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Old 08-16-2019, 03:20 AM
Sparrowhwk Sparrowhwk is offline
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Prescott Az
Posts: 34
Default Reno - potential first time at the races

I hope this is relevant enough with the Rockets participating at Reno.

I have never been to the Reno Air Races, but it is on the list!
Due to the "unique" way my company assigns days off, I only just found out that I should be off during the Reno races this year (I should be off 10-15 Sept).
Is it too late to organize a trip for this year?
Can anyone help with suggestions about how to "do Reno"?
As I've never been, I'm looking for information about everything: travel suggestions (I'll probably fly out of PHX - it's an 11 hr drive), accommodations, which are the best days to be there etc
Any and all suggestions, recommendations and tips are greatly appreciated.
Also any web references, I'm happy to do research.

Thank you!!!
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:12 AM
rv6ejguy's Avatar
rv6ejguy rv6ejguy is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 5,867

Best days to be there are Saturday and Sunday. If you fly in privately, Carson City is probably the best place to land. Rental cars could be rare and expensive at this point in time though.

Accommodation will be anywhere you can find a room at this time. Most of the bigger casino hotels have shuttle buses to the races Saturday and Sunday.

Best place to eat in Reno is the Peppermill Casino Buffet. Expensive but awesome.

Ross Farnham, Calgary, Alberta
Turbo Subaru EJ22, SDS EFI, Marcotte M-300, IVO, Shorai- RV6A C-GVZX flying from CYBW since 2003- 445.2 hrs. on the Hobbs,
RV10 95% built- Sold 2016

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Old 08-16-2019, 09:39 AM
RV6_flyer's Avatar
RV6_flyer RV6_flyer is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: NC25
Posts: 3,608

Only been to Reno once.

I flew commercial into Reno. Got a room in a Reno Casino that was nice and not very expensive. I rented a car as I was staying one day longer than the races. Was able to get less expensive airfare home that paid for the extra night and rental car and still saved money. Drove to Lake Tahoe on Monday and flew home on Tuesday morning. Parking for the rental car at the races was a big pain.

Get a PIT pass. I was busy the entire time visiting with friends. Only watched the races on Sunday from the bleachers. I was bored watching airplanes fly around the track. A few minutes of race, a lot of time with nothing in front of the crowd, and then repeat.
Gary A. Sobek
NC25 RV-6
3,400+ hours
Where is N157GS
Building RV-8 S/N: 80012

To most people, the sky is the limit.
To those who love aviation, the sky is home.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:27 PM
F1Boss's Avatar
F1Boss F1Boss is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Taylor Texas
Posts: 835
Default Important!

Be sure to get a Pit Pass! I know the guy who will be flying the Sport Medallion and Bronze pace plane - I think he said he had some extra should hook up to see if you can get in. Yes - Saturday and Sunday are the best days, tho if you want to see the nuts and bolts of what goes on, the whole week is a long bath in aviation.

Carson City would be a good target for parking and a rental car. Get those two things set up ASAP.

See ya there!

"Not everyone needs a Rocket. Some folks, however, shouldn't live life without one.
You know who you are."
Budd Davisson, 1997
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:56 PM
airguy's Avatar
airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,312

If you're set on flying commercial, then going into Sacramento instead of Reno will cut the airfare and car rental roughly in half - and it's about 90 minutes drive into Reno from there through some very scenic mountains. I've done that a couple times before I got my own set of wings.
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2021 dues paid
N16GN flying 750 hrs and counting; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:19 PM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,416

We went 4 years ago and had a great time. I reserved a spot and rental car in advance with the FBO at Reno-Tahoe Intl. They close off the smaller runway there and it becomes a parking lot for airplanes. I booked a free room on points in Reno. My photos and writeup are here.
I would agree with the getting of the pit pass. I had signed up for a free spot in an EAA hospitality suite, but you had to have a pit pass to get to it.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 800 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and New Flying Blog
2020 VAF donator
EAA Tech Counselor, Build assistance - canopy/tanks/fiberglass/electrical/repairs
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:22 PM
Sparrowhwk Sparrowhwk is offline
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Prescott Az
Posts: 34
Default Thank you

Thanks for the replies so far.
I have found a hotel 25 mins from Reno Stead for about $130/night - is that a decent deal?
Would I be better off just getting an Uber to and from that hotel to Reno Stead rather than renting a car? That way I don't have to deal with parking or rental car fees?
Flights appear to be around $400 round trip from PHX - I'll check Sacrament, but that might negate the savings of not rental car mentioned above.

