2018 Race Arrival Information

By August 19, 2018General News


Air Race week at the Reno-Stead airport begins in just about two weeks, Sept 9-16.  We will be celebrating 55 years of air racing in the US and 18 years of Jet Class Air Racing.  We are looking forward to an exciting and fun-filled week with the large group of Jet Racers. The information below will assist you in preparing for the event and please contact any Board Member for any special assistance you might need.

Some important dates to keep in mind:

(NEW) Additional PRS Flying Day:     Saturday, Sept 8th, 1200-1600 2 periods for Jets, Racecourse will be available to all Racers

All Race Aircraft in Place:                      No later than Saturday Sept 8th, 1200

Pilot Registration:                                   Friday Sept 7th, 1300-1700, Sat Sept 8th, 0800-1200 & 1300-1700

Saturday Flying RARA Flight Brief:    Saturday Sept 8th, 1000 Pilot’s Briefing Room

RARA Mandatory Mass In-brief:         Sunday Sept 9th, Time TBD

Jet Class In-brief:                                    Sunday Sept 9th, Time TBD

A current list of jet pilot entries is contained in an attachment.  We anticipate racing in 3 groups (Gold, Silver, & Bronze), with 12 races over 5 days. The jet class purse has yet to be finalized, and information will be available prior to race week.


Stead arrival requirements for aircraft, pilots, and crew have not changed since last year.  All race entered aircraft must be at Stead Airport (KRTS) no later than 1200L Sat, Sept 8th, so plan accordingly, its best to arrive earlier so that mandatory compliance inspections can be completed. There will be a temporary FAA Tower in operation for arrivals beginning Thursday, Sept 7th through Saturday Sept 9th from 8:00AM-1700PM local.

“STEAD TOWER” Primary: 133.3, Secondary 122.7, AWOS 135.17

Please forward your expected arrival date and time to Jeff Turney (igomach1@aol.com) or by calling him @ 775-848-3632.

He will plan to meet your aircraft when you arrive. Enroute don’t push any bad weather or mechanical problems, simply inform any RJI BOD and we will coordinate a late arrival for you with RARA if necessary.

Pilot Check-in

Pilot “check-in” opens on Friday, Sept 7th, 1300-1700 and Saturday, Sept 8th, 0800-1700.  Before you go to pilot check-in, you must have an arrival verification card from the Jet Class, Mike Steiger will issue your card on arrival. No pilot check-in is planned for Sunday. When proceeding to check-in bring a complete copy of your entry package, all pilot licenses and medicals, all aircraft logbooks, proper insurance documents, and your checkbook. FAA and RARA representatives will be there to verify all documents, please show them respect and your cooperation.

Mandatory Mass In-brief

There is a mandatory RARA mass in-brief for all pilots on Sunday morning, Sept 9th, in the Checkered Flag Club hanger.  The Jet Class will have its own welcome in-brief for all race teams in the jet pit after that meeting.  The Jet Class mandates that each race jet have a dedicated crew chief or ground support personnel that is not the primary pilot.  If you need a helper, we have several qualified and experienced mechanics willing to work for you, just ask.

Compliance Inspection

Before any aircraft is allowed to fly on the racecourse it must pass a class compliance inspection.  The compliance inspection is not required for pilot check-in or to attend the mass in-brief.  Steve Picatti (208-850-7033) is the RJI Technical Chairman and jet class compliance inspector.  Steve will be available at Stead starting on Thursday, Sept 6th.  He will have copies of the class compliance inspection form (attached).  The inspections will be very strict IAW all pertinent rules, no exceptions will be granted.  RJI will conduct random engine runs on race aircraft throughout the week to verify engine operations in accordance with manufacturers specifications.

Several areas of concern from previous years are:

  • Helmet with functional microphone
  • Clear understandable transmission and reception on VHF radio
  • CG data for the actual racing configuration within POH limits
  • Cold ejection seats safely pinned or disabled
  • No loose items in any cockpit
  • Race numbers of adequate size and contrast per RARA rules
  • No major leaks of fuel, oil, hydraulics, or water
  • Tires with serviceable life for racing
  • Support Equipment

If your race aircraft has any modification, alteration, augmentation, or change from the stock aircraft configuration it should have been declared to RJI, RARA, and the FAA by now.  Previous year notifications are valid, as long as there was no change since last year’s race.  Notification or declaration of an alteration does not guarantee race approval; further engineering analysis and flight-testing may be required.  A 2013 RARA directive declares:  “RARA and the Reno FSDO must agree the presented material is adequate for race approval.”  The owner or pilot of each aircraft is required to sign a statement attesting to understanding and complying with all appropriate FAA policies and rules.

Practice & Qualifying

Note: there is a RARA requirement for G-tolerance build-up to fly 4 laps at qualifying speed prior to making a qualifying attempt.  The jet class pilot police; Jeff Turney and Mike Steiger will track accomplishment of this requirement through your flight lead. The Sunday afternoon flying period is designated as a practice session, and a good time to accomplish the G-awareness training. Because of lessons learned from previous years, expect a limited number of jets on the racecourse (4-7) as well as in the “Q” and cool-down circuits (6-8 total).  When actual qualifying laps are flown, a maximum of 4 jets will be allowed on the racecourse.

