National Championship Air Races are scheduled for September 15–19, 2021
RENO, Nev. (April 23, 2021) – The STIHL National Championship Air Races are returning with an airshow lineup sure to impress. To complement the excitement of head-to-head air racing the Reno Air Racing Association has announced this year’s performers as well as the return of their title sponsor, STIHL Inc.
“We are excited to see live racing again, and proud to return as the title sponsor,” said Roger Phelps, corporate communications manager of STIHL Inc. “There is no other event like this in the world, and we know that loyal fans and air racing enthusiasts around the world look forward to the return of the fastest motorsport on earth.”
STIHL, the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America*, is known for power, precision and quality of engineering. They have has served as title sponsor since 2016.
The races will return September 15–19 with seven racing classes and a full slate of air show performers. Here’s what to expect:
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds – Sept. 18 & 19
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are an official air demonstration squadron proudly serving our country and providing air shows across the world. The American Airmen have an hour-long demonstration showcasing excellence and celebrating American patriotism. As the jets take to the skies and fly only a few feet from wingtip to wingtip, spectators will get a glimpse of the awesome skills and capabilities that all fighter pilots must possess. Attendees on Friday, Sept. 17 will also be treated to a full 40-minute practice show.
F-22 Raptor Demonstration – Sept. 16-19
The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team performs precision aerial maneuvers at airshows across the world to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world’s premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team is stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Va. Now, the team has 19 total members to include public affairs and aircrew flight equipment technicians.
Tucker’s Air Patrol – Sept. 16-19
Eric Tucker’s aviation performance is a throwback to the glory days of barnstorming. His aircraft was built in 1941 and designed in the late twenties. Eric Tucker has flown in air shows across the world, in aircraft ranging from the J3 Cub to the Columbia 400. He will be performing two distinct acts. The first is an eight-minute Dead Stick Aerobatics Act, where he will intentionally halt the engine from a mile high in the sky, stop the propeller and glide safely to the ground. While soaring through the air to the roar of the crowd he will also perform loops, rolls, spins and hammerheads. The second act is a 15-minute Comedy Act and Car-Top Landing, spectators will have to see to believe.
Jim Peitz Aerosports – Sept. 16-19
Peitz will demonstrate the incredible capabilities of his specialized Bonanza with a wide range of aerobatic maneuvers including loops, point rolls, barrel rolls, snap rolls, Cuban eights, and hammerheads. Peitz has performed in a wide variety of airshow aircraft including eight years in a Christen Eagle, followed by a 14-year run in an Extra 300L, and now the F33C Beechcraft Bonanza for over 10 years. He is the recipient of the most prestigious award in the airshow industry, the International Council of Airshows Sword of Excellence.
Tony Higa Airshows – Sept. 16-19
Tony Higa is no stranger to the Reno Air Races, he’s been competing since 2003. This year he’ll be racing around the pylons as well as giving air race spectators a show of his aerobatic talents. In 2016 Higa made his airshow debut and is credentialed as an aerobatic pilot in a North American T6 Texan, SNJ and Harvard. Born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, Higa’s first trip to the U.S. was to watch the STIHL National Championship Air Races in person. Just four years later he made the move to the U.S. to pursue his dream of racing, becoming an aerobatic airshow pilot and to build his dream airplane which he is now flying today.
National Aviation Heritage Invitational – Sept. 15-19
The premiere vintage aircraft competition, also known as NAHI, will shine up the ramp with some of the finest vintage aircraft in the country vying for the coveted Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy. NAHI, presented by Perform Air International, was established more than two decades ago at the National Championship Air Races by Rolls-Royce, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Applications are due Aug. 15 at HeritageTrophy.com. Participants are encouraged to register early as space is limited.
Tickets are now on sale for the STIHL National Championship Air Races. More information can be found at AirRace.org or on the Reno Air Races Facebook page.
About the National Championship Air Races
The National Championship Air Races are held every September just north of Reno by the Reno Air Racing Association, a 501(c)(3). The event has become an institution for Northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world with seven racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civilian flight demonstrations. Independent economic impact studies show that the event generates as much as $100 million annually for the local economy. For more information on the National Championship Air Races, visit AirRace.org.
*”Number one selling brand” is based on syndicated Irwin Broh Research as well as independent consumer research of 2009-2020 U.S. sales and market share data for the gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment category combined sales to consumers and commercial landscapers.