BZ's Reno Air Show

Photo Gallery

This is my first time to the Reno air race/air show, and I was really looking forward to it! The Reno air race is a very popular and crowded event. Did it as a day trip just for the Saturday show - where the Thunderbirds and the F-22 Raptor demonstration featured as the main event. I was really looking forward to seeing the warbirds in the unlimited class races. But being in the bleachers set me too far away from the race course... Hence, only some mediocre shots of the racers. Once again, goes to show how important positioning is for photography! I'll try to figure a way to get closer next year (being on the inside of the pylons would of course be the dream access!).

Used a Nikon D200 w/ a 70-300mm VR lens, and a D50 w/ a 18-55mm lens. Shot in shutter priority exposure mode (Prop planes between 1/100 and 1/320sec, Jets at 1/1000sec), with continuous autofocus. - Bernard Zee


The Grumman F7F Tigercat was the first twin-engined fighter to enter service with the U.S. Navy.


Even though they were developed in WWII, the Tigercat did not see action until the Korean War.


Tigercats were heavily armed, with four 20mm cannons, and four .50 caliber machine guns. With a maximum speed of 400 knots (460mph), they were pretty fast too!


Quick! What is this, and what plane is it from?


Why, it's the M61 20mm Vulcan, on the F-15 Eagle.


The wonderful thing about getting there early is the lack of crowds. Ahhhh, so nice. This is of course, an A-10. Wonderful photo ops on the static displays since they were not roped off.


Sure, it's a cannon, but what plane?


The F-16 Fighting Falcon, or 'Viper' of course! According to Wiki, the 'Viper' term was coined by pilots after the starfighters in Battlestar Galactica. I didn't know that! I loved that show growing up.


There's only one aircraft that can possibly carry this brute of a gun...


The A-10 Thunderbolt II (more commonly called 'Warthog') strikes fear in the heart of the enemy with the mighty GAU-8 30mm Avenger!


Though the gun is heavily romanticized, most of the damage is done by missiles and GPS guided bombs. This is a AGM-65 Maverick TV guided missile.


I couldn't even find where the gun was on this aircraft. I had to ask!


It's from the F/A-18 Hornet. Yes, I'm being a bit artsy in these shots. No point posting another profile shot that everyone has seen at least 1000 times already!


An F-5 Tiger from the Navy Aggressor Squadron based out of NAS Fallon.


The CH-47 Chinook does most of the heavy lifting in Iraq and Afghanistan.


A Mig-21 on static display. I believe the owner bases it at Reno. Would have been sweet to see it fly.


A KC-10 Extender from Travis AFB was also there.


The Thunderbirds were there for Saturday, but had to leave immediately to prepare for a different show Sunday.


It's always a treat to see a F-22 Raptor. Condensation on the canopy shows that it was a nice cool morning. Heated up quite quickly though.


Portions of the F-18, A-10, and F-15 can be seen along with the Reno Stead control tower.


The first race starts early, at 8am!


The jets were moved with what looked like riding lawnmowers (without the grass cutting bits). They spent quite a bit of effort taping up this jet - I presume to make it go faster by cutting down drag. Didn't seem to make much difference though!


This old fire engine would cart different groups around parade style. Every time they came by, someone in our bleacher section would play a short chord with his trumpet. Quite funny (for some reason)! :-)


This is one small plane! Looks like I could lift it myself! Looks like a hoot to fly.


The jet class was dominated by L-29 and L-39s. This is a L-29 Delfin taking off.


This one a L-39 Albatros.


Both L-29 and L-39 are jet trainer aircraft developed in Czechoslovakia.


Here they are lined up for the start of the race, and the race is on!


OK, 300mm is not enough reach. Boo!


Between races, the Air National Guard plane did some fine aerobatics.


The T-33 Shooting Star acted as chase plane (not sure if that's the right term) for many of the races.


There was a Mustang class of race. All P-51s except for a Hellcat - which was almost lapped.


A C-130 takes off prior to the start of the Mustang race.


It was a beautiful sound to hear so many Merlin engines in the air at the same time!


With such similar planes, the race was fairly tight.


Loved seeing so many P-51s at once. I only wished I could be closer! Next year, next year...


A parting shot of them rounding a pylon.


Then, there was a T-6 class race.


Much more leisurely pace compared to the 'stangs, but sounded just as sweet!








This one did a little 'donut' in front of the crowd. Nice bit of showmanship.


