A Full Field!


Good morning from the Reno Air Races, where the Sport Class seems to be taking over! Today is the final day of qualifying here at Stead Field, and the Experimental/Homebuilt world is well represented. The white board near the pilots’ briefing room tells the tale – while the dozen Unlimiteds draw the crowds looking for noise, the Sport racers take much more room on the board, and have enough qualified airplanes to fill four heats this year. The Gold heat is still dominated by the fast glass Lancairs, but the top qualifying spot is held by John Parker in his Thunder Mustang. Meanwhile, lots of RVs have come out to play – the largest rookie class in recent years. The Medallion heat will be racing on the short course starting this afternoon – which should make for exciting racing in full view of the crowds.


Meanwhile, in the O-200 world of Formula 1, fifteen airplanes have qualified as of this morning in their homebuilt designs that are going fast! Steve Senegal is 10 mph faster than his competition, clocking in at a touch over 252 mph. Kitplanes contributor Elliot Seguin is sitting in the third qualifying slot at 242 and change – so we look forward to some great racing in the days to come.

On the lighter side, we heard from a reliable source that at least one airplane taxied out a little late for qualifying when the pilot went to start up with his group and discovered that the key was not in the airplane. A quick run back to the pits produced the necessary accessory to get the airplane started – showing the importance of a fast crew – and a good prep checklist.

We’ll continue to following the racing all week – check back for more news here at Kitplanes!

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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