From the time my child was an infant, he was fascinated by airplanes. Before he could walk or talk, my husband and I would take him for a daily stroll around Tempe Town Lake in Arizona. We chose this man-made lake for our daily walks because it was close to our apartment and close to the ASU campus where we took classes. What we didn’t realize was that the lake happened to be in the flight path of airplanes flying in and out of Phoenix International Airport.
We didn’t know it then, but we were giving our baby a life long love for aviation. As he looked up at every tiny figure flying above him, we would yell “hi airplane!” and wave our arms excitedly as we attempted to invoke a reaction, hoping he would imitate our flailing arms. And when he became a toddler, we noticed that he caught on to our excitement. Whenever he saw an airplane in real life or on TV, he’d wave and yell, “hi airplane!” And as years went on, the enthusiasm grew.
Today, our sweet little boy is nine years old and the enthusiasm.. or should I say obsession… for airplanes is apparent. He builds airplanes from scratch with his Legos, he has every type of aircraft memorized, and the only video games he plays are airplane simulators. He prefers plane trips over birthday and Christmas presents, and embarks on several flights every year. Even when we get into our car, I am “Captain Mom” and the entire car ride consists of takeoffs, landings and asking what our cruising altitude is.
As Riley gets older, we have put him in charge of choosing our travel destinations and thankfully, he continues to choose places that contribute to his growth and learning. Earlier this year, he was thrilled to visit Florida and walk around the Kennedy Space Center and later in the year, he begged us to see the Reno Air Races.
And of course, we agreed. Every aviation enthusiast would probably be there and we didn’t want our little guy to miss out on this event.
The Reno Air Races are a STIHL National Championship event that has been held in the Reno desert for over 53 years. In addition to actual airplane races, there is so much to do and see while attending. Riley had a blast admiring and even going into several types of airplanes from small bush planes to giant military planes. But the highlight for me was the amazing show from the Thunderbirds of the US Air Force.
Overall, it was a super fun event for us and it was a definite highlight for our little aviation geek. Check out their website for more information, and if you know anyone who loves airplanes, the event is scheduled for September 16-20 in 2020.
For more pictures and videos, check out my story highlights on Instagram @thevaliantlife.