Reno Diaries 2022 – Ep. 4

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Haze rolling in this evening. There’s supposed to be a hillside behind that Honda Jet

Hi, happy Wednesday! I spent the morning laying in the back of the Raptor truck, recovering from having woken up at 5:15 A.M. Jeff had an even earlier mandatory Sport brief today. If he doesn’t make these briefs he can’t fly. He and one of his mechanics sat in front of the truck and talked shop (and by that I mean giggled about god knows what) while I attempted to nap, but kept smirking awake to punch lines. We were all feeling silly- probably due to a lack of sleep.

Sport Class President, Bob Mills, going over today’s flight ops in the Dynon-emblazoned Sport tent.
Andy Findlay getting ready to qualify in his Lancair Legacy.

Jeff and Andy were supposed to qualify today around 8:00 A.M., but it was too smoky—vis was low IFR, 1-3/4 miles when we got to the airport and worked it’s way up to 3 miles by 9:30 A.M. Pilots flying over 345 mph need at least 6 miles visibility, a hard rule, so they weren’t able to get out as early as planned. Instead, the Race 39 crew ate pastries in the Raptor, chuckled and watched ash blow by. I’ve never seen it so smoky here at Reno-Stead. On the way in, sure. But not at the actual event. We really weren’t sure what the day would entail.

Jeff and I headed to an impromptu Sport meeting at 9:00 for a discussion on the day’s flight operations and contingencies. What to do if weather didn’t improve, that sort of thing.

Finally, Jeff and Andy were able to go up at 10:30, get on the course and call the clock to qualify. Jeff qualified at 402.491 and Andy at 334.824. Andy took it easy because he’s running his 2018 setup. His parts hadn’t arrived yet, so his team had to do what we do best here at Reno—make it work!

Jeff’s headset spaghetti.

Jeff had some radio issues during qualifying – he wasn’t transmitting, but control could hear his clicks. When he returned to the pit I borrowed Jim Rust’s headset and Andy’s dad’s handheld radio and the team went troubleshooting to isolate the issue. Turns out it was the microphone on the headset side and they were able to get it fixed. Other than that, Jeff’s mechanics inspected and rotated the plugs, inspected the turbo system and changed the oil.

Airshow coverage sponsor:

Happy to report Jim Rust and Robbie Grove got the new cylinder on and got their Glasair III back together. Jim’s all set to fly Thursday. It’s late in the day and ash is beginning to roll in again. Wish us luck!

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Ariana Rayment is an instrument-rated private pilot from Tacoma, Washington. She discovered her love of flying through her former purchasing role at Glasair Aviation. She loves the Reno Air Races, where she stands alongside Jeff LaVelle as his crew chief and pals around with her friends in Sport Class.

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