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!