Sport Pits—Home Away From Home


Here at Reno, the place to be for those enamored with air racing is the pits – the place where airplanes are prepped for flight, maintained in between races, and ministered to by pilots and crews. The Sport Class pit area has shaped up to be a wonderful community with both tents and open air parking for the planes, and a shady tent with casual seating as a place to unwind and visit. Racers of all speed ranges are clustered here on the west end of the main pit ramp, and there is always something interesting going on.

The Sport Class pit area features parking for race planes—both under tents and in the open. Some prefer the convenience of parking outside, as it is easier to get the plane in and out for races.

If you want to see just what goes into a fast homebuilt airplane, swing by and have a look – some crews are busy charging nitrous bottles, others are taking cowls off to make adjustments or just inspect the motors after a flight. When the class has time on the course, everyone keeps an ear to the radio, and an eye to the sky to see who is qualifying, and how fast they are going. Discussions on what other competitors are doing to increase their speed are common, and are speculations on who might be holding back a little to keep others in the dark.

Dynon Avionics put up the resources to provide a tent for racers, crew, and visitors in which they can relax, get out of the sun, and get to know one another.

Stop in at the Dynon-sponsored lounge tent and you can meet crew members and pilots getting to know one another and discuss the events of the day. The Reno Air Races are spread out over a mile of ramp space at the Stead airport, and when the sun comes out, it can be a blistering day on the ramp, so the tent is a great place to get a little shade. Fortunately, the Reno weather is variable, with occasional clouds, and even some cool temperatures, so competitors and visitors don’t bake all the time. But come prepared for anything – there was snow in portions of the Sierra just last week – and you never know when that will turn around, and summer will be back!

The Sport Class pits are a home away from home for those spending the week at Reno – make sure to stop by and see what’s going on.

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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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