Dangers of the Reno Ramp


It’s difficult to get onto the ramp at the Reno air races. Credentials are limited to essential crew members and even press credentials allow such constrained access that obtaining useful photos is nigh impossible.

Clearly the ramp is a heads-up sort of place, populated as it is with turning propellers and moving airplanes. But it wasn’t until this morning following early biplane and F1 races when we realized just how dangerous the ramp could be. Still groggy from our previous late-night labors documenting Sport racer engine installations we were startled by this fleeting glimpse of one of the ramp’s rarer, more seductively and truly dangerous creatures.


Fortune was with us, however, as thanks to the many regulations we were safely behind the pit barricade during the apparition. Caught unaware, our exposure was ephemeral if intense before the being wafted into the vapors and we slowly returned to our a.m. torpidity. Truly the air races are an intensity of memorable sights and mentionable experiences.

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Tom Wilson
Pumping avgas and waxing flight school airplanes got Tom into general aviation in 1973, but the lure of racing cars and motorcycles sent him down a motor journalism career heavy on engines and racing. Today he still writes for peanuts and flies for fun.


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