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High-tech F-22 Raptor and top female aerobatic pilot headline 2014 National Championship Air Races entertainment lineup
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Frequently Asked Questions

You asked. We answered. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions. Still can't find what you're looking for? Contact us.

1. When are the air races?
The 50th Annual National Championship Air Races will run from September 11 through 15, 2013. Aircraft qualification periods are scheduled for September 10 and 11, 2012. Future events are set for September 10-14, 2014 and September 16-20, 2015.

2. What day do the unlimited class aircraft fly?
All six classes of aircraft race every day from Wednesday 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. View this year's schedule.

3. 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 attending early in the week when the crowds are smaller.

4. 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:

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, Heritage Trophy, 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.

5. Where are the nearest hotels? 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. To reach the site by automobile, use Route 395. Renting a car or taking one of the shuttle buses will be necessary to get to the Airport. Parking onsite is limited. 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.

6. 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 owners expense.

7. 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 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 Route 395 North 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

8. 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, lots of sun block, 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.

9. What is there for my kids to do?
The National Championship Air Races is a fun event for the entire family. Kids will enjoy getting up close and personal with the race planes, 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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 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.

13. Is there wheelchair-accessible seating available?
Yes. There is an area in front of the General Admission grandstands reserved for a wheel chaired person and one companion. Companions are encouraged to bring a light weight 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.

14. 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.

15. 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. Please contact the RARA office to receive an application. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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 no discounts for children 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.

19. Can I get married at the Air Races?
We can coordinate your wedding or special event at the Air Races. Please contact our office for further information on options and pricing.

20. Is there a separate parking lot for motorcycles?
No - all motor vehicles share the same parking lots.