Reno After Hours


When the racing is done, Reno is still here and if you have a pit pass, it’s worth sticking around for the “night life.” No, there are no discos (that we know about), but there are more than a few parties breaking out in various hangars and pit paddocks. But more than anything else, the tension of the day has melted away, and folks are either working on airplanes or relaxing with a cold beverage and old friends. This is a time to congratulate or commiserate, to reminisce about the past, and predict the future—to talk about what might have been, or what will be!

A little testing and a little tuning.

As the sun begins to set, there are folks filling airplanes out on the line to run them up and do a little tuning. There are also planes headed out for test flights, so its a good time to watch for P-51s doing low passes. The air is cooler, the wind lighter, and the truth comes out about who is doing what, but strictly in confidence, so we won’t share.

Let’s just see if we found that horsepower!

Thursday “racing” is finished, and pilots have learned what they need to know about their planes and their opponents. Thursday is about figuring out, not winning, so there’s a bit of cattiness in some pits—but it’s all good natured. In the end, everyone wants the week to be fun and in the end safe! So when the crowds flood out the gates, the pilots and crews pull together to help each other stay in the competition.

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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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