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In this episode of Oddball Pilot Radio, we pick up our conversation with Jim “JD” Dale, who has made a 30-year career of flying, restoring, and maintaining warbirds.

Oddball Pilot Radio

We caught up with JD in a phone conversation after the Reno Air Races. In this second of a two-part episode (here’s part one), we talk JD about:

  • Planes other than warbirds … as in several historical planes … that JD owns
  • Documented proof from John Glenn that he never flew one of JD’s airplanes … what’s that all about?
  • Opening doors: How antique/nostalgic airplanes start conversations that lead to opportunity
  • Why a Cessna 120 often gets preferential treatment over a Lear jet
  • Exactly how many airplanes does someone need to own? And why that many?
  • His experience of buying Canada’s last T-33’s before they were retired
  • Why JD feels that owning airplanes can be a legitimate financial investment
  • How the math works to make money owning an airplane
  • How nostalgic airplanes create networking and job opportunities
  • The story of how barnstorming in a Tigercat can get you in the door at a place like FedEx
  • Air racing: how he got involved in some wild, very well-known race planes
  • The Pond racer, and the cutting-edge technology it brought to air racing
  • His insights about the ingenuity behind some famous race planes at Reno
  • How race planes continuously evolve … like moving a wing 9 inches or bolting 130 pounds to the propeller to fix CG
  • How maintenance rather than pilot skills got him the opportunities to fly so many Warbirds
  • How to get into flying at the races if you don’t have a mega-dollar checkbook … and the metrics/perspective that becomes important when you can’t compete against the mega-buck competitor
  • How his skills make him an aviation financial advisor
  • What makes the Warbird restoration market go round … it’s not always cash
  • How big is JD’s “bank”
  • The benefits in his oddball pilot career … the people you associate with and keepers of history, to start
  • His career path from chief pilot at the Palm Springs Air Museum to Lewis Air Legends
  • His father’s admission about the measures of success
  • JD’s parting advice … how to get where you want in the career you want

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Have some thoughts or a question about this episode? Leave a comment below.


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2 Responses to “A Career in Warbirds: A Conversation with Jim Dale, Part 2”

  1. Ken Maples says:

    Great interview Marty. Always love airplane stories.Especially like the John Glen proof.

    • Marty Blaker says:

      Thanks, Ken. I wish we had more time in the interview because JD has a lot of stories like that. We’ll work on getting him back in another episode. –Marty

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