Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009 Reno Air Races

It's time for the giant Reno Air Race post!

This year marked Travis' dad's 10th anniversary going to the Reno Air Races. He's the only one in the whole family who's made it for all 10 years! Considering we missed the last 4 years being in Milwaukee, we were very excited to go back this year.

Travis and his dad work a half day on Thursday, so by the time we actually leave, it's about dinner time. That means we drive all night and don't get to Reno until about 5:30am Friday morning. In the past we rode in the motor home (okay it was a bus conversion back then) so we got to sleep some of the drive. But now that we have three kids, we drove our van which definitely meant less sleep. I had about an hour early on so that I could stay up with Travis later. Finally, Travis couldn't take any more and I drove the last 2 hours. After arriving we just slept in the van for an hour or so before the festivities began!

This is what it's all about, the racing airplanes. This is a classic shot of the planes making the turn around the first pylon.
Reno Air Races

Jake and Josh (Travis' cousins) don't want to miss the action when back at camp.
Jake,Josh,Reno Air Races,Reno Air Races

Angela and Alli
Angela,Alli,Reno Air Races

At the opening ceremony everyday there are 3 flag jumpers from a C-130 and F-16's fly by.
Reno Air Races

This is the Air Force's Smoke-N-Thunder show (the jet car). He shows off the afterburner to the crowd, then sets up for a race with the stunt plane that just finished its show. The jet car waits at the end of the runway and when the airplane flies directly overhead then he can start. First to cross the Reno home pylon wins. Looks pretty close this day...
Reno Air Races

The Blue Angels start their show with Fat Albert, a C-130, that carries personnel, gear and spare parts for the Blue Angels. He does a few close flybys, in front and also right over our heads.
Reno Air Races

And because I'm a fan of Fat Albert, and this post needs more pictures (ha) here's a couple more shots of Fat Albert on his close flybys.
Reno Air Races

It really does seem impossible that these monsters can fly when they're flying right in front of you.
Reno Air Races

Just on Sunday (the biggest day when all the championship races are) Fat Albert demonstrated its jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) which simulates takeoff conditions in hostile environments. It allows for a short runway and a steep climb all done very quickly.
Reno Air Races

Fat Albert also does a wicked nose dive before landing and stopping in a super short distance that's crazy.

On to the Blue Angels. They show off their afterburners together, they takeoff together, and they fly ridiculously close together.
Reno Air Races

Love the pretty seperating formations, here are 2 of them.
Reno Air Races

After looking through my pictures I realized I must like the narrow miss flybys.
Reno Air Races

Yes, Avery is a genius. Carson fell asleep on the walk back to camp. That does not look comfortable.
Avery,Carson,Reno Air Races

Jake, Josh and Travis hanging around camp. That's the tent we were sleeping in behind them (borrowed from Kevin and Katrina who couldn't come this year). The first night it was so windy that Shane and Angela's tent collapsed nearly all the way down. As for our tent, the whole top half is mesh and the wind would suck up under the fly and dump dust into the tent. It was ridiculous. And loud. So Avery, Carson, Angela and Alli slept in the motor home, Shane braved their tent, and Travis, Emmett and I slept in the back of the van after unloading removing and folding down the seats. Oh, what a night. Thankfully, night number two was not as bad and we slept in the tent.
Jake,Josh,Travis,Reno Air Races

He's so handsome!
Travis,Reno Air Races

Everyone gathering around to watch the video of Ben's tractor pull in the Sublimity Harvest Festival.
Jon,Ben,Travis,Jake,Logan,DeAnna,Alli,Josh,Emmett,Reno Air Races

Emmett playing peek-a-boo and monkeying around.
Emmett,Reno Air Races

Avery, Damon and Logan had lots of fun playing together, until Avery and Damon knocked poor Joel down. Having a timeout together wasn't so rough, until they decided they weren't friends anymore due to a punch or some other such boy mischief.
Damon,Cheryl,Avery,Logan,Joel,Reno Air Races

All the guys climbed in Ben's motor home to watch some DVD about an airplane that can switch its landing gear easily for landing in different terrain.
Jake,Jon,Ben,Carson,Travis,Josh,Reno Air Races

Part of the Air Races include a large static display. A couple planes and a helicopter are open for touring. Avery and Carson "flew" a plane, checked out the sleeping quarters, and Avery "flew" a helicopter.
Carson,Avery,Reno Air Races

Here's (part) of the the helicopter Avery "flew."
Avery,Carson,Reno Air Races

Papa and Alli getting ready for the big final race
Ben,Alli,Reno Air Races

Time for the main event! The Unlimited gold class lines up before the final race. There are 3 big names in the Unlimited's: 1. Strega, my first favorite back in the beginning, but then he wasn't around and so I rooted for 2. Rare Bear. Of course, Strega's been back while we were in Milwaukee and he won last year. 3. Dago Red, a big fan favorite. Dago Red was gone this year. Strega was killing it in all the qualifying rounds, but due to a cut pylon he was docked enough to allow Voodoo to take the pole position in the final race. That was big and exciting because Voodoo is a fan favorite for always being there and close in the running, but always coming in behind the big boys - and his flashy paint job is always fun. This year was the first he ever made pole position.
Strega did overtake him right away and ended up winning, but the bummer part is Voodoo had to pull out midway with mechanical difficulties. Rare Bear took second and then called a mayday after the race, but landed safely.
Reno Air Races

Emmett fell asleep during the gold race. Travis had good intentions to protect him with his hat, but I don't think he thought it through all the way.
Emmett,Travis,Reno Air Races

And here are some parting shots, including a funny one. This it the C-130 the flag jumpers jump from for welcoming exercises, Rare Bear and his very flashy new paint job, a close race (the finish line is the Reno home pylon.) and a class act.
Reno Air Races

Seriously, I just had to include that last one. We were talking about how a monster truck rally crowd is generally different from the Reno crowd. (Basically because there's so much more money wrapped up in all things airplane so the crowd that follows air racing is generally more affluent.) That's not to say Reno doesn't make for fun people watching too, it's just no where near the level of a monster truck crowd. Then we spotted this guy and all had a good laugh. The front view was even less appealing. I can't believe I even caught him hitchin' his shorts up even higher!

Another fun year at the races!


RaQuelle Willey said...

Awesome pictures, my Travis would have loved that! and that last pictures is hilarious. great place to people watch i'm sure

Mindy said...

What a great time! I like how your 'near miss' plane pictures are stacked on top of each other--looks like they were all in the sky at the same time. We'd love to see an airshow someday.

Aaron and Kristel said...

Awesome pictures! What a fun time you had w the family ;) That last pictures has so many wrongs I don't know where to start.. great catch! :)