Reno From Home

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We all know that the best way for an aviation enthusiast (especially a homebuilder) to watch the Reno Air Races is in person, with a pit pass, at Stead Field. Well this year, its understandable if you’re sitting at home somewhere within a reasonable flight of the Reno area, wondering if it is worth the trip (and fuel expense) to fly to the races and risk seeing nothing due to the persistent wildfire smoke that is hampering the 2022 race schedule.

It’s currently Thursday at noon, and so far today, the only flying has been from the entertaining STOL drag guys and a couple of airshow performances – which makes it hard to justify the trip. Truth is, I live about an hour drive from Stead, down near Carson City, and I haven’t driven up to the field today because I really don’t want to hang around outside with air quality indexes in the “hazardous” range. Heck, Reno has cancelled public schools for the second day in a row because they don’t want kids outside!

One of the STOL drag races on the RARA YouTube feed.

Fortunately, the Reno Air Racing Association provides a way to stay informed – they have a live video feed each day on Youtube, a continuous broadcast that you can have on in the background to keep up on the news – and even watch some racing from previous years as they vamp for time and hope for clearing skies. If you want to check it out, fire up your favorite connected device, go to YouTube. It’s not the same as being there – but its better than nothing!

We’ll continue to hope for better air, and tomorrow I’ll head up to Stead just to hang out with the racers, mechanics, and other fans in the Sport, Formula, and Biplane pits. After all, I only get to see a lot of this folks once a year, and even if we don’t get to see much flying, its fun to trade stories and watch them tinker with exotic hardware.

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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 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a former member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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