The Final Flag – Plane & Pilot Magazine | Aviation

Reno, Nevada, has been home to the world’s fastest motorsport since 1964. Each September, it becomes the one place on the globe where all types of aircraft compete in a daring test of airplane and pilot, racing for gold in the desert. But, 2023 marked the last time.

The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority decided that the races could not continue at the Reno-Stead Airport (KRTS), owing to regional growth planned in the surrounding area. Being its last year, the 59th Reno Air Races saw a massive boost in attendance from both pilots and spectators. The week was full of memorable moments, leaving racers and observers hopeful and excited that the National Championship Air Races will continue for years to come.

I have attended the event for the better part of 20 years, always as a spectator. But this year I was able to achieve a lifelong dream and be part of a crew. Thanks to pilot Lee Oman and his wife and crew chief, Marion Wagner, I joined T-6 Race 69 Eros. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to Reno and let me realize a goal decades in the making.

Oman and crew chief Marion Wagner [image courtesy Maria Morrison]

Fly Low, Fly Fast, Turn Left: A History of Reno

In nearly 60 years, the races may have seen it all. Asking any of the old-timers will yield endless stories. In my 23 years, I have attended 18 Renos, with the exception of 2001, 2020, and three years missed in…


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