After all the traveling and flying from South Carolina to California, We are in Reno Nevada for the Reno Air Races. This is the home of the World’s Fastest Motorsport. Airplanes racing against other planes is the fastest motorsport. To an airplane geek like me, this is the place to be. I’ve been attending the races off and on since 1991. It’s easy to fall in love with the races if you like planes, the mechanics of the planes or things going fast. I like all three things. One of the racers says that you can’t go to heaven unless you go to Reno. I can agree with that.
They race formula one planes, bi-planes, T-6s, unlimited racers and jets. On top of all that, they races sport class racers. These are homebuilt aircraft that use the best of technology and create some fast running machines.
Anytime you are involved in a sport that has things going fast there is a requirement. The first requirement is the most elemental, you have to hate money. Everything that goes on these planes casts money. All the fuel, travel, tools, hotel rooms, crew meals, parts, workers and even the t-shirts create costs. These costs keep adding up. Well, they don’t add up they multiply up, and up.
The races offer a view of what it takes to compete in a sport that has the number 1 rule of hating money.
The formula aircraft are homebuilt and use 100 horsepower engines and go about 200 miles per hour. The bi-planes go about the same speed. The sport class travel close to 400 miles per hour. The Unlimited class are generally World War II aircraft that have been modified. They fly nearly 500 miles per hour. The jets fly a little over 500 miles per hour and the T-6 class fly about 230 miles per hour.
I spend most of the time with the T-6 crews. I know several of the pilots and mechanics. Most of my time was spent chatting with friends and talking about the racing T-6s.
The rest of the time was spent watching the different teams working on planes and of course watching the planes fly around the race course at unbelievable speeds.
Two days of racing and we still had time to drive up to the prettiest place on earth. The prettiest place on earth is Lake Tahoe. It has everything. Beautiful mountain views, a crystal clear lake and in the winter it has beautiful ski slopes. Seems you have to hate money to live too.
Our trip wound up and then it was two days of flying back across the country. We took a different route back home. We went through Wyoming and on to Kansas. The next day had us back in South Carolina. We had flown nearly 5000 miles in 27 hours. That’s 185 miles per hour average. That makes to trip even better.
We got to fly a fast airplane across the country and back. We got to watch some of the fastest airplanes race. There is one more thing that comes along with a trip like this. The credit card bill comes in a month later. It brings home the fact that if you love motorsports you must hate money.