As you can see, there were lots of people there already. The crowds were still arriving though. Outside, there was a huge throng of people mobbing the ticket booths. Yes, this is a very popular event!


Parachute jump during the national anthem.


Followed by a pair of Navy F-16s doing a flyby.


The F-16s are from the Aggressor Squadron out of NAS Fallon.


THe Thunderbirds start the show! Thunderbird pilots 1 through 6 (starting from the right to left) line up in front of their planes.


Engines started, and pre-flight complete.


Thunderbirds are GO!


Tbirds 1 through 4 take off together


Distortion from their engine exhaust in afterburner can be seen here.


Tbird #6 takes off


Followed shortly by #5.


I liked the color and light on this opening flyby of the 4 ship formation.


Clear blue skies mean a HOT day in Reno!


Diamond clover formation.

A bit off on the timing (maybe by 1/10th sec) on the opposing knife edge.


Just liked the way the light sparkled off the bottom of the F-16.


Diamond pass in review.


Nothing out of the ordinary, just very nice lighting for a change (sun was behind the crowd when facing the flightline).


Makes for some very clean images


Ron Ton Roulle - where the 4 ships individually roll.


A nice close up view of #6 as it comes from behind.


Nice to be able to get some mountains in the background


Have to crane the neck to see them sometimes...


Aha! Timed it just right...with a bit of luck!


Here comes the sneak pass...

I was able to continuously track her (#5), but I had too much zoom (for once), and ended up cropping pieces of the plane! Still, I was quite happy with the results.


I just Love that high speed Sneak pass! It's a thing of power and beauty - loud too!


High Alpha pass


Part of the High/Low pass


Line Break Loop


A bit of a tricky shot to get, timing wise.


Looks like he threaded through the other planes - but he was in reality a bit behind them.


Save for the light, looks just like my other Delta Loop shots!




High Bomb burst.


Did a 6 ship flyby to end the show. Not the normal Thunderbird closing act.


The Breitling plane did a short aerobatic routine.


Back to some more racing.


In this class, the Mustangs seem to be slower than the Sea Furies


The TigerCat was racing in this class.


Along with a Corsair


The TigerCat sure was fun to watch


He was trying hard - flying low to the ground, but could not catch up with the fastest planes in that heat.


The Sea Furies were well represented there.


Only saw one Corsair that day. Painted in a striking red scheme.


A different angle on the Tigercat


Another T-6 race


Very nostalgic sounds there.


The Raptor warming up for showtime! With that green reflection off the HUD, it looks alive!


The F-22 has been making the air show circuit rounds, but it's still a fairly rare sight.


Stealth, supercruise, and thrust vectoring. Not another plane that can touch it in air to air combat.


Lots of interesting lines on the plane.


A P-38 takes to the air to do a legacy flight with the F-22 (later).


The Raptor stays low to the ground even after the landing gear has come up.


It jets down the length of the runway, to pull up sharply at the end for the takeoff.


Here it passes by the other parked Raptor. It was nice that they brought a spare...


I think the afterburners were on most of the time!


The air was pretty hot and dry by this time, so no vapor action. As a consolation, the sky was a nice clear blue!


Showing off the weapons bay. Missiles and bombs need to be carried internally to retain the stealth characteristics of the aircraft.


Here, the doors are closing.


Afterburners on again!


A beautiful photo pass on full afterburner.


It's an awesome plane!


The still shot does not do the high speed pass justice...


It screams by so fast, followed by the thunderous sound of the twin Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 engines in afterburner. Just an amazing experience.


Unlike the sneak pass of the Thunderbird, at least the audience knows this one is coming!


It rolled, swooped, looped, tail-slid, and basically did all sorts of outrageous things!


The F-22 then teamed up with a P-51 and P-38 for the legacy flight.


Here's the 3 of them passing from behind the audience.


Then breaking formation.


One last pass by the mighty F-22 Raptor!


The P-38 Glacial Girl was there just for the legacy flight. It did not race.


Back safely on the ground, the pilot shuts it down for the day.


Not quite the end of the day, the unlimited class racers were up.


The highly modified P-51 Strega did quite well.


The race did seem to be dominated by Sea Furies though.

It being a day trip, with a 4 hour drive back home ahead of us, we beat a hasty exit to the parking lot in hopes of avoiding the messy traffic jam that was sure to come. It was a great show, but I would probably give myself more time the next go around. Thanks for looking!



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