Reno Air Races make emotional return this week

Beginning this week, the Reno Air Races — now dubbed the TravelNevada.com Reno National Championship Air Races — will return to northern Nevada for the 49th annual event. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 12, planes will once again return to the Sierra skies in a world-class, week-long event featuring six classes of aircraft in a head-to-head competition culminating in a race for the Breitling Unlimited Championship trophy. The event will feature one of the world’s most advanced military aircraft — the F-22 Raptor — as well as emotional tribute ceremonies to remember and celebrate the lives of those lost as well as those impacted by the tragedy of last September.

“The last year has been a true test to our organization, our fans, both the northern Nevada and aviation communities and those who were directly impacted by the tragedy of last year,” said Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association. “We have worked hard to bring this historic event back to Reno and we look forward to remembering and celebrating as we, once again, gather for an aviation event unlike any other.”

This year’s event will commence with an emotional opening ceremony featuring a special and poignant tribute to courage, aviation and the memory and celebration of the lives lost last September. Special guests Mayor Bob Cashell of Reno and Mayor Geno Martini of Sparks will join president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association, Mike Houghton, in a special recognition of first responders, victims and fans.

“We are grateful for the tremendous leadership from our state and community leaders, local businesses and our sponsors for remaining by our side through a difficult time but we will truly never forget the incredible display of courage that was shown in a moment of tragedy last year by the first responders, victims and fans,” said Houghton. “This year’s event will pay tribute to everyone who was impacted or who provided support during this trying time and we have a very special and exciting week planned to properly remember and celebrate these heroes and the spirit of aviation.”

As part of its return, the air races will feature the F-22 Raptor. Originally conceived in the early 1980s, this aircraft was built for and put into use by the United States Air Force in 2005 and, today, exists as the most powerful and deadly airborne weapon in the world. The pilots of these remarkable aircraft are known for their incredible precision and stunning maneuvers including the power loop, split and tail slide.

Further, the event will feature some of the top civilian airshow performers and additional military demonstration teams. The F/A-18E Super Hornet will perform a demonstration and legacy flight Friday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 16 and the Patriot Jet Team will return to the Reno Air Races beginning Thursday, Sept. 13. Kent Pietsch, Clay Lacy and Jim Pietz will also perform their aerobatic acts throughout the week.

For more information: AirRace.org or 775-972-6663

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