RARA Announces Air Races To Leave Reno


The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced today that the 2023 National Championship Air Races (NCAR) will be the last time the air races will be hosted in Reno. RARA explained, “While we knew this day might eventually come, we had hoped it wouldn’t come so soon. Citing the region’s significant growth amongst other concerns, the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority has made the decision to sunset the event.”

RARA goes on to say, “However, we are committed to finding a new location so that the event can continue. In fact, we are currently exploring several other possible locations to host the event in the future but it starts with making this year’s event the biggest and most successful it can be. In essence, the future of the National Championship Air Races starts now. And, we need your help.”

People come from all over to enjoy the event. For many, the city of Reno is synonymous with air racingmyself included. Finding a new venue will, undoubtedly, be a challenge. The races need good weather for the selected season (September keeps it out of the main consumer airshow noise) as well as sufficient open space around the airport for the course and ground support (hotels, regional airline-supported airports, restaurants) for the crews and spectators. RARA has not said what those “other possible locations” are but I’d expect to hear a lot more over the summer.

“As we take off for one last time in Reno, we are inviting the community and race fans from all over the world to join us in sending the Reno Air Races off in style,” RARA said in a statement. “Consider it a celebration of six decades of thrills, history, pageantry, camaraderie and family.”

The last NCAR in Reno will take place from September 13-17.

This article originally appeared KITPLANES. For more great content like this, subscribe to KITPLANES!

Ariana Rayment
Ariana Rayment is an instrument-rated private pilot from Tacoma, Washington. She discovered her love of flying through her former purchasing role at Glasair Aviation. She loves the Reno Air Races, where she stands alongside Jeff LaVelle as his crew chief and pals around with her friends in Sport Class.


    • I attended the Mojave air races decades ago. Thought it would be a great alternative to Reno. I even got a chance to fly around the circuit as a passenger in a Cardinal RG. Thanks, Randy.

  1. Burns Flat, Oklahoma!

    Officially, KCSM, Clinton/Sherman Airport.

    13,500×200’ of beautiful ex-USAF concrete!

    Lots of semi-used structures.

    Not too many people around to irritate with all the airplane noise.

    What could be batter than that?

  2. Bend OR. High desert tourist destination etc. could be interesting. I’ve visited Bend quite a bit. Not sure about the airport near there but…

  3. The problem with KCSM is too much farmland around the airport. They’re going to want nothing around incase of an accident. With that in mind, someplace like Kingman, AZ would be much better suited. Nothing near the airport but open desert. And not much transient or local traffic to have to deal with. It’s proximity to Las Vegas could be another draw.

  4. West Wendover, Nevada/ Wendover, Utah.
    10002’ main runway. 8000’ Xwind runway. Hangers, buildings, spectator area.
    Big flat dry lake to race around.

  5. The last two years, at least, some events have been delayed or canceled because of wildfire smoke. It’s a significant deterrent to people who want to go but have to travel thousands of miles. Somewhere less likely to be immediately downwind of California or other intense western fires would be good.

  6. Wendover UT is a natural for a multitude of reasons. Home of Bonneville Speed week and other land speed racing meets, more space than pretty much anywhere and you’d be welcomed with open arms. Pretty sure RARA would be looking at that already.

  7. As much as I would love the air races to come to my home state and as awesome as KCSM is (13,500’×150′ of concrete) I have to say I don’t think KCSM would work very well. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere and the restaurant and hotel options are very limited until you get to OKC 1 hour 40 min away. I would definitely go as well as most pilots I know but the attendance would be sparse otherwise. I really wish it was otherwise because I would love to have it that close.

  8. A couple of nice things about Wendover: 1. Lots of hotels and casinos in West Wendover (NV), most of which are reasonably priced. 2. There is an interesting historical component: Wendover UT airport was where the crews of the 509th Squadron trained to drop the atomic bombs on Japan in WWII. The hangars, etc. are still there. 3. Downside: It’s a bit of a drive from either Reno or Salt Lake City. Not too long, (SLC-2 hrs, RNO-6 hrs) but pretty boring.

  9. With the amount of population migration from CA to NV and especially in north Reno/Sparks, the termination of the races at Stead was a forgone conclusion. Surprised it took so long, but sad none the less.

  10. There’s probably no more United States airports left that can be insured for Air Racing.

    I’m going to suggest: MMML Gral. Rodolfo Sanchez Taboada Airport 5 miles east of Mexicali, Mexico. Lots of dessert space and people can watch the races without entering Mexico if that’s a problem.

  11. Probably need to leave the country like everything connected with piston GA.

    Otherwise, you likely need a civilian airport butting up against federal land and support from a city and state that put work, challenge, and accomplishment over romanticism, jealousy, and collectivism.

    Good luck with that.

  12. “Encroachment” cited as one of the reasons for forthcoming end. Over the past four years I have observed tracts of homes being built right up to the entrances of Stead airport. Mayor says she is sorry to see the event end. Well who allowed the encroachment? The developer funded politicians saying they are sorry. Build homes next to airports or military bases then complain about noise and safety. A few years down the road will be the calls to close the airport because the land is more valuable to build homes or warehouses. Poor zoning and planning and greed. More like CA everyday.

    • It’s all over the world like this , Airplanes oh yeah, when I need it but not in front of my door . The airplane noise complainers must NOT be able to by a airline ticket all over the world , maybe they awake then but to late !!! Next is kids,motorcycle,car,music noise complaints . Shame on them .

  13. That totally sucks. It will never be Reno anywhere else. And If they do move it will be with mad resistance where ever they go, I doubt they will be able to move it. Just very disapointing.

  14. With the encroachment upon Stead and the aging of the Unlimited fleet it was simply a matter of time. Reno will never be again. However, in every sport I know anytime you have two of anything a race eventually breaks out. Perhaps our grandchildren will remember the Great Electric Air Races with nostalgia.

    • Pretty sure they will remember the ol’ Electric Air Races, long after we both are gone.

      Like electric drag racing, maybe even the glorious days of electric catapults on the carriers?! Both things into the future but starting slowly today!