WarBirdBabe Blog Stats – 2010 in Review

Hello and Happy New Year WarBirdBabe Followers!

We thought you might like to see our viewer statistics for 2010.  I thought they were interesting and encouraging since we’re a “one gal show” at this point – with lots of room for expanding our photo galleries and stories.  

We would love to hear your thoughts about the blog, perhaps suggest some interviews you’d like to see in the future, or request postings of  your favorite War Bird Aircraft and last, but not least,  storey topics you’d like covered. 

We’d also like to post your interesting photos of  War Bird Aircraft or Military Service Men and Women.   All we need is an accurate description of who, what, where and when … and, if you don’t have all the details, perhaps one of our WarBirdBabe followers may have the answers you need!

Currently we’re editing a fantastic two-hour interview with Bob Hoover where he discusses the humble beginnings of the Reno National Championship Air Races and his current business venture. 

Another video will air this year with Jet Pilot Curt Brown and Journalist Guy Clifton of the Reno Gazette. 

We’ll also be posting more than 500 photos throughout the year from the recent Air Races and are in the process of accumulating photos from the archives of fans whose parents and/or grandparents served in WWII as Bomber Pilots and/or Crew.

Many thanks to all who have provided interviews and to those who have visited the WarBirdBabe blog and have taken the time to make comments in 2010 – we appreciate that very much. 

We hope to see you again and again in 2011 and look forward to providing an outstanding War Bird Aviation site – one worth telling your aviation friends about and visiting often!

God Bless and God Speed to all for this new year…

Kimberley West – WarBirdBabe


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 20 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 29 posts. There were 107 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4gb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 20th with 136 views. The most popular post that day was Photo Gallery from Photog Jim Loveless.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were indytransponder.blogspot.com, facebook.com, bayarearidersforum.com, en.wordpress.com, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for heather penney, blue angels, steve hinton jr, rare bear, and tom aberle phantom.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Photo Gallery from Photog Jim Loveless September 2010


Interview with Heather Penney Pilot of L-29 Raju Grace October 2010


Saturday, September 19, 2009 – Morning Photos & Heat Results September 2009
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Thursday, September 17, 2009 – Racing Starts at National Championship Air Races! September 2009


Tuesday, September 15, 2009 – Qualification Day Three! September 2009

Windy Conditions & Close-Call Accidents Cancelled Unlimited & T-6 Gold Races…

Thanks to the windy weather and two unfortunate accidents, the 2010 Reno National Championship Air Races ended in disappointment for those waiting for the big T-6 and Unlimited Class races on Sunday. This is the first time in 47 years (baring 9/11/01) that the Gold Race for the T-6 and Unlimited Classes were cancelled.

With the emergency support staff stretched at both ends of the field and gusty winds blowing up to 29 mph, the limit being 30 for take off, the core group of pilots decided to stand down for 30 minutes and see if conditions would improve. Sadly, the winds continued to howl.

Unfortunate for race fans and especially disappointing for the crews and pilots who didn’t have the final opportunity to show what they really had under their hoods – so to speak, many of whom worked into the wee morning hours tinkering, or for that matter, exchanging engines in preparation of Sunday’s big Gold race. Crews for Voodoo & Rare Bear were some of the most disappointed I’d imagine…

The final Gold Races for the T-6 and Unlimited Classes were called off officially by Reno Air Race Association CEO and President Mike Houghton mostly for safety reasons.

In those windy conditions, only runway 26 was be available for landing. In the event of a may-day, runway 26 would be out of commission leaving those in the air with limited fuel and options for landing. Not a good scenario.

The RARA staff considered the option to postpone the final Gold Races to the following morning; however 99% of the 2500 volunteers that it takes to mange the event, especially the Pylon Judges, were all planning to leave that Sunday evening. Really, a logistical nightmare avoided should the races have taken place on Monday morning…

So the awards went to the winners of Saturday’s races. Steve Hinton Jr. took the Gold in the Unlimited Class, making this his second win in Race 7 Strega, and Dennis Buehn brought home is 1st Place Trophy for in the T-6 Gold race in his beautiful Race 43, Midnight Miss III .

