What was hot—and what was not—at the 2009 National Championship Air Races.
- By Linda Shiner
- AirSpaceMag.com, September 28, 2009
Steve Hinton Sr. taxis by the stands in the Planes of Fame Lockheed T-33 jet trainer, the Reno pace plane. After the last race on Sunday, Senior was the first to congratulate Junior—in the air with a fist pump from the pace plane cockpit. Hinton took over pace plane duties from H.A. “Bob” Hoover (and his yellow Mustang) in the late 1980s. It’s the pace pilot’s job to lead the pack around the low mountains ringing the airport to give the racers a chance to form up for the race start. During the race, Hinton orbits above the course, on the look-out for an airplane in trouble. If a pilot pulls up, the pace pilot immediately forms up on the wing to look for smoke, check surfaces for oil, or make sure the gear is down. Hinton has talked many a race pilot down to a safe landing after engine trouble.