When are the Air Races?
The STIHL National Championship Air Races will run from September 11 – 15, 2019.
Is my donation tax-deductible?
Yes. The Reno Air Racing Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit.
What day do the unlimited class aircraft fly?
All six classes of aircraft race Thursday through Sunday. The smaller and lighter Formula 1 and Biplane Class aircraft are generally scheduled to fly first thing in the morning, beginning at 8 AM. The T-6, Sport, Jet and Unlimited aircraft generally fly beginning around 10 AM.
In between races, there are always aerobatic exhibitions, fly-bys, military, and civil aircraft demonstrations and other performances so that there is never a dull moment at the Air Races.
The exact schedule is usually published on this Web site in late August or early September. Please note that the schedule is always subject to change based on weather, safety, and flight operational factors.
What is the best day to attend?
Every day is an exciting day at the races. With so much to see and do, why not make plans to attend more than one day or better yet all week for the ultimate air racing experience? The most highly-attended day is Sunday, the day of the final races, including the Unlimited Gold Race that occurs around 4 PM. However, photographers wishing to get the best crowd-free shots of their favorite planes, or others wishing to experience the Races in a less congested environment are better served to attend early in the week when the crowds are smaller.
What is the difference between a general admission ticket and a reserved grandstand ticket?
A general admission ticket allows you to enter Reno Stead Field through the public access gates and gives you access to all of the public areas of the site except:
- The Pits [which require a separate pit pass],
- Reserved Seat Grandstands,
- Box Seats, and
- Special Hospitality Areas [Chairman’s Hospitality Tent, Checkered Flag Club, Corporate Chalets, etc.] – all of which have their own admission criteria].
Your general admission ticket allows you to explore the static aircraft displays, vendor areas behind the grandstands, and the general admission grandstand seating area on a first-come-first-served basis. Should you decide to leave your seat in the general admission grandstands, it may then be occupied by any other general admission ticket holder.
A reserved grandstand ticket or a box seat ticket permits your entry into Reno Stead Field and gives you access to all of the areas open to general admission ticket holders, plus a numbered seat in the reserved grandstands. Your reserved grandstand seat is yours all day long, giving you the option to leave and return to the same seat at any time. Reserved grandstand tickets are highly recommended on the weekends when seating becomes scarce in the general admission grandstands.
You do not need a general admission ticket to purchase a reserved grandstand ticket – both types of tickets give you the same access to the static aircraft display and vendor display areas. All grandstand seating is backless metal benches. You are welcome to use a cushion or stadium chair in the grandstands; however, please note that the total width of your chair must not exceed 15 inches in the reserved grandstands.
Where is the nearest hotel? Do I need to rent a car?
The Reno-Stead Airport, site of the Air Races, is located about 8 miles north of downtown Reno and the closest hotels. Hotels and RV parks often sell out early in the year, so it is best to book your accommodations as soon as possible. To reach the site by automobile, use US-395 N/Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fwy. Renting a car or taking one of the shuttle buses will be necessary to get to the Airport. Parking onsite is limited. The only RV Park with shuttle access to the Air Races is the RV Park at the Grand Sierra Resort.
Can I park my car or RV overnight, or camp at the Races?
Overnight RV/auto parking is available in the West RV or Optimist Lot. Tent camping (no fires) is available in the Optimist Lot. Overnight Auto/RV parking is not allowed in the daily parking lots – any vehicle parked after sundown in the daily lots may be fined and towed at the owner’s expense. Hotels and RV parks often sell out early in the year, so it is best to book your accommodations as soon as possible. The only RV Park with shuttle access to the Air Races is the RV Park at the Grand Sierra Resort.
Can I fly my plane into the Reno-Stead Airport to attend the Races?
Every inch of the Reno-Stead Airport is occupied by participants and vendors during the week of the STIHL National Championship Air Races. All non-participating aircraft should choose Reno-Tahoe Airport, Carson City Airport, Truckee Airport, or other Northern Nevada/California airports as their destination, with surface transportation from your arrival airport to the Reno-Stead Airport. Those landing in Reno-Tahoe Airport can take a short cab ride to the Grand Sierra Resort and catch the shuttle bus from there. If you plan to drive to the Races, use US-395 N/Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fwy from the Reno/Sparks area.
Contact information for Reno-Tahoe International Airport Fixed Base Operators [FBOs]:
Atlantic Air: 775-858-7300
Million Air: 775-825-6400
Is there a shaded area to watch the races?
There is no shaded grandstand or box seating from which you can watch the races. The best relief from the sun is a good hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. The vendor areas have a few shaded tents to provide brief breaks from the sun and enjoy lunch. The Checkered Flag Club and Chairman’s Hospitality Tent also provide seating in the shade for members to use while enjoying a drink or a meal.
What is there for my kids to do?
