Performers

Below are some of our 2017 performers. Please note the schedule is subject to change.

The Texas Flying Legends Museum

Texas Flying Legends Museum

The Texas Flying Legends Museum will race four planes and perform with six planes at the 54th National Championship Air Races.

B-25J “Betty’s Dream”

The B-25 Mitchell is one of the most iconic aircraft of WWII.  With the B-25, the Doolittle Raiders flew the first air strike on Japan; it was one of the few aircraft to fight in all theatres of WWII. Its role as a fast medium bomber was exploited. The B-25 crews flew with distinction, supported ground troops and escorted surrendering generals to the signing of Japan’s surrender.

TBM3E Avenger

The TBM Avenger, also known as “The Turkey,” was an important bomber for the Navy in the Pacific. Carrier and land based, it could drop bombs or torpedoes on the enemy. The TBM could have up to a four man crew. It was a TBM that President George H.W. Bush was flying on a bombing raid over a radar installation, when he was hit by flak forcing him to bail out into the Pacific. Look closely at TFLM’s TBM and you will see President Bush’s signature on the tip of one prop blade! TFLM honors President Bush and all the TBM pilots with active displays around the country.

P-40K “Aleutian Tiger”

A front line fighter for the USAAF, the P-40 was already outdated at the start of WWII. That made no difference as our pilots used the P-40’s strengths to the fullest against the enemies’ weaknesses. The “Aleutian Tiger” celebrates the P-40s that fought in the Aleutian Island Battles, the only U.S. soil to be invaded during WWII. Flying in adverse weather against the Japanese Zero, they pushed the enemy back and finally off U.S. soil. The TFLM P-40K was involved in action in Russia.

FG-1D Corsair

The Corsair was a strategically important aircraft in WWII and Korea. The aircraft’s speed and agility along with its versatility, made a massive impact on the enemy. Because the Corsair was both a land- and carrier-based front line attack fighter, it served many roles. Flying in the Pacific, they escorted bombers and provided both top cover and ground force support. It was said the Corsair’s bent or “gull wing” design created an eerie whistle when in a dive, thus the enemy’s naming of the aircraft “Whistling Death.”

P-51D “Dakota Kid II”

TFLM’s P-51 “Dakota Kid II” honors Lt. Noble Peterson of New England, ND, who flew 106 combat missions during two tours, March 1944–May 1945. Like many pilots of the day, Lt. Peterson’s main mission was bomber escort as part of the 355th Fighter Group. He participated in what became known as the “Steeple Morden Strafers” who, on secondary missions, had the honor of destroying more aircraft on the ground during strafing missions than any other fighter group. During his two tours of duty, Lt. Peterson was credited with three kills and four probable kills. Lt. Peterson and his crew chief, Robert Coleman, were reunited after sixty-one years in the shadow of “Dakota Kid II”.

Spitfire MkIXc “Half Stork”

The Spitfire is a legendary British aircraft that fought in the Battle of Britain and repelled the enemy, keeping them from landing on English soil. Its unique wing shape provides the Spitfire with its agility in the air and also identifies its famous profile in the sky. While its primary theatre of action was England and France, it was also utilized in Africa and in defense of Australia. It was flown in combat not only by the Brits, but also American, Canadian, Czech, French and Polish pilots. These pilots would fly their Spits continually during the Battle of Britain. TFLM’s Spitfire was flown over the beaches of Normandy by Free French on D-Day +9.

A-10 Heritage Flight Team

The US Air Force has released the 2017 airshow schedule for the A-10 Thunderbolt II Heritage Teams – and the A-10 Heritage Flight Team will be coming to Reno this year! The A-10 performs with a P-38.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is the U.S. Air Force’s primary low-altitude close air support aircraft. The A-10 is perhaps best known for its fearsome GAU-8 Avenger 30mm gatling gun mounted on the nose. The GAU-8 is designed to fire armor-piercing depleted uranium and high explosive incendiary rounds.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude and can loiter near battle areas for extended periods of time and operate in low ceiling and visibility conditions. The wide combat radius and short takeoff and landing capability permit operations in and out of locations near front lines. Using night vision goggles, A-10 pilots can conduct their missions during darkness.

