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Thread: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Reno, Nevada
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    Default Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    Yesterday in a reply to a thread there some talk regarding prize money. I offered my idea and Big Jim had another good suggestion, maybe he can add his idea here as well.

    Heres my suggestion:

    Historical Class (great for museums and fun flying for private owners of warbirds). Prestigious trophy engraved and presented to museum/owner for 1 year display. This class would have multiple factors in winning beyond finish position, such as fan voting for flying, in pit appearance, etc. Podium appearance is not required. Participation would add historical Reno Air Race pedigree to warbird history.

    Bronze - Prestigious bronze trophy awarded plus prize money of $... This class should have a max speed of up to ??

    Silver up to 449 mph - Sunday winner gets $250K in silver

    Unlimited Gold Must qualify at 450 or better, 3 races Friday - Saturday - Sunday Winner gets 1 Million in Gold

    Reasoning for the silver and gold prize award is that mining is a big player on Nevada and there could be some added benefits here from mining company promotion - State advertising dollars/marketing?

    Last edited by Desertdawg; 09-26-2018 at 09:50 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    The beauty of the current gold silver bronze system is it is self-regulating regardless of the number of planes that show up. The downside to splitting the planes based on speed is if you have only two or one airplane in a certain bracket, you have to make a new rule/exception to put them in a different category. And generally you want a system with as few rules as possible. Also for this system to work, you need more airplanes, and I think you can't talk about splitting things up until the class has grown.

    I do like the gold prizes as a way of sponsorship and tying into Reno's history. $1million might not be practical for the start, but could start lower and work your way up (provided they have a positive first year). That's something that might work for the whole event too.

    My take is opening up the class to more competitors. There were rumors in the pits of a Trojan race on the T-6 course. Kinda like the medallion race in Sport class. And I think that is an excellent idea. Unlimiteds used to have a minimum speed limit to race, but if you could put the trojans on a smaller course that would work, and there are a lot of them. But again I don't think you need to make them their own class. Bring them into the existing warbird-unlimited class and they will filter themselves down to the bottom. Sport uses speeds (and G-forces) to determine which course they fly, so same logic would work here. Could open the Sport course to the unlimiteds too for the slower museum planes. Less time on the motor and more time up close to the grandstands.

    My less popular idea is open the class to turbo props. Turbo props are where propeller technology went. The class is struggling because of a lack of powerplants (and historical value of the aircraft). Pond Racer attempted to fix this, but it was the powerplants that were that aircraft's shortcoming (would have made the gold race this year if still around). As to the historical value, half the people I mention this idea to are horrified and say they hate turbo props, so we definitely don't have any historical value issues. I know turboprops are technically jets, but the jets are a healthy self-sustaining class. The warbirds are not. Plus it spins a propeller, so to me it's close enough. They won't necessarily win or go fast (at first), but you are opening the field to new blood, new aircraft, and most importantly new sponsorship opportunities. Plus there will be the added rivalry between piston and turbine aircraft which will make for good drama.
    "young" Thomas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    1,780

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    Quote Originally Posted by CubersWrist View Post
    The beauty of the current gold silver bronze system is it is self-regulating regardless of the number of planes that show up. The downside to splitting the planes based on speed is if you have only two or one airplane in a certain bracket, you have to make a new rule/exception to put them in a different category. And generally you want a system with as few rules as possible. Also for this system to work, you need more airplanes, and I think you can't talk about splitting things up until the class has grown.

    I do like the gold prizes as a way of sponsorship and tying into Reno's history. $1million might not be practical for the start, but could start lower and work your way up (provided they have a positive first year). That's something that might work for the whole event too.

    My take is opening up the class to more competitors. There were rumors in the pits of a Trojan race on the T-6 course. Kinda like the medallion race in Sport class. And I think that is an excellent idea. Unlimiteds used to have a minimum speed limit to race, but if you could put the trojans on a smaller course that would work, and there are a lot of them. But again I don't think you need to make them their own class. Bring them into the existing warbird-unlimited class and they will filter themselves down to the bottom. Sport uses speeds (and G-forces) to determine which course they fly, so same logic would work here. Could open the Sport course to the unlimiteds too for the slower museum planes. Less time on the motor and more time up close to the grandstands.

    My less popular idea is open the class to turbo props. Turbo props are where propeller technology went. The class is struggling because of a lack of powerplants (and historical value of the aircraft). Pond Racer attempted to fix this, but it was the powerplants that were that aircraft's shortcoming (would have made the gold race this year if still around). As to the historical value, half the people I mention this idea to are horrified and say they hate turbo props, so we definitely don't have any historical value issues. I know turboprops are technically jets, but the jets are a healthy self-sustaining class. The warbirds are not. Plus it spins a propeller, so to me it's close enough. They won't necessarily win or go fast (at first), but you are opening the field to new blood, new aircraft, and most importantly new sponsorship opportunities. Plus there will be the added rivalry between piston and turbine aircraft which will make for good drama.
    Based on the fastest lap speed the Pond Racer ever attained, it would have been no better than third in Sport Gold this year. It also would have fit within current Sport Class regs, but would not be eligible for the unlimited class after the minimum weight rule came about.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    Quote Originally Posted by CubersWrist View Post
    My less popular idea is open the class to turbo props. Turbo props are where propeller technology went. The class is struggling because of a lack of powerplants (and historical value of the aircraft). Pond Racer attempted to fix this, but it was the powerplants that were that aircraft's shortcoming (would have made the gold race this year if still around). As to the historical value, half the people I mention this idea to are horrified and say they hate turbo props, so we definitely don't have any historical value issues. I know turboprops are technically jets, but the jets are a healthy self-sustaining class. The warbirds are not. Plus it spins a propeller, so to me it's close enough. They won't necessarily win or go fast (at first), but you are opening the field to new blood, new aircraft, and most importantly new sponsorship opportunities. Plus there will be the added rivalry between piston and turbine aircraft which will make for good drama.
    Kinda reflects my attitude when hydro races migrated to turbines. What a thrill when Mitch Evans's Allison U-3 hold off the turbines in 2003.