The Jet Class was able to race their Gold event and pilot Curt Brown, flying Race 77, Viper with a posted speed of 515.582 , blasted in to first place, passing Mike Mangold in Race 12, Euro Burner.

Do we need an introduction for the newest female Jet pilot on the block? Yes we do – the fans were delighted to see the aviation abilities of newbie Heather Penney, Pilot of Race 21 Raju Grace, a beautifully painted L-29.  Her father, John Penney flies Rare Bear Race 77 a Grumman F8F Bearcat. Look for an interview with Heather and learn about her aviation career as an F-16 pilot in the 121st Fighter Squadron, Air National Guard, in Washington D.C.

The Super Sport class has and incredible story of survival this year. Pilot George Giboney had a may-day in his Thunder Mustang, Rapid Travel, Race 75 and safely landed near the runway.

Unfortunately, just when he thought the worst was over, his lightweight checker-board painted aircraft hit a swale in the dirt and tumbled nose over end, loosing the engine to the left (barely missing him inside his canopy); both the wings snapped off with the fuel spraying into the air like a water balloon and tail departing. Miraculously, when what was left of his aircraft came to rest, George was sitting upright in his chair, seatbelts on and canopy gone. What a ride from which to walk away… God has surely blessed this pilot.

Pilot Gary Davis flying a Cassutt, Race 40 named Miss USA had a wind related accident on the runway just as his class was in formation and taking off. The wind blew hard enough to tip him on his nose thus ending the race for him. Fortunately there were no other planes on his tail that got too close.

So this is only a summary of events at the 2010 Races.

Look for these interviews to be posted soon:

SR-71 Test Pilot George Andre;    Heather Penney, Pilot Jet Class;    Bill “Tiger” Destefani, Owner Race 7 Strega;    Chris Rushing Pilot T-6 Race 42 Honest Entry;    Mrs. John Penney & Section 3;    Dan Martin Pilot P-51 Ridge Runner;    Rick Martin – President of the Van Nuys Flying Condors;    Curt Brown and my friend and favorite – Bob Hoover, Living Legend, Test Pilot, Pilot, Aviation Pioneer.

Here’s What You Can Expect at the Races!

Hey Newbie Janet!

 Great Questions and thanks for writing!  Here’s what you should know and can expect from the races as a newbie. 

 First, the “Reno Races” are in fact “air races” with lots of thrilling and entertaining “air show” events occurring between the races within the tightly choreographed four day event.  You will be attending with about 210,000 of your new race friends!

 About the Races

The aircraft race in a basic circle course around Pylons (flying low and flying left) and each category of aircraft listed below have their own course, varying in length depending on the speed and size of the aircraft.  The “home pylon” is front and center of the Grandstands and Box seating, so you can see the winners zipping by and pulling up at the finish of their race!  You might want to bring binoculars to see the planes as they are flying their laps on the far side of the course and to people watch!

 These are the six classes of aircraft that will be racing, their average speed and course length:

  • The Unlimited and Jet classes fly the same and largest course of approximately 8.43 miles.  The Unlimited class fly between 465 mph to 487.9 mph* (a course record in 2007, although I was there when a 501 mph was recorded on a qualifying lap).  The Jets fly about the same speed and I’m betting they’ll fly about 10 mph faster this year.
  • The Sport Class has a slightly smaller and tighter course of approximately 7 miles (6.9992).   These small planes fly fast, about 400 mph.
  • Formula 1 aircraft are built according to strict specifications and reach speeds of about 250 mph on a 3.1875 mile course.
  • Biplanes, the small aerobatic aircraft fly about 250 mph on a 3.1761 mile course.
  • My personal favorite, the AT-6’s fly a 5.0693 mile course at speeds that range from 210- to 235 mph.

