Indy 500 advice

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by DaleB, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    So suppose I decided to go to the Indy 500 this year with my son. And assume we decided to fly in (4 hours, plus a fuel stop) rather than drive (9 hours). I see a few airports other than KIND but don't know anything about them.

    I understand anything close to IND will be a madhouse. Where would be a reasonably good place to fly into? LSA piston single, 120 kt, strictly day VFR. I'd be looking for as close to town as possible, not too punitive to tie it down outside for a couple days.
     
  2. deftone

    deftone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m in Indy. Most of the local airports are packed and they jack up the fees during the weekend. Perhaps take a look at 2R2. A little further out of town, perhaps 20-25min drive to the speedway? EYE is about a 10min drive but can be busier (great seafood restaurant on the field though!)
     
  3. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Dunno about the airports, but bring a small cooler with you to the qualifier runs and on race day. Take time to go visit the Indy 500 museum as well if you haven’t. Gasoline Alley is cool, too.
     
  4. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Indy 500 advice.
    I have heard that the BIG one if not used to the banking is if you start to spin out to let it go and not try to catch it. You won't get it. The car will suddenly catch and you will turn sharp right and spear into the wall.
     
  5. indy_kid

    indy_kid Filing Flight Plan

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    I've been to the race once (age 10, 1971, when pace car ran into photographer's stand; was sitting pretty much straight across from it) and the time trials several times.

    IMHO, the time trials/qualification runs are more enjoyable than the race. Watch a driver run, walk around the infield, watch another run, walk around, etc. So much to see that you don't have time to see on race day. It's still quite crowded, but not as much as race day.

    Practice runs from May 12-15, and May 18. Quals run on May 16-17. Going to practices/quals means it's not a wasted trip if there's rain on one day. Rain on race day (Sunday, May 24), and you either hang around until Monday or Tuesday, or fly home and miss the race.
     
  6. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Part of growing up for me was in Greenwood IN and certainly for us locals time trials are a great way to get up and close (and Dad's company often had pit passes) but there really is no substitute for going to the race at least once. My one and only time was 1980 with Lone Star JR winning and it was a lot of fun.

    I've been gone so long from there I have no answer for were to fly into.
     
  7. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Cleared for Takeoff

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    How hard is it to get tickets for the practice and quals? Can you walk up and buy them?
     
  8. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-takeoff checklist

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  9. Low Level Flyer

    Low Level Flyer Filing Flight Plan

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    I’ve flown in for the Indy 500 twice in the last 10 years. KHFY (Greenwood) both times. I can’t remember if I had to reserve a parking spot ahead of time or not. But neither time was the ramp completely full. Fees and fuel prices were reasonable.

    I know you said you were VFR. I arrived on an IFR clearance. Departed VFR and picked up my IFR clearance once airborne. They had a NOTAM covering procedures for arrivals and departures that was fairly straight forward. Neither arrival or departure was that busy on the frequency.

    FYI, I was in an Arrow, so probably similar performance to your airplane.
     
  10. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I flew in for the race a good number of years ago, flew in to KEYE. There was weather, so ended up having to fly an approach.

    Capture.JPG
     
  11. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    That, and let go of the steering wheel before you hit. Cross your arms in front of you once the tires let go so you don't shatter your wrists. Also, stay down on the outside of the corners away from the rubber pellets (tire bits) that collect on the outside of the turns. They're like marbles and a slide on them is unrecoverable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  12. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Yes, you can drive in and get tickets. (I say "drive in," because you can pay as you drive in and then park in the infield) No problem getting in for practice or qualifying.
     
  13. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yup, plenty of room in the infield bleachers for everyone to spread out and sit with their coolers during time trials. It's kind of a party-like atmosphere, so you have to be careful if you have young children around. There will be alcohol, there will be people partaking of it in high volumes, you may see some things you didn't want to (or some things you did), lol. Race day is more reserved in comparison and obviously all of the stands are packed solid.
     
  14. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    The infield bleachers were removed almost 20 years ago. There are spectator mounds along the backstretch now, and they're popular with families.
     
  15. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    I hangar at KEYE, so I'm quite familiar with that airport. Traffic near the 500 is awful, no matter how you go. So, it probably doesn't really matter if you land at the EYE, the closest airport to the track. It's still going to take you a long time to get there, depending on how early you are getting out to the track. Are you planning to come in on race day and fly out? I will tell you that's probably a bad idea from an IMSAFE stand point. The race day experience will wear you out. The track is a 2.5 mile oval. Even if you get dropped off at a gate, you could very well end up walking a mile to your seat (and back). All of the walking, sitting in the sun for hours, the loud noise (definitely bring hearing protection to the track!), the traffic getting in and the long wait getting out-- you will be wiped out after the race. Probably not the best idea to do that and try to fly four hours home after all of that.

    What is your plan for ground transportation? Uber? Are you staying at a hotel, and if so, where? All of that would play in to my decision making.

