Reno Air Races 2011

Reno 2011 was gonna be the first year that I attended the Reno Races and stayed for the entire week. I wanted to experience Reno in full effect. From the arrivals day.. all the way to the following Monday when all the aircraft left on departure day!! I had arrived on Saturday, September 10th late in the day and I drove straight to Stead Field before checking into my hotel. I met up with Phil who had attended the Tail Hook convention on both Friday night and Saturday during the day (watch for his story soon). We both wanted to see what activities were underway in the pits as all the Unlimited class racers were still arriving from parts unknown.

As soon as I hit the ramp area I looked out and saw a P-51 Mustang and a F4U-4 Corsair flying as a pair over the field. They broke..came in to land and then I realized that it was Doug Matthews in his Corsair NX240CF and another pilot flying his P-51 Mustang “The Rebel” which I had never seen before. But something seemed different. Then I learned that Doug has painted his Corsair into Navy markings from the familiar Marine markings it use to wear. It has the new tail code “K”.

The rest of the week would be spent running around the pits as the closer to race day we got, the tighter security got. I was attending as media but credentials weren’t available til Monday Morning. Keeping a good head about me and staying away from spinning props is always a wise thing.

Tuesday would be my chance to show a newbie around at Reno. Todd Allen had driven up on Sunday but laid low. We meet up on Monday to go to our TOP GUN photo call at NAS Fallon but waited til first light on  September 13th, to pick up our Media Credentials and start working the ramp with our Ramp Media vest on!! I have to say…Todd Seemed very happy to experience this first hand.

As luck would have it…I had to depart Reno on Thursday morning heading back to Las Vegas on business. I was booked on an airline to return to Reno that Saturday morning. I was not with my friends on the fateful day. As I heard one person say..”Reno was fun til Friday at 4:15!!” I returned to Reno around Noon on Saturday and met up with Joe and Todd. The Races were Officially cancelled but that didn’t hamper our will. We volunteer every year for the  National Aviation Heritage Invitational ( and we had lots of friends that were still volunteering at the ‘Show and Shine”. They went on with the judging and held the Trophy Presentation and soon the attending aircraft had to leave. Even if the ‘Race’ was canceled we felt like we had a job to do with the NAHI volunteers. Charlie, Connie, Stacie, Ken, Cliff and all the rest of the crew still had a difficult day to get thru. So Joe and I went back to Stead field on Sunday to see what other help we could offer. Nikon Professional Services (NPS) were stuck at the Media Operations Center with a huge locker full of camera gear. We gladly gave them a lift back to their hotels so that they could meet the freight services that was gonna ship all their gear on to the next event. Bill Fortney has been good to us over the years and we just wanted to help out. There is a small tight-knit community at Reno!! Most of us were airplane fanatics well before we ever heard of Air Racing. We were drawn to this Sporting Event by our love of Airplanes and we all feel like we could be family by this attraction. We came together in need and out of wanting to support each other thru this difficult time.


Hopefully The Reno Races will be back next year( with updates) as you can’t keep us away…


Photorecon will see you all in Reno NEXT year!!! *smile*


And now for the pictures!!

Dave Budd

Hi..I'm Dave. Webmaster here at Photorecon. The boss also laughs and says I'm the Chief Photographer. I live in Las Vegas and I cover most of the West Coast events with Joe. I do most of the upkeep of the site.

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