 Be prepared to enjoy the roar of the radial engines up-close and personal!  Most of the aircraft will be starting their planes in view of the grandstands and will set the tone with the chest rattling sounds of heavy metal – just for you!

 About the Air Show

Secondly, the Reno Races feature a first class air show with incredible talent and incredible machinery.  This year the Blue Angels will perform (first time since 2000) in their F-18 Hornets – always a show favorite with their tight precision maneuvers and screaming fast fly-bys.  Be sure to keep your eyes on the solo flyers.  If you’re not watching, you won’t see them; you’ll just be startled by their AWESOME SCREAMING sound!

 There’s always an impressive US Navy Legacy Flight which features the beautiful and rare P-38, Glacier Girl, P-51, an A-10 and an F-16.  The Navy chooses two pilots from a special list of civilian pilots to fly the P-51 and P-38.  What an honor for those lucky pilots!  They’ll fly by low and slow in tribute to our armed services and flying heroes.

 Patty Wagstaff in her Extra 300S will dazzle with her aerobatic performance as will David Martin in his aerobatic show with the same type of aircraft. The precision team Red Eagles, Dan McClung and Buck Roetman in their low flying pretty bi-planes will show you what a snap roll, flat spin, torque roll, tail slide and inverted flat spins are all about – but warning: don’t try these at home… !  (There will be more performers, so check the official website provided on my side bar for the latest show additions.)

 Static Displays

Thirdly, you’ll have the opportunity to view the static displays of Vintage aircraft and Heritage Trophy aircraft.  There’s an award ceremony with trophies presented by aviation VIP’s and the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.  You’ll also have access to the Military Static Display with impressive hardware like the Harrier, the Predator, C-130, C-12, C-21, F-5, F-15, F-16, F-18, KC-135, T-1, T-6 and many more.

 The Pits

Fourth, if you’d like to see and admire the racing aircraft, their pilots and crew, I’d strongly urge you to purchase at least one day of “pit access” tickets.  You can walk all aisles of parked aircraft, the T-6 and Unlimited, and visit the crew and friends of the Sport, Bi-plane and Formula planes under two hangars.    The air show performer aircraft are parked next to the Exhibitor aircraft and you may see “Hoot” Gibson, Space Shuttle Columbia’s Commander and 1984 Challenger’s Pilot flying a demonstration of the latest Gulf Stream Jet – for those who’d like to take home a little something special.  

 You can still view the races in the Pit Area and see the air show events in progress.  You may even catch a glimpse of the legendary Bob Hoover and other racing VIP’s and performers!

 And last, but not least, expect the sun to shine brightly, the weather to change on a dime and the wind to blow hard sometimes.  Expect to be overwhelmed with beautiful aircraft, lots of people, and your feet to say “sit down.” Be thrilled by the talented pilots flying all kinds of aircraft for your enjoyment – it only happens once a year and in one place on earth – that’s Stead Air Force Base, the home of the Reno National Championship Air Races.  Take your time, soak it all in, talk to the other fans and take lots of pictures.  And remember, you’ll be viewing history in motion!

 Enjoy your races Janet!  We’ll be looking for you!

 Good luck and Godspeed~

Kimberley West, WarBirdBabe

Hello Race Fans!

It’s almost time again for the National Championship Air Races! My name is Kimberley West and I will be your host and guide to the races held this September at Reno, NV.

For five action-packed days, I will be publishing daily posts about the spectacular events happening at the world’s fastest air sport. I’ll have interviews with as many pilots as I can, and you’ll learn about aviation and its history. We may even get lucky and have interviews with some of the world’s aviation living legends, such as the remarkable Bob Hoover and Clay Lacy. I will also be interviewing race fans and the pioneers of the sport.

I would love to hear any comments and questions from you, whether you are an aeronautical veteran or a newbie race fan. 

We’ve only 24 days until the races begin!

Good luck and Godspeed.