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Air Racing Association announces race performers for September event


After teetering on the edge of financial viability for its 2021 event, the Reno Air Racing Association announced in January that it had raised enough money to commit to the 2021 National Championship Air Races. This week, it announced the lineup of performers and the return of its title sponsor, STIHL Inc.

Confirmed performers are:

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds – Sept. 18 & 19

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are an official air demonstration squadron proudly serving our country and providing air shows across the world. The American Airmen have an hour-long demonstration showcasing excellence and celebrating American patriotism. As the jets take to the skies and fly only a few feet from wingtip to wingtip, spectators will get a glimpse of the awesome skills and capabilities that all fighter pilots must possess. Attendees on Friday, Sept. 17 will also be treated to a full 40-minute practice show.

F-22 Raptor Demonstration – Sept. 16-19

The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team performs precision aerial maneuvers at airshows across the world to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world’s premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. The F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team is stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Va. and has 19 total members including public affairs and aircrew flight equipment technicians.

Tucker’s Air Patrol – Sept. 16-19

Eric Tucker’s aviation performance is a throwback to the glory days of barnstorming. His aircraft was built in 1941 and designed in the late twenties. Eric Tucker has flown in air shows across the world, in aircraft ranging from the J3 Cub to the Columbia 400. He will be performing two distinct acts. The first is an eight-minute Dead Stick Aerobatics Act, where he will intentionally halt the engine from a mile high in the sky, stop the propeller and glide safely to the ground. While soaring through the air to the roar of the crowd he will also perform loops, rolls, spins and hammerheads. The second act is a 15-minute Comedy Act and Car-Top Landing, spectators will have to see to believe.

Jim Peitz Aerosports – Sept. 16-19

Peitz will demonstrate the incredible capabilities of his specialized Bonanza with a wide range of aerobatic maneuvers including loops, point rolls, barrel rolls, snap rolls, Cuban eights, and hammerheads. Peitz has performed in a wide variety of airshow aircraft including eight years in a Christen Eagle, followed by a 14-year run in an Extra 300L, and now the F33C Beechcraft Bonanza for over 10 years. He is the recipient of the most prestigious award in the airshow industry, the International Council of Airshows Sword of Excellence.

Tony Higa Airshows – Sept. 16-19

Tony Higa is no stranger to the Reno Air Races; he’s been competing since 2003. This year he’ll be racing around the pylons as well as giving air race spectators a show of his aerobatic talents. In 2016 Higa made his airshow debut and is credentialed as an aerobatic pilot in a North American T6 Texan, SNJ and Harvard. Born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, Higa’s first trip to the U.S. was to watch the STIHL National Championship Air Races in person. Just four years later he made the move to the U.S. to pursue his dream of racing, becoming an aerobatic airshow pilot and to build his dream airplane which he is now flying today.

National Aviation Heritage Invitational – Sept. 15-19

The premiere vintage aircraft competition, also known as NAHI, will shine up the ramp with some of the finest vintage aircraft in the country vying for the coveted Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy. NAHI, presented by Perform Air International, was established more than two decades ago at the National Championship Air Races by Rolls-Royce, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Applications are due Aug. 15 at HeritageTrophy.com. Participants are encouraged to register early as space is limited.

The National Championship Air Races are Sept. 15–19 and tickets are already on sale. More information can be found at AirRace.org or on the Reno Air Races Facebook page.

Source: Reno Air Racing Association

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