I was thinking of avoiding Sunday because of the biggest crowds etc, but it sounds like it might be worth staying for that day?
Possibly going Fri, Sat & Sun as I would like to experience a quieter day to be able to get closer to the nuts & bolts.
It sounds like the Pit-pass is worth it, so I'll bite the bullet and buy that too.

Thank you again, please keep any more suggestions coming!!!
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:08 PM
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airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,312

That hotel rate is pretty good for race weekend.

Sunday is the day of racing with the fastest speeds - that one is for all the marbles and will be the hardest racing. If you can only make one day, make it Sunday.

Pit pass is definitely worth it, just do it.

If you've got a handheld radio you can bring it and listen to race frequency while they are on the course - just PLEASE stay off the transmit button!
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
Garden City, TX VAF 2021 dues paid
N16GN flying 750 hrs and counting; IO360, SDS, WWRV200, Dynon HDX, IFD440
Built an off-plan RV9A with too much fuel and too much HP. Should drop dead any minute now.
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:01 PM
larosta larosta is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Redlands, CA
Posts: 179

Here are some observations from my experiences at Reno:

1) Lodging, many of the race team crews stay downtown in the casino hotels. Why, because they are on low budgets. Just checked and Circus Circus has rooms during race week starting at $20. Eldorado, Silver Legacy, and the Golden Nugget usually have rooms at a good rate.

2) Some folks use the shuttle buses that run from downtown to Stead on a regular basis. Small feet but might be what you are looking for. Most of the casino hotels have a free shuttle from the Reno Intl to their property.

3) There are two ways to experience the "National Championship Air Races". I suggest that you approach it both ways.
a) The air show - Get a ticket, sit in the stands, walk the midway of souvenir stands, food stalls, visit the static displays, have a good time at the airshow.
b) Get a pit pass and start wandering around, several RV's in the Sport Class will be parked outside on the West end of the outdoor pits. You will see several aircraft that are owned by folks that regularly contribute to these forums. Wander the big iron pits before and after the races. You will see what air racing is really about, a couple of years ago I watched a crew from New Zealand changing an engine in a Spitfire that had gone south during qual. They were out in the open with a forklift in a thunderstorm and wrenching like they had a war to win. They one their heat the next day. Go stand by the pit K rail during qualifying, you will be with the crews waiting to recover their aircraft awesome experience. Visit the Formula 1 pits (they are inside a hangar). These guys are small but work just as hard to a fraction of a second as the Unlimiteds. I have never see so many small engines being replaced or having cylinders changed out in one afternoon as these guys do. Think about how you can turn laps over 200 mph in an aircraft powered by a Continental "C" series or 0-200 engine. Stop by the "gentleman" pits of the Biplane guys, usually pretty quiet but I believe they are expecting almost twice the number of participants as they had last year. I do not believe that "Phantom" will be there to turn in 220+ mph laps but worth the visit. Look for the White and Yellow Pitts (Race 31) of Tony Higa, he usually has great salted caramels from one of his sponsors on the table.

4) Keep in mind that you may be experiencing the last opportunity to watch the Unlimited big iron in a race environment. Take it all in from engine start to the y are parked, nothing like the sight and sound.

5) Watch the forums here as race week approaches, you may see one or two after race hangar BBQ invitations show up. If you can take the time to go!

And of course keep an eye out for Sport Class Race 87 if they are there, one of the best RV's on the line <GRIN>!

Only my opinions and observations for what they are worth.

Have a great time!
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Old 08-18-2019, 04:47 PM
Sparrowhwk Sparrowhwk is offline
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Prescott Az
Posts: 34
Default Thank you - still working to make this happen

Thanks again for the responses, it is much appreciated!!!
I'm looking at all the options to make this happen - so hopefully I will be there this year!
Unfortunately I don't have my own wings - yet, so it will have to be a commercial flight in. I'm hoping that will change next year!

I'm now looking to be there Friday - Sunday, based on the recommendations above that I should not miss Sunday.

Some follow up questions:
- How do you get from Sacramento to Reno-Stead in 90 mins??? Looks like 2hr20 - 3 hrs on google maps. Sacramento would be cheaper for flights, but the drive will mean an extra 2 nights in hotels.
- I am not finding cheap rates for those casino hotels on Priceline etc - should I be looking at the Casino websites directly??
- Parking - is the Reserved parking worth the $25/$30 per day. I am guessing parking is a hassle especially on the weekend, so does the reserved parking help??
- I am also considering using the shuttles/Uber, particularly if that will avoid getting a rental car ($140 savings). Is it worth having a car or do you end up not driving around much other than going to the airport and back?

I will be buying a pit pass for Fri-Sun, any tips on getting access to the EAA or other hospitality spots?

Thanks again for the help!
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