FOR GENERAL AVIATION NEWS By KT BUDDE-JONES
Thom Richard, co-founder of Warbird Adventures and the Kissimmee Air Museum, has returned to central Florida after winning both the Gold and Silver Formula One races at the Reno National Championship Air Race last week.
Richard’s plane “Miss USA” won the Silver Formula Race, while Tim Neubert’s plane “Invictus,” which Richards flew, won the Gold Formula One race. Both planes will be on display at the Kissimmee Air Museum.
The National Championship Reno Air Races feature multi-lap, multi-aircraft races between high-performance aircraft on closed courses, which range between about 3 to 8 miles per lap. There are six classes that planes of different sizes and horsepower compete in. The Formula Class that Richard dominated is much like Formula One auto racing that demands that all planes confirm to certain specifications, relying on the pilot’s skill and experience to give an edge over the competition.
About 150,000 spectators turned out over the four-day period for the races, enjoying not only the close track racing but also exhibitions of aerobatics, stunt flying, and skydiving, as well as flyovers and demonstrations by military teams.
Each September for the past four decades, pilots and planes have made a pilgrimage to Reno to see the best and the fastest fly. Richard flew his first Reno race last year and has surprised himself by his success in the Formula One Category. The ultimate goal at Reno is competing in the Unlimited Category, where the sky is the limit as to how fast you can fly. Richard is aiming there too.