Hixson Flight Museum planes to fly over Talladega
HIXSON, TN (WRCB) -- Race fans from across the country will pour into Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the next stop on NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series and to get things started, a pair of historic war birds from Hixson's Flight Museum will play a major roll.
How does one get involved in flying over Talladega?
"One gets woken up out of bed by a phone call from NASCAR saying due to the sequestration the military can't do the flyover and we understand you have some military aircraft for a flyover," says Hixson Flight Museum President Peter O'Hare.
O'Hare quickly learned it wasn't a prank call. NASCAR wanted two of their finest battle tested propeller planes to take on their first NASCAR flyover mission.
"I said sure we can do anything, the answer is yes," said O'Hare
On showcase this Sunday, T-28 Alpha and Bravo will make the flyover. Both fought in Vietnam and have the repaired bullet holes to prove it. O'Hare says they've made appearances at countless air shows but never a sporting event this big on national television.
"It's an honor for us to do this and we are humbled to do so; it's just an honor," said O'Hare.
O'Hare, a retired Marine, will fly one of the two planes. With a combined 2,000 horsepower flying at 230 miles per hour, they won't hear a thing, but they know the NASCAR faithful will cheer them on.
"It's amazing how uniquely linked our organizations are. Our people are very patriotic and all those things that NASCAR stands for. They believe in freedom and they're very patriotic folks," said O'Hare.
We know the fly over is always a big hit with the crowd but from the pilots standpoint O'Hare says there's not much like it.
"They have all the intensity of combat without having to worry about getting shot at."
The flyover Talladega is set for 1:03 eastern time just before the green flag drops. Since opening in 2010 the Hixson Flight Museum has restored four historic airplanes and raised $18,000 for Children's Hospital at Erlanger.