Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Pylon Racing Seminar – Rookie School – 2018 Edition

Pylon Racing Seminar (PRS) was held in early June.  This year we had over 45 Airplanes, 25 Rookies, 21 Racers and 23 Instructors. PRS is a qualifying and safety seminar for pilots new to the STIHL National Championship Air Races. While some Certified Racers like to come back and hone their skills or test a new configuration.

Thursday was registration and the Welcome Mixer. Friday was mainly classroom sessions – learning the basics to racing operations and the specifics for each class. Saturday brought some horrible winds. Gusts close to 40 mph from morning until dark made the day a washout. But, some fine maneuvering by the Classes and the Air Boss gave everyone a chance to get some time on the course.

By Anthony Taylor, 

Fred Telling, our Chairman and CEO gave this observation:
“PRS is not only an opportunity for new pilots to get a feel for the course and understand safety guidelines, but it’s also a chance for returning pilots to train for September,”“We had a great turn out for PRS this year. We experienced some strong winds on Saturday that impacted our ability to fly, but thanks to meticulous scheduling on Sunday, we were able to get everyone the airtime they needed. Reno-Stead Airport Manager, Mike Scott, and his dedicated staff have done great work with the Runway 8-26 construction project, and we are all looking forward to its completion in September. It was a great few days for the Reno Air Racing Association, and we are greatly anticipating this year’s 55th annual STIHL National Championship Air Races.”

I know what you’re thinking now… WHO WAS THERE!?

Well, as you may have heard by now, Doc Hisey is expected to bring back Miss America for an “Encore Performance” with an Alternate Pilot you may recognize, Alan Preston. The joke of the weekend was… If for any reason Miss America cannot fulfill her duties, the 1st runner up (Alan) shall take over. I guess you had to be there.

JP and Joe Thibodeau both took part in PRS. It looks like father and son will be flying a Sea Fury and a Mustang. How many father/son combos have we seen over the years? Not many! Happy to have the Thibodeau family back at Reno!

Mike Brown made famous for his racing Sea Furys and TigerCat will be back – this time in a golden Mustang called Goldfinger – the old Risky Business in a previous life. I cannot wait to see her in person – the pictures just don’t do her justice!

The final three participants in the Unlimited Class are CAF members hoping to race CAF aircraft. Craig Hutain, a member of the Tora Tora Tora show along with Jason Somes and Steve Barber are all hoping to have something fun to fly for the races this year. Keep your fingers crossed.

CAF Bearcat and Hellcat
by Anthony Taylor,

Volunteer Dinner

I also wanted to do a quick THANK YOU to the volunteers. Over 100 of them came to PRS to help get the new kids settled. With over 1000 Volunteers helping each year, we are dependent on this group to make the races a success. If you are interested in joining the ranks, let me know! Lots of opportunities to work hard!

The Volunteer Dinner is always held the Friday of PRS week. It was well attended again this year. Special Guest Speaker, Roger Phelps from Stihl gave a great talk about his involvement with us. He has become a passionate voice for the Air Races. Thank you, Roger and all of Stihl!

Love the Thunder Mustang
By Anthony Taylor, 

Speaking of Sponsors…

Do you know someone who wants to help Sponsor the 55th annual STIHL National Championship Air Races? We hear all the time that the fans would like more competitors. To get more competitors, we need a bigger purse. To get a bigger purse, we need sponsorship. Let me know if you have someone in mind. I’d love the opportunity to work with new sponsors and can present to them the benefits of working with the Air Races.

Community Involvement

In the last few months I have been doing quite a bit to represent the Air Races at different venues, from local Reno events, to Museum Career Days to Airport Open House Events. We are trying to get the word out that the Reno Air Races are AWESOME, and you should all be buying your tickets now online!

New Sea Fury Baby!

And. a BIG SEA FURY CONGRATS to Owen Ray Swager for picking two amazing parents in Joel and Shannon Sanders Swager! Welcome to the show!