The STIHL National Championship Air Races is a fun event for the entire family. Kids will enjoy getting up close and personal with the race planes, the Drone Zone where they can fly and learn more about Drones, the aviation center, kids zone, climb into a real military cargo plane, watch the air show performers, and shop for kid-sized merchandise at the vendor booths. Parents, please take into consideration whether your infants and toddlers will be bothered by the loud noise from the planes.
I received a pit ticket in the mail; don’t I need a wrist band?
Yes. You will be mailed a printed ticket for pit access that you must then exchange at the Pit Ticket booth for a wrist band. The wrist band will allow you to come and go from the pits all day long. Daily pit tickets must be exchanged at the pit ticket booth each day. Season pit tickets will be exchanged for a season wristband good for all days.
I had reserved seats last year; can I get more seats next to mine for my friends?
We will do our best to give you additional seats close to your previous seats, or try to re-group you in another section. If you choose to re-group in another section you will lose your next year’s right to your original seats.
I want to treat my company or clients to the best all-inclusive Air Race Experience. What tickets should I get?
The Checkered Flag Club provides the best all-inclusive experience for both individuals and groups. CFC members get parking, admission, food, and merchandise for one low price for the entire week. The next best option for week-long attendance would be combining Box Seating with food from the Chairman’s Hospitality Tent. A box holds up to 15 people, includes reserved parking, pit passes and the option to bring your own cooler of food and drinks. The Chairman’s Hospitality Tent provides a continental breakfast, hot lunch, and an open bar. If you only need tickets for a few days you can combine reserved seats, reserved parking, pit passes and Chairman’s Hospitality Tent for an almost-all inclusive package.
Is there wheelchair-accessible seating available?
Yes. There is an area in front of the General Admission grandstands reserved for a wheelchaired person and one companion. Companions are encouraged to bring a lightweight folding chair to sit on (or purchase one from one of the vendors.) At this time there is no wheelchair-accessible seating in the reserved grandstands. Box seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchairs. A special handicap accessible shuttle runs from the Handicap parking lot to the main ticket gates.
What is the weather like?
Every year is a surprise when it comes to weather. Clear skies and warm days in the 70s are what we plan and hope for, however, it may rain, be windy, get very hot or even snow! Dress in layers and be prepared for weather that can change day to day and even hour to hour.
May I volunteer at the races?
Volunteers are always needed to help with security, parking, merchandise sales, hospitality, logistics and flight line operations. Volunteers are required to work a minimum of 16 hours/two days during the event. You may fill out an application here. Limited opportunities exist for non-profit groups wishing to “volunteer” the services of their members in exchange for some form of compensation. Please contact us well in advance of Race Week for further information.
Do tickets ever sell out?
No. General Admission and pit pass tickets never sell out. There are generally some spots available in the Reserved Seating Grandstand, too — however, for the best seats, it is recommended that you purchase your Reserved Seat tickets as early as possible. Box seats normally sell out very quickly.
Can I buy a single seat in the Box Seating area?
Yes, we offer daily single box seating. Please call our office for more information or you can purchase an entire box of at least 10 seats. Up to 15 seats can be placed in a box for an additional per seat cost.
Do young children have to have a ticket for Reserved Grandstands or Box Seating?
Because of the limited seat space in the reserved grandstands, all children over two years of age must have their own ticket. There are Juniors discounts available in the reserved grandstands. Box seating has more seating space so a lap child of 2 years or younger will not be required to have a ticket. For general admission, children 5 years old and under do not have to have a general admission ticket.
What can I bring in?
Spectators are encouraged to bring sunblock, a hat, and a light jacket as temperatures can vary widely, even depending on the time of day. Umbrellas are not permitted. Outside food and/or water is not allowed to be brought into the venue. Coolers of any size are not permitted unless you are in box seating, in which case you must have a cooler pass.
What about chairs?
General admission and reserved grandstand seating are on bleachers. Folding stadium seats that set on or clip onto the bleachers are allowed and encouraged for those who may not be comfortable on metal bleachers. Please note that the total width of your chair must not exceed 15 inches in the reserved grandstands. Folding chairs are not permitted unless you are accompanying a wheelchair-bound individual who plans to sit in the general admission section. As there is no room for storage of wagons of any size, wagons are not permitted.
I’m coming with a decreased mobility individual. Are there shuttles at the Air Races?
Yes, shuttle service is provided from the handicap parking lot to the main gate.
Can I bring a backpack?
There is a bag check at the ticket gates and all bags, persons, vehicles, etc. are subject to search. For example, camera bags and day packs are OK, but large backpacks and large camera bags are not.
Can I leave and come back in the same day?
Yes, you can leave and return the same day as long as you have your ticket and wristband.
What time do the gates open?
The main gate opens at 7 a.m.
What’s the schedule?
The event planning schedule is available here. Please note all times are subject to change.
Who is flying? What kind of aircraft are they flying?
The list of participants is available here, along with what type of aircraft each pilot is flying.
Will there be live coverage of the Air Races?
There will not be live coverage this year. NBC Sports, however, will be on site to produce several shows that are scheduled to air in late winter/early spring, so keep an eye out.