    EYE is obviously the closest airport, and it has fuel services (including self service), and would probably be my first choice for you, depending on the answers to the above. Maybe a little busy with bizjets. I have never flown race day, so I honestly don't know how crazy it is then. But if you are coming in the day before, I would imagine you wouldn't have a problem.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  16. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Some bleachers were removed. There are still a ton of bleachers in the infield on the main straightaway.
     
  17. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Thanks for the advice all -- especially @PPC1052.

    I think we'll probably arrive a day or two before the race, and leave the day after. I'm flying with LSA privileges and it's 4 hours or so home plus a fuel stop, so definitely not leaving after the race... plus I have heard it can take a few hours just to get out of the Speedway. We'll Uber from wherever we land to the hotel; no specific decision on that yet. Guessing hotel to track transportation won't be hard to find. My son has something like 800K hotel points, so he's setting that up. I'll allow a full travel day there (in case we have to drive), and an extra day or two coming back in case weather doesn't cooperate; it IS in May after all.

    Of course if it looks bad and I make the decision to drive instead of fly, it will only guarantee absolutely perfect blue skies, CAVU the entire weekend.

    Oh, and when we land I'll be sure to stay off the loose rubber and off the wall.
     
  18. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The fees for Uber or similar will probably be pretty steep. It may be cheaper to rent a car for a few days rather than pay Uber for "peak" rates and sitting in traffic for 30 minutes to an hour to go a few miles down the road. Having a rental also allows you to keep supplies/coolers/clothes (cold/hot weather, rain gear, etc.) at the ready instead of having to carry it all with you. Rentals are usually less than $35/day, so it's probably worth it.
     
  19. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Since you are staying a couple of days, it's not critical that you be at EYE. I might stay downtown if I were you guys. There will be a lot going on, and it would be fun. Plus, you can catch the new Red Line up to Broad Ripple and back, if you are looking for a change from the downtown scene during your stay. Downtown Indy is safe at night, and everything is walking distance down there. They also have lots of bike share kiosks downtown. KEYE, KUMP, KMQJ, or KFHY are all easy shots to downtown (I reserve the right to change that statement depending on what road construction projects they start up in the spring), and are all decent, well run airports with plenty of services. You have lots of good choices. KFHY tends to have the cheapest fuel, if that matters to you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  20. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Cleared for Takeoff

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    Might be a fun trip in the Bo to go to one of the practice days.
     
  21. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Come in first.
     
  22. DaleB

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    They can go WAY faster than I can. I could maybe beat their cornering G by just a little (never have!!) but they'd still win.
     
  23. 3393RP

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    You got me there. After twenty seven years at The Speedway, ten of those as a crew member, I'm not alone in forgetting the Tower Terrace seats are in the infield. I don't know why that is.

    By the way, when I attended my first 500 in 1968 as an 11 year old kid, I sat in the infield, inside Turn 2. A few days before the race, my dad, a newly minted 100 hour pilot, informed me he had rented a 182 and that we were going to Indy.

    That flight from Albuquerque to Indianapolis, the race, and the return flight rank near the top of my list of Most Coolest Things I've Ever Done. I never dreamed that years later I would be on the front straight firing up a car with the handheld starter after hearing the command to start engines.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
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  24. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've been to EYE and was treated nice. Best to call around first, race weekends are absolute hell at all the nearby airports.
     
  25. PPC1052

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    Because when you have all access passes and are part of the action, you don't really care so much where us plebeians sit. :) Pretty cool stories. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  26. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Lol, yup. I had to be one of the plebs last time I went in 2012, but only sat on the infield bleachers for the time trials. Our seats for the race were right at the bricks about 15 rows up, which ended up being pretty good since you could see them coming out of turn 4 and going into turn 1. Pretty good race that year at the end between Franchitti (won), Dixon, and Sato. We got to see Sato put it in the wall on the last lap when he pushed to hard on restart.
     
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  27. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    Sato's crash was a stunner. It's amazing how he spun with Franchitti just inches away and didn't collect Dario in the crash. Takuma is known as an all-or-nothing driver, willing to risk it all for a win.

    He erased the ignominy of the 2012 crash by winning the 500 in 2017, by most accounts a popular outcome with the fans. I think a lot of them admire his willingness to hang it all out.

    By the way, that 182 my dad rented was a 1967 model, and had flown less than 200 hours when we took it to Indy. The dry rental cost was $22 an hour. I found this info in his logbook years later. Kinda makes one dizzy comparing it to today. That airplane is probably still in the fleet today, 51 years later!
     
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  28. Kevin Eggert

    Kevin Eggert Filing Flight Plan

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    I love flying in to Eagle Creek (EYE). I have flown in on Carb day (the Friday prior to the race) and it was not overly busy. They had a rental car ready for me also. Fees were not out of line with any other business airport I've beenand didn't seem jacked up because of the race. I'd call the FBO (Eagle Creek Aviation) ahead to get a good plan, but Eagle Creek would get my vote
     
  29. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The Carb Night Classic or Little 500 are fun sprint car races to go to as well, after Carb Day is finished up.