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Legendary combat aircraft and military demonstration teams prepare to awe crowds at 2011 National Championship Air Races



In less than a week, the skies of northern Nevada will be filled with the familiar sounds of thundering engines and cheering crowds as the National Championship Air Races gets underway at the Reno Stead Airfield. In addition to the elite race pilots that travel from around the world to compete in the world’s fastest motorsport, military demonstration teams and daring performers take to the skies to awe thousands of aviation aficionados and curious spectators. This year, in addition to heart stopping aerobatics by Jim Peitz, David Martin and Eddie Andreini, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will grace the 48th annual event alongside the L-39 Patriot Jet Team, Navy Leap Frog Team and the incredible strike fighter, the F/A-18E Super Hornet.

“With just a week left until our 2011 event takes flight, we are preparing for an amazing lineup of entertainment that our more than 200,000 fans will truly enjoy,” said Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association. “Each year we work to bring in some of the most talented aerobatic performers and this year is no different.”

With 22,000 pounds (98 Knots) of thrust per engine, The F/A-18E Super Hornet rip-roars through the air, creating a rumble through the ground and a fan experience like no other. This powerful aircraft, which was put into use by the United States Navy in 2002, has unlimited angles of attack and seemingly carefree flying qualities allowing for highly effective combat capabilities that are still used today.

A crowd favorite and legendary military team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, will perform on Thursday, Sept. 15 and make a very special performance on Friday, Sept. 16. Millions have witnessed their astounding aerial maneuvers and can attest to the precision and skill seen as they move swiftly through the skies. This year’s team of 12 officers, flying F-16C fighter jets, represents some of the most elite military pilots in the world. As ambassadors of the U.S. Air Force, the Thunderbirds take pride in their performances by showcasing their integrity and dedication to excellence.

An eight-year run of fast-paced formation flying has made the L-39 Patriot Team one of the most sought-after performance teams in the country. Known for their unique maneuvers and their signature, “Tail Side,” that involves the aircraft sliding backwards toward the ground, this jet demonstration team has no boundaries and is sure to amaze the thousands in attendance at this year’s Races.

The event will also feature the Navy Leap Frog Team which, with 14 jumpers leaping out of an aircraft at altitudes of 12,000 feet at speeds of up to 180 mph, performs an amazing array of in-air formations and stunts. Additionally, the Shockwave Jet Truck will dazzles the audience as it races past its in-air opponent at over 300 miles per hour.

Adding to the tremendous lineup of aerobatic performances and entertainment will be Stearman Superbatics extraordinaire, Eddie Andreini; World Aerobatic champion, David Martin; and aviation enthusiast and pilot of the Beechcraft F33C Bonanza, Jim Peitz.

“We are excited for race fans and aviation enthusiasts to come out and enjoy our event this year,” said Houghton. “This event is truly unlike any other and we are proud to put on such an incredible event year-after-year.”

The 48th Annual National Championship Air Races and Air Show in Reno is the premier air racing event in the world. The air races will be held September 14-18, 2011 at the Reno Stead Airfield and will feature the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. For tickets or more information please visit www.airrace.org or call (775) 972-6663.

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