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Air Races – Day 2

Right now it’s Wednesday morning and the Thunderbirds are beating up the place with their ‘arrival show.’ They are performing at Reno only one day this year – tomorrow (Thursday).

I seem to be having computer/camera challenges today. When I attempted to do some photo re-formatting at home last night my copy of Photoshop locked up. So I’m doing all my work in the hangar on my notebook. But I forgot the camera cable, so the photos of the qualifying results are stuck on the camera’s SD card. I’ll get this out and then go try my neighbor’s card reader and see if it works. If you find an extra photo at the end of the article with the qualifying times you’ll know it was successful.

Day two was taken up with more qualifying periods – and more vendors setting up their displays. The end of my hangar row now has the Piper display area with their King Airs, etc.  Here are a few more photos – Most of the remainder of the Unlimited racers.

Grumman FM-2 Wildcat, Race 2

Grumman FM-2 Wildcat, Race 2 “Sea Biscuit” being flown by Brian Sanders this year.



Hawker Sea Fury, Race 8

Hawker Sea Fury, Race 8 “Dreadnaught” flown by Dennis Sanders. Dreadnaught is powered by a 28-cylinder P&W R-4360.



F-51 Mustang, Race 16


This is listed as an F-51 Mustang, Race 16 “Lou IV” flown by Chuck Greenhill.


P-40E, Race 18

This is a P-40E, Race 18 “Sneak Attack” flown by John Maloney of the Planes of Fame in Chino, CA. My shutter speed isn’t super fast – the prop was stopped as he rolled to his parking spot.

North American T-28, Race 66

The lone North American T-28B in the race, Race 66 “The Bear” flown by Dave Morss.  Way back when the T-28 group used to have their own race class, similar to the T-6 group now. Not sure what happened.

Grumman F8F-2, Race 52

The second Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat in the field. This is Race 52 “Blue Angel #1” flown by Nelson Ezell. The other bearcat, of course, is Rare Bear, Race 77.


Hawker Sea Fury, Race 71

There are 5 examples of the Hawker Sea Fury in the Unlimited Field this year. This is Race 71 “Sawbones” flown by Dan Vance.



P-51D, Race 177

This is listed as a P-51D and I guess that’s how it started, but it’s a bit modified. This is Race 177, “Galloping Ghost” flown by Jimmy Leeward. The wings have been modified, the canopy is obviously not original and the belly scoop is removed with engine cooling now provided by a ‘boil-off” system.

Strega, Race 7 in it's pit area


I was up on my neighbor’s balcony and shot this. Strega in it’s pit area minus propeller. They must have found something after that blistering qualification run – or they’re trying to go even faster.

Airport Update

The clean-up is moving along. Rocks on a taxiway. When I got to the airport this morning those rocks were still on the taxiway centerline. It was nice that they put the blue drum next to them to help mark the hazard. By about 2 pm they had been removed, so I now have a clear route to the runway.  Now if I could only wrap up this instrument panel rearranging maybe I could take advantage of the clear route. While I was working in the hangar I heard a big-engine something departing. It must have been Dreadnought because when I headed home the plane wasn’t on the ramp.

For some reason, possibly maintenance, C-17 still on the ramp at Reno-Stead.the C-17 is still sitting on the ramp. It has now moved to the area in front of the main grandstands. It looks like both thrust reversers on this side are deployed and later in the day there was a maintenance stand raised up the the outboard engine. You can see that an F-15 is also still in residence. The C-17 was moved from the military display areao it’s current position so that resident general aviation planes can return to their tie-downs near the fuel island. Those people who tie down on the ramp and do not want to relocate their planes to other airports during the races can have them towed to tie down locations in the center of the field. The photo of the rocks on the taxiway shows a large plane in the background. That is out in the parking area.

When they started bringing the planes back to the ramp they found that some had been vandalized while they were out in center field. Fuel had been drained from the fuel tanks of at least one aircraft. Taxiway lights were also vandalized in the area. What is it with some people?

I also received an update on the Staggerwing crash I mentioned yesterday. The FAA’s preliminary determination is that the crash was a result of fuel starvation. Really unfortunate… and unnecessary.

Reno – Day Six

For those of us who are based at Reno-Stead the races are not just the five days published as the race days. The airport starts to transform into the race venue about a month prior to the event. It all begins with the set-up of the temporary bleachers – all the sections to the east of the main grandstands.

It will now take almost 3 weeks to return the airport to its normal operations. Today was departure day for the majority of the aircraft that were on the field during the races. By the time I left for home about 5:30 pm the ramp was virtually empty of aircraft. All through the day we had high performance takeoffs and low passes across the field. VIP tents, skyboxes and some pit areas are still in place, but are quickly being dismantled.  The taxiway in front of my hangar runs right into the area where the Hawker-Beechcraft display was located. All of their display is gone except for a 3′ pile of rocks right on the taxiway centerline. Apparently the ramp sweeper can’t pick up grapefruit- to basketball-sized rocks.

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