said. “We’re also thrilled to welcome back the John Klatt and Smoke ‘n Thunder Teams as well as our military demonstrations. I hope that race fans, visitors, and spectators will be as excited about this year’s lineup as I am.”

The Patriots Jet Team is very excited to be back this year to perform at the Reno Air Races,” said Ginette Huot, Events and Operations of the Patriots Jet Team. “We love the spectators, and we love the races.”

Tickets are on sale for the 55th Annual National Championship Air Races, scheduled September 12-16, 2018 at Reno Stead Airport. For more information or to volunteer visit

Performer Descriptions

Patriots Jet Team: The story of the Patriots Jet Team, the largest civilian-owned aerobatic jet team in the western hemisphere, began with the vision of one person, Randy Howell. Fueled by a passion for aviation since childhood, it became Howell’s mission to create a six-jet aerobatic demonstration team that could entertain, inspire and educate today’s youth.

The talented group of pilots was first assembled in 2002 by Howell. Based in Byron, CA, the Patriots Jet Team features pilots who were formerly part of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The volunteer pilots all share the same genuine passion for entertaining audiences at air shows and other events, while also encouraging the nation’s youth toward careers in the aviation and aerospace fields.

The Patriots Jet Team, unique in its kind, represents an all-encompassing blend of passion, inspiration, integrity, and professionalism, and captivates audiences from all over North America with their exhilarating aerobatic performances.

“The "Screamin’ Sasquatch" Jet Waco from John Klatt Air Shows: Starting life as a classic 1929 Taperwing Waco, this was once the aircraft of choice for barnstormers in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The Screamin’ Sasquatch has been completely redesigned and structurally reinforced using modern day engineering and materials, along with state-of-the-art technology to allow the addition of a jet engine to the aircraft. The Jack Link’s Jet Waco Screamin’ Sasquatch is powered by dual power plants: a Pratt & Whitney 985 radial engine and a General Electric CJ610 (J85) jet engine with 3,000 lbs. of thrust. Total thrust of the combined engines is rated at 4,500 lbs. A three-bladed Hartzell propeller is used to harness the power of the 985 radial.

This system allows the plane to achieve feats other stunt planes are unable to do, along with reaching speeds up to 250 mph. Snap rolls, spins, barrel rolls and the hover are among the list of maneuvers this aircraft can perform. The plane has a thrust ratio of greater than 1 to 1, which allows it to accelerate going straight up.

Smoke ‘n Thunder Jet Truck: The Hot Streak II is a twin jet engine 57 Chevy Pickup capable of speeds of 350+mph that has been entertaining fans across the country for over 20 years and is currently driven by Hayden Proffitt II.

It has two 2-Westinghouse turbine engines, reused from a Navy T-2A Buckeye Airplane with 25,000 horsepower. It delivers a ground shaking, heart-pounding performance equipped with an afterburner that fires 20-foot flames and produces billowing smoke and mini sonic booms.

F-35 Heritage Flight: The heritage flight program, of which the F-35 is a part, teams up current Air Force fighters with planes from the World War II, Korean and Vietnam eras in a dynamic display of our nation's airpower history.

The F-35 is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter. It will replace the F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt II’s, which have been the primary fighter aircraft for more than 20 years, and bring with it an enhanced capability to survive in the advanced threat environment in which it was designed to operate. With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35 will provide next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations.

F-16: The Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team performs precision aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the unique capabilities of one of the Air Force’s premier aerial multi-role fighters, the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-seat, multi-mission fighter with the ability to switch from an air-to-ground to an air-to-air role at the touch of a button. With its lightweight airframe and powerful General Electric engine generating 31,000 pounds of thrust, the F-16 can fly at speeds in excess of Mach 2.

 About the Reno Air Racing Association: The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), a 501(c)(3), holds the National Championship Air Races every September just north of Reno. The Reno Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. Independent economic impact studies have shown that our event generates as much as $91.7 million annually for our local economy. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations. For more information on the National Championship Air Races, to obtain media credentials, volunteer or purchase tickets for this year’s event, visit