Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pylon Racing Seminar preps pilots for Air Races

Kathryn's Report:

RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Even though the Reno Championship Air Races aren't until September, practice starts now. The Pylon Racing Seminars are held every year in June to prepare pilots for the course. They are required to meet a certain standard.

"First and foremost, paramount to flying out here are your formation skills," said Jeff Turney, the vice president of the Jet Class.

The formation is the ability to fly closely alongside another aircraft while still maintaining the same speed. These jets can reach up to 515 mph, and anything could affect the flying conditions.

"Wind has an effect on what goes on out there in the race course, weather, temperature, it can get pretty bumpy out there, so it requires the absolute utmost attention from everybody," said Turney.

The pilots have less than a second to react to any situation that may occur.

A rookie pilot this year is paraplegic, but is completely capable of flying his own aircraft.

"In an airplane, you have pedals and brakes that your legs are operating, so I have to move all of that to a hand control, so there's a lot going on, it's literally a handful," said Justin Meaders, a rookie pilot.

Meaders says he just can't wait to get out on the course with the veteran pilots and go as fast as he can.

"This is literally the world's fastest motor sport, there's nothing faster on the planet, but it's the world's fastest motor sport that has kind of lived in the backyard of Reno, Nevada for many many years," said Turney.

The air races will be September 14-18 this year.

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