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McDonnell Douglas MD-87 (N295EA)


The pilots of Erickson's MD-87 Air Tanker (N295EA) have no choice but to sit in the cockpit and wait to depart Reno Stead Airport because RTS is closed to all but air race aircraft in this click taken during the 2019 National Championship Air Races last month.
Had an emergency situation been declared somewhere in the western United States that had required the immediate dispatch of Tanker 105, the qualification races being conducted would have been suspended long enough for N295EA and the three other Air Tankers sitting at RTS to depart. But with no such declaration, four air tankers waited until racing action ended for the day. This tanker, along with the other three, was gone within ten minutes after RTS was reopened at 4:50 PM.


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Gary SchenauerPhoto Uploader
The crew aboard Tanker 105 was rather anxious to leave. Crewpersons from the other three tankers had positioned themselves just outside their respective tankers to watch the races while awaiting the reopening of the airport, but no one in Tanker 105 ever emerged. I observed both pilots sitting in the cockpit as they are doing here throughout the afternoon. When the last race of the day was completed, this Erickson bird had completed the engine start before the racers had even circled and landed. But so had the other three tankers. All four taxied out, queued up, and took off as soon as the last landing racer cleared the active.
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