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Reno Air Races Are Underway!

The National Championship Air Races have something for everyone, and a returning champion that faces stiff competition.

Photo courtesy National Championship Air Races

The National Championship Air Races at Reno-Stead Airport kicked off on Wednesday. This year is a return for the races, which were cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. The hiatus has apparently heightened the anticipation. There are 140 airplanes entered in seven different classes. Those planes have been doing qualifying since early in the week, and racing in front of spectators got underway yesterday.

The unlimited class has 14 entrants this year, including a Bell P-63 King Cobra, along with the 2019 Champion, Dreadnaught, a TMK 20 Sea Fury, which will this year will be flown by Joel Swager. Last year’s winning pilot in Dreadnaught, Dennis Sanders, will be flying another one of the Sanders team’s Sea Furys, 924G.

The year 2021 also marks the official inclusion of the STOL Drag event, a combination short takeoff and landing contest with sprints between the legs. The event was pioneered at the High Sierra Fly-In and has been a crowd favorite everywhere it’s gone.

The show is packed. There will be demonstrations by the USAF Thunderbirds, a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey, an Air Force F-35A Lightning II, along with several airshow performers.

Want to read more on air racing? Click here: The 2019 High Sierra Fly-In Explodes


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