The Reno Air Races Expansion is launching this Thursday, November 18th, for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This new DLC from the MSFS team is looking to bring the thrills of the famous air races to the virtual world of Flight Simulator, where you will be able to compete in four classes of the races, with a selection of 40 airplanes.
Leading up to the launch of this exciting new “racing mode”, the MSFS team published a comprehensive overview of all the seven competition classes in the real National Championship Air Races in Reno, and the different airplanes that compete in each class. As we know, only 4 will be featured in the Flight Simulator expansion: Biplane, T-6, Unlimited, and Jet. The other 3 (Formula 1, Sport, and STOL Drag) will be left out… at least for the moment.
The Biplane class, which arguably features the most challenging airplanes to fly, competes in the shortest pylon course in Reno, which is 3.18 miles long. The particular planes that race in this class are most often the Pitts Special, Mong MS1, and Smith Miniplane. The first one was chosen to be modeled by the MSFS team, with 10 different Pitts Specials that include Sam Swift’s “Smokin Hot”.
The T-6 class features the legendary advanced trainer from WWII, the Texan T-6. Many pilots of that era flew the T-6 during their training for the war, and the aircraft is still popular today, often seen in events such as the Reno races or other air shows. The T-6 races on Reno’s 5-mile course, longer than the Biplane class, but shorter than the Unlimited and Jet races. Again, in MSFS you will have the choice to choose between 10 of the different models that compete in the races. One of them is “Big Red”, famously flown by the legendary Jimmy Doolittle.
The Unlimited class is one of the original racing events in Reno. It allows extensive modifications to be made on the airplanes, as long as these two rules are followed: they must be powered by piston engines and driven by propellers. Beyond that, everyone is free to make up their mind. Although some custom airplanes have shown up from time to time, most often are the historical warbirds that take the stage in this unique-sounding competition. After all, the P-51‘s Merlin engines are the most regular participants, and that’s the model that is also coming to the MSFS DLC, the most famous being the “Voodoo” and the “Strega”, who dominated the class between 2008 and 2017.
Finally, for Microsoft Flight Simulator, there’s also the Jet class, where Reno’s speed kings compete in the 6.37-mile pylon course at more than 500 mph. It’s the fastest motorsport in the world! MSFS will get 10 models of the Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros, a Czech-designed military trainer, which was created for MSFS by Mike Johnson, who did a famous version of the same aircraft for FSX.
Reno Air Races will be available tomorrow, and will coincide with the release of Flight Simulator: GOTY Edition, a free update that will add 5 new airplanes, DX12, weather improvements, and other exciting new features.
In turn, the Reno Air Races expansion will be available in two packs. The entry package will include just 4 airplanes, one for each class, and will cost $19.99. To get the full 40-plane collection you will have to shell out $59.99.