Check-in: 2015 Reno Air Races

Published on January 27, 2016 by in Podcast

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Even though it’s been a few months since the winner crossed the finish line at the  2015 Reno Championship Air Races, we’re still talking about them. Bryan and Marty both have stories from several years at the air races, so instead of keeping it all to ourselves, we decided to offer up the conversation in this episode of Oddball Pilot Radio.

Oddball Pilot Radio

In this episode Bryan and Marty talk about:

  • How the plans for Oddball Pilot to cover the races changed unexpectedly
  • A little history about the National Championship Air Races
  • The six classes of aircraft racing, from biplanes to the Unlimiteds
  • Why the Sport class is unlike the other classes
  • The uniqueness of Formula One racing: tiny airplanes built around the pilot (hear professional air race pilot Thom Richard talk about this in a previous episode)
  • What Marty learned from listening closely to the sounds of the air races
  • What else happens at the air races besides planes going fast around the pylons
  • Past performers, namely Art Scholl flying a Super Chipmunk, and some of the wild maneuvers he flew
  • What Bryan learned from Art when they met in Seattle
  • What to expect from the weather during the races (hint: well, anything)
  • Some reflection on what’s changed about the event since the 1980’s and what the the Reno Air Race Association (RARA) has done to make the races better for spectators
  • Why visiting the pit area is a fascinating experience by itself
  • How visiting the pits gets you up close and personal with the planes and the pilots
  • Why visiting the biplane and Formula One pit area is more “down home” and casual than the other classes
  • A story of a first-time racer at Reno this year
  • Bryan’s experience mingling with the pilots in the jet pit area
  • How networking in the pits can expose possible job prospects (as Jim Dale said, being in the right place can make all the difference)
  • An example of how simple it is to network with pilots at the air races
  • How the races start at Reno … some from the ground, some from inflight. In fact, listen to the sounds of a race starting
  • Bob Hoover’s contribution to air racing, performing at the races, and test piloting WWII aircraft … not to mention what a swell guy he really is
  • Sounds of the T-6’s, Unlimiteds, and other classes racing and why each sounds so distinctive … and we included what they sound like
  • What makes the Sport class so accessible for someone wanting to start racing
  • How strategy and execution (in the plane and pilot flying) plays into winning the next race … and year over year
  • Why Sunday is the BIG and most exciting day to watch planes fly at nearly 500 MPH
  • How much faster the planes are around the course since 1964 … a huge difference
  • The safety precautions RARA has implemented since the tragic crash in 2011
  • The prerequisite training for pilots in order to qualify to race
  • The National Aviation Heritage Invitational, and the unique plane that won in three different categories …  and the incredible history of that airplane

In addition to using the player above to listen to this episode, you can:

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

Eye Candy

Here are a few videos and images to help round-out the stories and sounds from the 2015 Reno Championship Air Races.

For a look at what the last race on Sunday looks and sounds like:


Mr Bob Hoover himself giving Oddball Pilot the nod while talking to folks at the 2015 Reno Air Races:


The Formula One pit area:


The Heritage flight, a P-51 with an F-16 on its wing:


The Unlimiteds:


All photos © Oddball Pilot LLC

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