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Pagosa Springs 130 SARL Air Race

On Sept. 24, your Stevens Field Airport will host the third annual Pagosa Springs Air Race, sponsored by the Pagosa Lodge.

The public is invited, and gates open at 8 a.m.

The (SARL) Sports Air Racing League is a private race league that holds races throughout the U.S. and Canada. Three years ago, the race came to Pagosa, thanks to John and Teresa Huft, and Bill McKown. John was an SARL racer at the time; our airport manager Bill McKown asked John how can we have a race here, and John’s response was “invite them.” So, Bill did.

The Archuleta County Stevens Field Airport has been host for three years now, bringing in many out-of-state pilots and their guests to our community. Like so many of our visitors, some of them are seriously looking into becoming part-time or full-time residents after seeing and experiencing the natural beauty and the warmth of this community and its people.

The normal operating procedure for a SARL race is for the pilots to fly in, race, and fly home. The airport community wanted to show the visiting racers what Pagosa is all about. We encouraged the visiting pilots and their guests to extend their visit. We are one of the few SARL hosts to invite the public to view the race. It’s a great opportunity for members of our community to come out and meet the racers and view the beautiful aircraft, most of which are homebuilt by the pilots themselves.

The SARL race format specifies a timed race, meaning the aircraft race against the clock. The racers are placed in different categories determined by speed and type of aircraft. The fastest class takes off first, to limit the amount of passing on course. This reduces the chance of a conflict between aircraft. Safety is paramount in the coordination and planning of this event, for the flyers as well as the public.

Skies over the following areas will be busy with the race aircraft from 10-11:30 a.m. on Sept. 24: Pagosa Springs, Chama N.M. East Airport, Dulce N.M. (old airport), and Navajo Lake Airport. These are turn points, and we’ll see 20-30 racers pass over as they cover the course. Altitudes will be in excess of 1,000 feet over populated areas.

Please watch for the air race posters in the next two issues of The SUN and The Preview prior to the event. Bring the family, folding chairs and your morning coffee.

Times will be listed on the flyers. To ensure public safety, due to the amount of aircraft activity on the field, we are requesting the public to please leave pets at home.

Admission is free.

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