Back in 2014 my friend Juvy and I flew from Pennsylvania to Nevada to attend the Reno Air Races, an annual aviation event where various classes of aircraft compete in races around a tight course at the Reno Stead airport. As well as the racing there are numerous air show events and ground displays. The undisputed stars of the show are the Unlimited class, mostly modified WWII fighter aircraft boasting up engines with up to 4,000hp and reaching average speeds around the course that can exceed 500mph. Although most of the world was still fairly restricted due to COVID-19, and Planey was stuck in Australia due to border closures causing a pause in the Round the World flight, the US was still accessible. I therefore decided to rent an aircraft and spend a week flying through the south and west of the country, including a day visiting the air races. The US remains the easiest place in the world to carry out a flying holiday!
The aircraft which I found to rent was a Cessna 172 RG (retractable gear) version, also known as the “Cutlass”. This version of the popular 172 was designed to support commercial training, which until recently was required to use a “complex” aircraft; this is one with retractable undercarriage, a variable pitch propeller, and flaps. The Cutlass meets all these requirements, and is also equipped with 20hp more power than a standard 172 of the same generation. With all these features it almost matches the speed of the 182, while burning significantly less fuel, and is a great option for relaxed cross-country touring.
This particular Cutlass was located in Houston, TX, so this would be the starting point for our adventure. The instructor who checked me out informed me that they had named this particular aircraft “Rambo”. We loaded up our luggage and set off northwest towards the mountains and the high country of the American West.
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- Coming soon