Reno Air Races to Have Festival Atmosphere This Year - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reno Air Races to Have Festival Atmosphere This Year

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The Reno Air Racing Association is making its final preparations for the 2014 National Championship Air Races. On Thursday, officials took the time to tell us what's new this year.

This year's event is set to be like a festival.

They're still ironing out the final plan, but it's in an effort to be more family-friendly. "We're going to include some music after the last racers are down every day. We're not sure whether they're going to be live bands or recorded music or dj's, but we'll have something out here," says Mike Major, Reno Air Racing Association.

A finalized entertainment schedule is set to be released next week.

The event has an estimated $80 million economic impact to our area as thousands of people check it out each year.

And the fans will be treated to something innovative. Just days after the Federal Aviation Administration gave the Silver State the green light to test unmanned aerial vehicles, officials here announced there will be a competition involving drones produced by different manufacturers. There'll also be one flying over the Formula course with a camera to capture all the action from the air for the fans watching on the jumbotron.

Competitors have been participating in pylon racing seminars to make sure they are as safe as possible for this year's races.

"We've got to have pilots that are comfortable, pilots that are competent. That's why we have the school and we emphasize every day in the briefings that we have and we do brief each class each day," says Major.

The Reno Air Racing Association also announced some of the pilots who will be participating in the 51st annual event. The main attraction is a matchup in the Unlimited Class, which features the five-time champion Steve Hinton who's piloting the P-51 Mustang "Voodoo". He's going up against his old boss and seven-time champion, Bill "Tiger" Destefani, who's coming out of retirement to fly "Strega," the same plane Hinton flew just a few years ago.

"I'm going to have some competition with people who are as equally as hungry to win, versus someone else who may not want to win as bad," Hinton said. "So, in Tiger, I know I have an opponent who's worthy."

"(Hinton) needs some good competition," Destefani said. "He's good, there's no doubt about it... But, I'm a little better."

This year's National Championship Air Races starts September 10 at Reno-Stead Airport.

Written by Adam Varahachaikol

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