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National Championship Air Races Move to Roswell

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When one thinks of Roswell, New Mexico, the visions that generally come to mind are those of UFOs and aliens. However, in 2025, those objects in the sky will be easily identified as jets and piston-powered fixed-wing racers of all types as they compete in the highly prestigious and revered National Championship Air Races, well known as the fastest motorsport in the world.

The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) opted for a venue change from Reno to Roswell after a lengthy selection process. Fred Telling, CEO and chairman of the board for the RARA said, “We’re thrilled to bring our honored tradition of racing to Roswell and are confident that they have both the enthusiasm and resources to expand the future of our races for many generations to come.” 

You will witness not just fast planes in the air but static displays and military demonstrations, which in the past have included several Air Force tactical demonstrations and various military aircraft in many stages of flight.  

According to RARA, a fresh racecourse design and thrilling new features that fully exploit the unique Roswell location are in the pipeline. The Roswell Air Center Airport (KROW) is the new home for the air races, offering a plethora of options and experiences for attendees to savor. These include a trip to the Walker Aviation Museum, a testament to the area’s military history, and short jaunts to Mescalero Sand Dunes and the Spring River Park & Zoo, a haven for a diverse range of animals that will eagerly welcome aviators and spectators from across the globe.

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Over 1,000 volunteers are hosting this event. It takes a concerted effort to put on the races with over 100 pilots and airplanes taking part, including seven classes of aircraft divided by design, performance, flight characteristics, and speed. Spectators will watch them race over an ovoid course with seven to 10 pylons throughout, with some airplane classes reaching speeds of more than 500 mph. This is not your daddy’s J3 Cub.

60 years ago, the National Championship Air Races flew into the aviation scene when Bill Stead organized an air race near Reno. The tradition continues next year with an event that, over the past 10 years, has attracted more than 1 million spectators and generated more than $750 million for the region’s economy.

This is truly an international affair that will now blend the Roswell desert landscape with the mystique out of this world reputation that is purely Roswell and alien to no one. Whether you are part of the crew or a spectator who wants to see firsthand the pure adrenaline and excitement of the world’s fastest motorsport, your ticket to the National Championship Air Races awaits you. 

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