Reno Air Races 2017

Over the years, I have accrued a number of nice memories of the Reno Air Races. I’ve met “Pappy” Boyington, Bob Hoover, and seen things that can’t be seen anywhere else.

I have a print I bought from Major Boyington signed – in 1984. I read his autobiography – he had a terrible time in the Japanese concentration camp (it should go without saying) and post war, an awful time. But he pulled through. He’s at Arlington, now.

One thing has changed – well, a number of things. For one, the “Unlimiteds” have become so fast the starter plane changed from a yellow Mustang – piloted by Bob Hoover, to a T-33 jet. They have an L-39 class now – that ubiquitous Czech trainer that the wealthy have embraced. That Merlin – stock was 1,500 hp, is over 3,500 now.

If you go there a pit pass is almost mandatory – you wander among all these magnificent planes.

Here’s a few pictures from today:





This Hawker Sea Fury has the original 2,500 hp Bristol-Centaurus engine – I can tell by the prop. I was right near one of these taxiing and I swear you could feel the ground vibrate.


In Reno Lore, this plane is Royalty. A Grumman Bearcat, Rare Bear. . With Lyle Shelton it dominated Reno for a number of years. Then it sat forlorn and in pieces. She is back together now.


The Air Force is a bit more stodgy with nose art these days, aren’t they?


This P51-A had the original Allison engine. From what I could see of it, it was beautiful – a work of mechanical art.



Had a nice conversation with the pilot of this E3-C. “Gretel” told me that she too was a graduate of Top Gun. Told her about Lex and of course since I have my basic lexology certificate and know about the sometimes brutal process of getting a callsign, had to ask her how she got hers.

I leave bread crumbs every where“, she said.

Based on what Lex taught me, I told her that she got off easy.

Based at Fallon, I think I made another Lexican.


I’d show you the video of this Harrier hovering but we are getting precariously close to hitting the “full” mark on allotted disk space.



I believe this is a Yak-3. I read the other day that it was every bit the equal of the Me109.


A Texas museum brought a wonderful assortment of WW2 aircraft. No it wasn’t the CAF. Forget their name. They had a flyby with this B-25, an F4-U, Spitfire (all I know with the elliptical wing is was an early one, P-40, TBM Avenger, and a P-51D Mustang.

One picture I regret not getting – talked with a young woman who had what looked like a WW2 Army Air Force uniform. Except she had on hot pants (although it looked like it was regulation khaki 🙂 ).She had an 8th  AAF patch on her sleeve, and her Garrison Cap was the regulation angle on her head.

Call it a quirk, but I think a woman with a garrison cap looks sexy. I told her that this reminded me of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, held in the UK every August on Lord March’s estate. Lord March is apparently a car nut.

Anyway a lot of people get dressed in period dress there. It’s on my bucket list. Anyway, I asked her if her outfit was regulation and she replied with a smile, “It is my interpretation of the uniform!”

As I said, I wish I had asked her for her picture but our conversation  lasted all too short and she was off…





Filed under Airplanes, Flying, Plane Pr0n

3 responses to “Reno Air Races 2017

  1. Mike Babin

    Do some research before pulling the trigger on your bucket list. Lord March hosts two events annually, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and the Goodwood Revival. I think you want the latter for gals in garrison caps, though both are worthwhile.

  2. Duffman

    How cool was the Sat show anyway!! It was our first trip as a family… I’ve always taken my kids to the Blues shows… My oldest son Justin got tickets for us and my 7 year old daughter loved it!
    I’ve always wanted to feel the Mustangs racing around the pylons… the P-80 still flying?? and a lot!!! Awesome… Your photos match a few of mine of the static displays… How about the Bel Air POW/MIA car??
    We saw the same E-2C driver… My older Bro is a reitred “scopedope”. Did 30 years and finished as 0-6; Chief, Space Defense Director for Navy European Command after a CO tour with VAW 117… So I appreciate “Gretel’s” seat. I actually showed my daughter one of the back seat window’s where her Uncle “Capt.Ron” (a recent Lexican convert) used to work. Her favorite though was getting her photo taken under the wing of an F/A 18 F from NSAWC Strike with a real, honest to goodness TOPGUN (one word all caps) instructor pilot!! I’d send you the photo but I’m not sure how to post it to a comment on this blog. You can check it out on my FB post (Duff Wiley) from today tho…
    I’m remiss however if I don’t fess up… The pilot was my oldest son so the photo shoot was canned… Send me an email and I’ll share his callsign and the photo with you… One of his FB friends happens to be one Chris LeFon…

    Small world Lex…
    Coolest dude I never met.


    PS… Would have been cool to meet you there in person…

    • Bill Brandt

      Small world Duffman! This was the first year I had attended where neither the Canadian snowbirds, Thunderbirds, or Blue Angels attended.

      But it was still a great day. What I have found having gone there most years since the mid-1980s, is that you see so much amazing stuff you tend to take it for granted.

      And it’s really the last of its kind.

      Cynic in me says for those multi millionaire unlimited owners that even if you win the gold you barely cover your cost. They must do that for fun.

      I remember reading somewhere that those Merlin engines are up to about 3500 hp and perhaps even more now.

      Do you remember seeing the Hawker Sea Fury Dreadnaught?

      I remember that plane from the mid-80s it ran away from the pack and would have won the gold but he had cut a pylon and was disqualified. Has the massive Pratt and Whitney 4360 engine in it I believe.

      We were talking yesterday about the possibility of Lex having flown that very F5.

      I sent the woman there who I guess is affiliated with Fallon a couple of posts from Lex on the F5.

      If you’d like, I’ll post your picture here with the background. Just send it to WilliamBrandt01 at comcast dot net. If you go next year let me know and we’ll meet up!

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