    If we want something bigger than sport class to thrive as a real race, we gotta open a new ingredient.
    Last edited by TarDevil; 09-26-2018 at 01:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    When this arrive during race week it flew over my house at a good clip.

    I have to say it sounded really good.

    A class for this type would would be interesting.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    Quote Originally Posted by Desertdawg View Post
    When this arrive during race week it flew over my house at a good clip.

    I have to say it sounded really good.

    A class for this type would would be interesting.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yes, indeed. As would the same plane with a mountain motor. BUT... still wouldn't compete with unlimited unless a new class is created. In other words...a true unlimited class.
    Last edited by TarDevil; 09-26-2018 at 02:31 PM.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2002
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    1,780

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    Quote Originally Posted by Desertdawg View Post
    When this arrive during race week it flew over my house at a good clip.

    I have to say it sounded really good.

    A class for this type would would be interesting.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	HWR_0499.jpg 
Views:	184 
Size:	272.6 KB 
ID:	23844
    There was supposed to have been a piston version of that racing in Sport Class this year. Not sure why they didn't make it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    I didn't hear anything either.

    Another sponsorship point for the unlimited (this may actually be less popular than the turbo prop idea so you've been warned)
    The Jet class paceplane is a sponsorship. Last year was the Epic and I think this year it was the Embraer Phenom(at least it has been in the past). The Jet's as fast as the super unlimiteds so they should be able to share pace planes. This would make the pace plane sponsorship more valuable. If it was the Epic again(or any other turbo prop aircraft), that could double as a good way to transition turbo props into the class. I know the T-33 is beloved, so maybe it can become part of the ride raffle like the T-6s do.
    "young" Thomas

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
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    26

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    Quote Originally Posted by CubersWrist View Post
    There were rumors in the pits of a Trojan race on the T-6 course. Kinda like the medallion race in Sport class. And I think that is an excellent idea.
    The first year that I attended was 1998 and they had a T-28 class that used the T-6 course. It was a lot of fun for me as a spectator and I've love to see it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by CubersWrist View Post
    My less popular idea is open the class to turbo props. Turbo props are where propeller technology went. The class is struggling because of a lack of powerplants (and historical value of the aircraft).
    Please, no. I've been an unlimited hydroplane fan since the early 70's and turbines completely ruined the sport. I don't even follow it anymore.

    It could possibly work as a separate class. We already have the jet class, and it's got some of the same problems that ruined hydroplane racing for me. I'm not a fan of the equipment limitations that killed off the L-29/Viper combination. If I understand correctly, there is a fixed set of aircraft/powerplant combinations that are allowed and new ones have to be approved. Even if they stuck with a basic rule of straight wing and non-afterburning engine, the end result is that the planes would be too fast for the course and would need to be limited. And any race with speed limit is not a race to me (personal opinion). Plus, the sound just doesn't do it for me.

    I'd love to see a true unlimited class. The only two equipment rules would be piston powered and prop driven.

    Honestly, I'm really getting to be a serious fan of the sport class. There's real innovation happening there, and it doesn't have the problems that the current unlimited class has with airframe values and powerplant availability. And it's financially attainable (at least as much as anything aviation related could be).

    I do have two suggestions for the sport class, both related to getting fans more involved: Get more of those planes painted or wrapped so that they are recognizable from the stands. And second, I really enjoy the announcer (whose name escapes me at the moment), but he tends to use just the pilot names instead of the aircraft names when calling the race. It would be good to use both the name of the aircraft and pilot more often so that it's easier to associate with what the fans seeing rounding the pylons.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Reno Air Race Warbird Class Ideas and Prize Money

    I think an unlimited turbo prop class would be great.
    As far as prize money, that has always been an issue. What caught my attention was the golf tournament that Tiger Woods won the other day. I noticed the purse was 9 million dollars, and it wasn't even a major. Yes, they have television coverage with millions viewing. Years ago, if memory serves me correctly, some of the races were named after casinos, due to sponsorship. With huge casinos reaping the awards of the the tens of thousands that attend the races, I've always been surprised that they don't sponsor the races with bigger dollars. A million dollar in this day and age for first place in the unlimiteds, shouldn't be that hard to raise. I've just mentioned the casinos, but what about the tech companies and beverage companies and others that I can't think of. Raising the prize money, in my opinion is priority to keeping the races running in the future.

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