 Race Heats

After the qualifying sessions have closed, the RJI contest committee will split the racers into 3 groups; gold, silver, and bronze based on fastest to slowest posted speed.  The first jet heat is on Wednesday afternoon. Do not ever miss the mandatory morning pilot brief even if you do not anticipate flying that day.  Remember: NO BRIEF, NO FLY, AND NO EXCEPTIONS. Attending the required briefings is a MUST to fly, so please reconfirm brief times and locations with your peers.  The RJI Pace pilot will conduct the race heat briefings for the class, typically one hour prior to engine start time for the race heat.

The Jet Class Contest Committee will designate a SOF for every flying period.  The jet class SOF may be in the control tower or other observation locations for the jet sessions.  The SOF is there for several reasons: safety, equipment expert, and to augment race control’s situational awareness, etc.  Fly smart and you will never hear from the SOF on the VHF radio.

Non-normal Event Policy

These events include, but are not limited to: over-G, engine anomalies, pilot errors, environmental issues, ground emergencies, etc.  Basically anything that occurs that is NOT NORMAL. The RJI BOD is charged to provide competent pilots and aircraft, along with safe operation of the jet races. It is RJI policy that after a non-normal event you must say little or nothing until contact is made with a RJI BOD.  If you do not want to talk to a particular BOD, then find another one ASAP and debrief with them.  This is not a punishment program but a safeguard measure to protect you and the class.  We have seen post-incident interviews and accusations go array.  People involved in an incident are very anxious and rarely thinking clearly enough to properly represent themselves or the situation.  We can provide the best explanation to RARA and the FAA in the interest of the individual and the class.  Usually our corrective actions are endorsed with no further actions required.  If you keep an issue secret or start talking freely, we cannot help you.  This has proven to create stress and hardship for the individual and the class as a whole. If you CANNOT, OR WILL NOT COMPLY with this policy, you must discuss it with the RJI BOD before the races.  The current priorities of the jet class are:  Preservation, Safety, Entertainment, and Fairness.  We cannot accomplish these without your help.

 Ramp & Pits

Minh Venator is the class Ramp Boss, he will organize the pit area and all the crew chiefs.  Please give him your support and cooperation.  Each aircraft will be parked in a 45’ x 50’ stall in the Jet Class pit area at the far East end of the flight line by the fuel island.  For those parking large trailers or RV’s in their pit stall please advise him so that he can best organize our pit area. Minh also conducts mandatory Crew Chief briefings each morning to plan the day’s events. He is your crew chief’s first point of contact for any ramp/pit or flight line issues. Plan to bring the support equipment you’ll need for your aircraft. You may ask to borrow from other teams, but not without direct permission from them. There are a limited amount of power carts, nitrogen, and oxygen available from vendors on the field for a fee. Your team should be self sufficient. Fuel is supplied by Aviation Classics, Ltd., and each race team will need to place a credit card on file with them prior to fuel delivery. A member of your team will need to sign for each fuel delivery to your aircraft.

We encourage all race teams to have a sponsor and team uniforms.  Almost any type of advertising or branding is allowed inside your pit stall.  Run your ideas or plans by a RJI BOD to insure they conform to the unwritten RARA rules.  The class will again shoot give-away T-shirts into the crowd before every heat.  Please bring donation shirts and give them to Ed Noel, Race #5 pit for stockpiling.

 RJI Business

There will be an Open Membership meeting for all RJI members during race week. The President will give a status report of the organization and pertinent issues.  An election will be held to appoint four new Board Members. All prospective candidates should submit their name to any BOD member and be prepared to verbally address the membership before voting begins.  Only current certified full RJI Members will be allowed to vote.  The class Secretary & Treasurer will be on-hand to verify voter eligibility.  Check the RJI By-Laws for more info regarding duties and election procedures.

 Read the new RARA and RJI Rules and Procedures, there are changes.  The Guide pylon is now part of every lap during the race.  You will be penalized for cutting the Guide pylon, even on the start lap.

Without doubt, Safety is priority one, act accordingly.  Speak-up sooner rather than later if something doesn’t seem right.  If the RJI or RARA staff stands you or your aircraft down for safety reasons there is no right to appeal or pursue a legal remedy as it is an invitational race event and you have agreed to abide by the rules to participate. 

We are looking forward to hosting all our jet racers, crews, friends, and fans for the 55th National Championship Air Races here in Reno. If there is anything we can do to assist you, please don’t hesitate to contact us. See you all in September!!


President:                    Jeff Turney                  igomach1@aol.com                775 848 3632

Vice President:            Rick Vandam              rvandam162@aol.com            775 742 5640

Daily Flight Op’s        Mike Steiger                reltney747@gmail.com           281 380 3613

Technical Director:      Steve Picatti                s.picatti@gmail.com               208 850 7053

Ramp Boss:                 Minh Venator              minhjet@comcast.net             408 829 1855

Secretary:                    Vicky Benzing            vickybenzing@gmail.com       408 306 9128


Class Awards Presented this year include trophies for:

“Best Pit Crew” – Voted by Crews, Presented by Minh and Steve

“Best Crew Uniform” – Presented by Minh and Steve

“Volunteer of the Year” – Presented by RJI

“Pilot Rookie of the Year” – Best Rookie – Sponsored by Debbie Giese

“Lee Behel Trophy” Best Sportsman Award – Sponsored by Ladd Gardner Insurance

“Mike Mangold Trophy” Best Competitor Award- Sponsored by Warriors Taphouse

Download the Compliance Inspection Checklist from the button below.

2018 Compliance Inspection Checklist