Reno Air Races and possibly another sport

I have just arrived to Bozeman, MT and am going to be hanging out with the great Sam Kavanagh. Prior to this glorious day I was in Reno, Nevada where I helped and watched the Reno Air Races. How did I help you ask?? My dad is a pilot in the International Formula 1 class. In perspective my dad flies a little mosquito compared to most planes. The plane is a single person craft that goes 230mph at 3900rpm. The plane has a four cylinder engine that is regulated to keep all of the pilots on the same playing field. The planes also have same is for the lift surface of the wings and the pilots have to weigh in at 160 lbs when in the cockpit, some have to add weights. The IF1 class is only one of two classes that start their race on the ground. There are eight planes on the start line in a three-two-three configuration. The pilots are also broken into three racing classes, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, based on qualification times. My dad qualified 8th so that meant that he was going to be in the Gold class and because of lack of participants he got to race in the Bronze and Silver as a fill-in. Running the extra races is awesome for the experience but that meant a lot more work for the crew. The crew gets to clean, polish, and service the plane. My cousin, my dad’s nephew, was there to help and ended up doing a ton of work. There was also Ron and Ted, buddies of my dad’s from Leadville and Buena Vista. I was named crew chief but really didn’t do much other than make sure breakfast was ready to go. I was at the hanger at 6 am every morning and didn’t leave most days until 8 or 9 at night. Most of the days were 8 am starts but most of the days were multiple starts with my dad racing in different divisions. That was tough considering you have to drive the plane to the run way, going only 10 mph with it towed out the back of my car. The other tough bit was going to get my dad after he had landed taking the plane to get re-fueled and then driving back out to the line for the second race. On the double race days we weren’t getting back to the hanger until lunch time and that was very long time sitting in my car going nowhere. On the other hand I had front row viewing spot every time he flew. We were positioned along the taxi way with no obstructions to the race area. My dad did very well considering the rag a muffin crew. On the final day the wind was brutal on the course. The officials even decided to start on a different run way to help everybody out, which in the end might have hindered more than anything. The winds were a quarter tail-winds which meant the winds were not coming in from the front and the engine was not getting the oxygen that it needed to run at full power. My dad felt this until he was up in the air while others had a bit of a harder time. Invictus, piloted by Phillip Goforth, ended up taking off in the sage brush, damaging his propeller, wheel pan, and tail. Phillip managed to take off and get going but immediately turned around and landed realizing his propeller was no good. Miss USA, piloted by Gary Davis, didn’t even make it off the ground. He started to take off and a wind gust basically pushed him over. He was able to cut his engine to minimize damage but stopped on the nose of the plane. The good news was that everybody was okay. I had a ton of fun and I am definitely interested in flying. Every pilot there asked me when I was going to start racing. I gave them three years and I will be there. If I started racing planes I when have so much fun. I would have to get my private license and go to pylon racing school in Reno. My dad is already planning everything out. Career change, or should I say another adventure where I still wouldn’t have a real job.

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