On 29 June, a very interesting presentation was given by Tim O’Brien, organised by Penelope Cornwall, section leader SW Americas. The presentation had already been postponed once due to online issues but better luck this time and we had a great time!

Tim O’Brien is a highly experienced and respected photographer of aviation, railway and wildlife subjects. He lives in California and specialises in telephoto lens photography, aiming for close-up action shots. He has been taking photos for 39 years, including one of the pylons for the Reno National Air Races Championships as well as photos for other media and air shows on the West Coast.
The presentation was a nice intro for the IFFR Fly/Drive-in to the Reno Air Races from 22-25 September this year.

Tim showed some beautiful photos of the aeroplanes he had taken at the Air Races in recent years. This was surrounded by a lot of information about the Races themselves and about the technical aspects of his photography and the aircraft.

As for the Reno Air Races, there are six main classes (and a separate seventh) in which one can compete.

  • Biplane
  • Formula I
  • Sport en Super Sport
  • AT-6
  • Jet
  • Unlimited
  • Stall drag

A number of very spectacular photos of each Class were shown with the accompanying details and stories. It was a struggle to make a selection as they were all equally beautiful.
The 27-strong audience, with the well-known number of ‘foreign’ participants, watched the presentation breathlessly and many questions were asked about the rules of the competition, the technique of the pilots and the equipment of the aircraft.

Unfortunately, it would be going too far to describe this in detail in this article. In simple terms: a start is made with a leadplane (airstart) or a “racehorse start” and the one who goes around… the eight pylons the fastest, has won. In category 7, the idea is to fly back and forth through the runway a number of times: so take off, land, turn around and take off again… In addition, a whole army of ‘observers & judges’ (six for each pylon) is assigned to the race rules. Depending on the class, the speeds vary from 250-525 mph, the G-forces from 3-5, the altitude from 50 ft minimum to 1000 ft maximum.

After the races, there is always a selection of special aircraft that make an appearance at Reno. Before the presentation, Jennifer Strong, as hostess of the upcoming Fly/Drive-in, gave a detailed explanation of the programme. Tim is of course present at the invitation of the IFFR.

and not to be missed presentation, especially since the subject of FLIGHTING is very close to our hearts. Perhaps it would be an idea to invite this remarkable man to our section.

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