ATLANTA — World aviation racing champion Thom Richard will discuss his experiences, including the history of air racing, during a presentation on Saturday hosted by the Commemorative Air Force Dixie Wing in Peachtree City.
The thrill of air racing is something Thom knows personally — both in the air and on the ground.
Richard began to realize his love for extreme flying at age seven. “I set my sights on Unlimited Air Racing when I was seven years old after reading a magazine article about the 1979 Reno Air Races,” Richard explained. “I did not have the means or time to start racing until 2008.”
Based at Warbird Adventures in Kissimmee, Florida, the Swedish-born pilot has nearly 11,000 hours in his log book. His success includes racing a popular P-51 Mustang, Precious Metal, at the US National Championships, and in F1 air racing.
“I managed to fly two Formula 1 racers in 2009 and won both the Gold and Silver that year, which apparently had never been done before in the National Championships,” Richard added.
In June 2015, Richard earned the World Cup in air racing as he piloted his popular aircraft, Hot Stuff, to a gold finish during Air Race 1 in Lleida, Spain. Air Race 1 covered three continents, and included Richard winning during the first F1 race held in Africa.
One year later, a rival aircraft slammed into his Formula 1 plane Hot Stuff as he sat on the runway prior to take-off — grounded due to an engine issue — during the National Championship Reno Air Races. Just after he cranked open his cockpit canopy to signal air officials of the issue, an aircraft taking off on the same runway smashed into his idle Hot Stuff, causing a broken wing and propeller to nearly miss hitting him.
Today, Richard has expressed that the accident has not affected his flying. He continues to enjoy piloting warbirds in aerobatic maneuvers including the F-4U Corsair, the North American T-6 Texan, and P-40M Warhawk.
Richard’s presentation will begin at 11:00 a.m. on December 16 at the museum hangar located on 1200 Echo Court in Peachtree City. Admission is $10, and veterans and active military members will be admitted for free.
(Charles A Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)