The annual National Championship Air Races takes place in Reno, Nevada each September and draws over 150,000 aviators and spectators worldwide. Commonly referred to as the Reno Air Races, it was named America’s Best Air Show in 2017 by USA Today readers! Accolades also include being recognized as one of the 10 Best Air Shows in the World by USA Today in 2016!
The event combines the world’s fastest motorsport with spectacular military and civilian air entertainment to offer the most unique air racing event in existence. Six different classes of race planes thrill fans as they speed around the Reno Air Races course, marked by pylons. The pylons are actually telephone poles about 50 feet tall (the “sticks”), with specially made, marked drums (the “cans”) mounted at their tops. Many have bright orange-red panels to increase their visibility to pilots, who may be traveling anywhere from 150 to almost 500 mph as they circle the race course, sometimes at just 50 feet from the ground.
The first three days (Mon-Wed) are qualifying rounds, followed by four days (Thu-Sun) of multi-aircraft heat racing, concluding with Sunday’s Gold championship races. Besides the on-your-feet racing, spectators can experience up-close access to aircraft, pilots and crews in the “pits.” There’s also a world-class air show, aircraft and drone displays, military aircraft and loads of vendors. It’s an experience you’ll never forget!
The event is organized by the Reno Air Racing Association, a 503(c) non-profit. With the assistance of approximately 2,500 dedicated volunteers, the organization has produced a world-class air show in Reno since 1964.
The Reno Air Races are held just 10 miles north of Reno at the Reno Stead Airport. During this time, hundreds of historic and state-of-the-art planes from around the world make their way to this Northern Nevada regional airport. Spectators can access Reno Stead Airport by car or by shuttle from various downtown Reno-Sparks locations. The paid parking area is within easy walking distance of the main entrance. You can purchase parking tickets in advance or pay for parking on-site. Shuttle tickets may be purchased at any of the pick up/drop off locations or at Reno Stead Airport. Find more information on Reno Air Races parking.
Once you make your way through the main entrance, you will be greeted by military aircraft, vendors and exhibitors, lots of delicious food options and talented performances. Walking through the crowd, you may even see military pilots and performers also enjoying the event.
No matter when you make it out to the Reno Air Races, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you will always find something interesting to do or see! This multi-day event includes three days of qualifying, four days of multi-aircraft heat racing and a Sunday championship, but the schedule is subject to change based on qualifiers and non-competitive performances. Interested in attending the Reno Air Races? See the current Reno Air Races schedule and Reno Air Races ticket information for this year.
Discover more about the upcoming National Championship Air Races, including dates, schedule, performers and ticketing.
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