It’s Not Your Old 1917!


One of the traditions at the Reno Air Races is the Fire Truck ride given to race winners and their crews. Traditionally, the winning team of each race jumps on the old (very old…) red fire truck and is given a ride from the pits up in front of the grandstands and back down to the pits, gathering applause and accolades for their efforts.

Sharp eyed attendees at the 2021 races will notice something different however – the truck is not what it used to be! It turns out that the old classic, owned by Harrah’s Auto Museum in Reno, was not made available to the Races this year. Coincidentally, one of the RARA volunteers who likes unique machinery had purchased a small used fire truck on eBay – and it came all the way from New Zealand!

He made it available to the event, so victors this year are taking their rides on a Toyota Land Cruiser based “brush truck” – a typical back country firefighting machine with its own pump, but no water tank – that is very unique in this country. While the front looks like a modern road vehicle, the back is still a good place for a team to sit and soak in the adulation of the crowd. And yes – it DOES have a siren!

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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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