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a World War II-era American piston-engined fighter aircraft. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. The P-38 was unusually quiet for a fighter, the exhaust muffled by the turbo-superchargers.

The P-38 was the first American fighter to make extensive use of stainless steel and smooth, flush-riveted butt-jointed aluminum skin panels. It was also the first military airplane to fly faster than 400 mph (640 km/h) in level flight.

Check out more on the team’s website.

AV-8B Harrier

U.S. Marines Photo by Sgt. Tiffany Edwards

The United States Marine Corps has announced that the AV-8B Harrier will conduct flight demonstrations in Reno this year.

The AV-8B Harrier II is the U.S. military’s only short takeoff, vertical landing jet aircraft in current inventory. 22,000 pounds of thrust enable the Harrier II to hover like a helicopter, and then blast forward like a jet at near-supersonic speeds. A fixed-wing vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft, the AV-8B’s ability to take off vertically makes it one of the most maneuverable combat aircraft in service. It can zoom out of the range of enemy fire extremely quickly.

The AV-8 is used for multiple missions, which include attacking and destroying surface and air targets, escorting helicopters, engaging in air-to-air defense, providing reconnaissance and applying offensive and defensive support with its arsenal of missiles, bombs and an onboard 25mm cannon.

For more information, visit their website.

U-2* Fly-by pending aircraft availability

The U-2S Dragon Lady is America’s premier high-altitude Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft. Unmatched capability and unparalleled performance have made the U-2S an American icon. The aircraft is based at the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California with operational detachments in major theaters worldwide.

It provides day and night, high-altitude (70,000 feet; 21,336 m), all-weather intelligence gathering. The U-2 has also been used for electronic sensor research, satellite calibration, and communications purposes. The U-2’s flight controls are designed for high-altitude flight; the controls require light control inputs at operational altitude. However, at lower altitudes, the higher air density and lack of a power assisted control system makes the aircraft very difficult to fly. The U-2 is very sensitive to crosswinds, which, together with its tendency to float over the runway, makes the aircraft notoriously difficult to land. As it approaches the runway, the cushion of air provided by the high-lift wings in ground effect is so pronounced that the U-2 will not land unless the wing is fully stalled.

B-1* Fly-by pending aircraft availability

Carrying the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.

The B-1B’s blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry wings and turbofan afterburning engines, combine to provide long range, maneuverability and high speed while enhancing survivability. Forward wing settings are used for takeoff, landings, air refueling and in some high-altitude weapons employment scenarios. Aft wing sweep settings – the main combat configuration — are typically used during high subsonic and supersonic flight, enhancing the B-1B’s maneuverability in the low- and high-altitude regimes. The B-1B’s speed and superior handling characteristics allow it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages. These capabilities, when combined with its substantial payload, excellent radar targeting system, long loiter time and survivability, make the B-1B a key element of any joint/composite strike force.

B-2* Fly-by pending aircraft availability

The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. The B-2 brings massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe through previously impenetrable defenses.

The blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload gives the B-2 important advantages over existing bombers. Many aspects of the low-observability process remain classified; however, the B-2’s composite materials, special coatings and flying-wing design all contribute to its “stealthiness.” Its low-observability provides it greater freedom of action at high altitudes, thus increasing its range and a better field of view for the aircraft’s sensors. Its unrefueled range is approximately 6,000 nautical miles.

Brad Wursten Airshows

We are pleased to announce that Brad Wursten Airshows will be performing in Reno this year as our aerobatics performer. For more information on Brad Wursten and his aerobatic feats, visit his website.

Livfast FMX

We are excited to announce that Livfast FMX will perform at this year’s races. They will perform on the ground between races. For more information about Livfast, visit their website.