Reno Air Race Champion on Optimizing Human and Machine Performance--Andy Findlay


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By Justin "HASARD" Lee. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

My guest today is Andy Findlay, the 2018 Reno Air Race Champion. The race, officially known as the National Air Race Championships, is a multi-day event that takes place every September. It is billed as "the worlds fastest motor sport." The highly modified aircraft often reach speeds in excess of 400 mph, often just feet from each other.

Andy has raced competitively for most of his life--downhill skiing, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and now airplanes. He has flow over 20 different types of aircraft and has a background in engine development. He was the 2013 "rookie of the year" and is now the reigning sport-class champion.

Two things stood out to me about Andy--his engineering expertise and his passion for understanding the mental side of peak performance. His engineering background is evident as he discusses how he gains an incremental advantage with each modification to the plane. It was also fascinating to hear how he trains mentally to perform his best on race day. In this episode we talk about, in order:

  • What is sport-class racing (min. 2:45)
  • How he got involved in racing (min. 4:00)
  • Why it's so difficult for a prop plane to go 400mph (min. 6:15)
  • What happens if a prop goes supersonic (min. 8:45)
  • Engine development (min. 9:15)
  • Engine blowing up (min. 14:00)
  • What a Reno race is like (min. 17:30)
  • Race strategies (min. 19:30)
  • Losing a friend while flying (min. 21:00)
  • Training required (min. 23:30)
  • Reno Race debrief (min. 25:30)
  • What it's like to be the champion (min. 29:15)
  • Breaking the 400mph barrier (min. 35:30)
  • Strengths of the plane, team, and him (min. 38:00)
  • Getting into a flow state (min. 40:30)
  • Performing at peak performance (min. 42:00)
  • How much faster he can go (min. 49:30)

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