Saturday, September 1, 2018

2018 Ely Air Races

The Inaugural Ely Air Races were held in June 2018. I didn't want to miss an historic event, so we went. I had never been to air races before, so I didn't know what to expect. And since I wasn't sure that we would like them, I wasn't too keen on paying the $50 family fee and $15 parking fee (which they ended up not charging), so I signed us up as volunteers. The organizers said they needed lots of volunteers, so we were happy to help out.

 We signed up to help pick up trash on Saturday morning from 8 am to 10 am. I figured an early morning shift would be cooler, plus then we'd have the rest of the day to observe. 

When we got there, the tethered hot air balloons were still up in the air. They had started at 5 am the last three mornings. Folks could pay a fee and go up in the hot air balloons.

This is something I still haven't tried and would like to someday.

Hot air balloons do best early in the morning with a big temperature difference and slight winds, so a little after 8 am, it was time to deflate them.

It was interesting watching the process of getting all the air out of a big balloon.

Here are the stickers on the bottom of the basket.

Then the balloon is strapped in place and put away.

Soon after we watched this old Russian (or Chinese) trainer aircraft arrive. (I didn't remember the details, but Desert Boy remembered more than me.)

The National Anthem was sung.

And it was time to look at planes! Desert Boy went for a closer look.

So did Desert Girl.

Then the planes for the first race were towed to the starting line.

And they were off!

I don't know how they decided who was taking off first.

It was fun seeing the different colors of planes.

The planes flew around a circuit, so it was sort of like a race track in the air.

It was a little noisy, but not overwhelming.

It was really fun when a plane chased another one.

 How fast can you go? These races were touted as the highest elevation air races in the world.

The crowd kept increasing on the Saturday morning. There really wasn't much litter to pick up, so we could watch quite a bit of the races. It was about half an hour in between races.

Time to fly again!

The yellow plane is ahead...

...but not for long!

Now the white one is trying to pass! (Sorry, my plane knowledge isn't too extensive, so the colors were my best way of telling them apart.)

 At one point the AirMed plane took a patient to Salt Lake City. That's a fairly frequent occurrence, as Ely has a simple hospital and more complicated cases go to the big city.

A number of booths were set up. I was interested to see that Southern Utah University has a bit aviation program, with both fixed wing (plane) and helicopter programs.

Desert Boy enjoyed asking some questions at this booth.
Overall, we enjoyed our time, and we hope to attend next year. Kudos to everyone who helped put it on, it's not easy to get a new event going. Here's more info on the Ely Air Races, and an article from Air Race 1

1 comment:

David Evans said...

In June I visited the Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras Oregon...It was cool, especially since I got to fly in a 1942 Steerman Biplane, open cockpit!..Almost upside down at times due to my request..
I bet Desert Boy would enjoy that.
Stop by if you are ever up that way, it was fun for me.

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