2002.09.13 12:40:51: "Heritage Flight" - F-16C on the point, two P-51D Mustangs on the wings, and Lockheed P-38 Lightning "Joltin’ Josie" in the slot.
Stead Field Tower, Looking towards the stands, within the static display area. Aircraft in front is a North American B-25, with the tail inscription "Crusaders".
Obviously, they didn't care much about inflaming the vaunted "Arab Street" in the 1940's.
This year we had quite the turnout from our NATO friends. According to the crew, this aircraft and its crew are up from Nellis for the weekend.
There were also a number of german nationals in attendance, as the ThyssenKrupp corporation has a steel operation just down the street.
The Tornado took quite a drubbing during Gulf War I, I dont suspect we will see this aircraft in any large numbers for much longer.
I included this only to prove that I was in fact at the "Air Races". This picture does not do justice to the scene, this is a fault of the camera and the photographer.
There are some things that pictures can't capture. In this scene, there are 5 Mustangs at low level, going over 350 Kts. The sound that they make is unbelievably cool. No picture can capture that.
This is my favorite thing about Reno, you never know what you are going to see in the background.
In this shot, out beyond the static ramp you can see a Mig21. Theres two in this area, with a Czech L-29 Albatross in front.
Reno now includes a Jet Race, which is fun to see, although jet noice is not as fun as "merlin" noise.
Stead is the home of a jet rebuilder that buys Migs from overseas and refurbishes them for sale in the US. In the years since the fall of the wall, I've seen crates of MIGs lined up to be turned into the toys of rich capitalists everywhere.
There was a time in my life when seeing a single MIG of any type would have been big news. Today, its just so much scrap metal.
One more "proof" picture. Two mustangs round the pylon. Again, this camera was not up to the task.
From the hatch of a KC-135 Tanker, known as "Petro Pony", we can see two aircraft from the Nellis Agressor squadron, A German Tornado, an A-10 Warthog, a T-45 Goshawk and a harrier. Oh well, nothing to see here.
Oh wait, is that a P-51 going around the pylon?
Placard Reads ' This aircraft was used by President George H. W. Bush to train in the Navy".
From what was able to understand from a nearby Kerry supporter, The elder President Bush used his rich family influence and CIA/Bildeburger/CFR connections to jump ahead of other pilots more deserving of being a pilot in WWII. In addition, he was such a poor pilot he was shot down twice.
It's amazing that the man can show his face in public with all the shame he must carry. Personally, I was impressed that a man-creature with a bifurcated tail, cloven hoofs and sulfur breath would be allowed to fly an aircraft. Well, I guess if youre rich, any problem can be overlooked.
( How did he manage to get that pitchfork into the cockpit?)
Looking north towards the pits, you can get a sense of the size of the crowds. This is Saturday, Third day of a 4 day event. Saturday is the most visited day of the races. Today the weather conspired to make it difficult for the viewers but great for the vendors. The stands faced into a hard 20 kts wind down from the north. This put most of the traffic down behind the stands, where T-shirt vendors ran out of product at about 2:00 in the afternoon.
Oh, sure every air show has its "usual suspects", Mustangs, Yaks, the occasional Spitfire, but theres only one place anywhere that has a Martin Baker MB-5.
For more Info, take a look at this:
For my taste, the wings look a little too small to be effective and so does the rudder for all that engine in the front. But, what the hell do I know anyway...
Most of the static displays that appear at Reno are perrenials, you see them all the time, but this is the first time I've seem this particular Zero. This is not a North American T-6 from TORA,TORA,TORA, this is, in fact, a real live Mitsubishi Zero.
Unfortunately, I do not know which one of the small number of Zeros this one is, as there was no placard and no crew nearby to explain to a "ramp-rat" like me. My suspicion is that it is a newly restored one, possibly from the "Boys at Chino"?
There are so few of these babys in any shape at all, much less flying, so it is a joy to see one on the ramp.
The Alaska National Guard Provides the Jumpers for this years show. Try to remember, this guy and 4 others have jumped into a 20kts headwind, and Stead Field is a mile high. All jumpers managed to land within 10 feet of each other.
The white pylons in the background are part of the "Red Bull" Air Race. This is a new event at Reno, which combines Racing with Aerobatics and a sort of X-games look and feel. As long as it brings money into Reno, I'm ok with it.
A flight of F-15's that performed as part of the National Anthem.
The replacement for the venerable F-4 Phantom, the F-15 has an unbeaten record in air combat. I do not believe an F-15 has ever been shot down in air-to-air combat.
The Grand Marshals of the Races:
You wanna know why we are going to beat Al-qeada? You could drive this firetruck to every town from Morocco to Malaysia and never fill it with as many heros as this one holds.
We have a lot of heroes and we have a lot of firetrucks. They have neither.