A former Lemoore Naval Air Station, F-18 Squadron Commander, Greg “Shifty” Peairs is retiring as the Reno Air Boss, after 14 years on the job. Many stories have been written about “Shifty” Peairs, duties and time spent in charge of all aspects of the STHIL National Championship Air Races, held at Stead Airport, Reno, Nevada.
Shifty served with distinction in the United States Navy for over 25 years and finished his career as a Commander of an F/A 18 squadron at NAS, Lemoore. He also qualified, as a Navy Nuclear Engineer and graduated from the famed “TOPGUN” air superiority flight school. After retirement, he was also a pilot for FedEx, flying MD-11 cargo jets, based out of Memphis, TN, and Anchorage, AK. “All types of flying and service, is in his blood”!
He has been called the “Conductor” of an Orchestra, with all of the many Reno Air Race duties, decisions, and “bottom lines”, that he have to be addressed, during the week long, “one-of-a-kind ” air race and air show event.
“Shifty” as he likes to be called, “came on board” as an Air Race Controller, back in 2003 and 2004, then he moved onto a team of Reno Air Race Flight Judges, during the year 2005, to help handle disputes and issues, happening during the racing event; from pilot–to-pilot discussions, race rule violations and all other matters of concern.
Then, in 2006, he was asked to be the “Reno Air Boss”, and after a long consideration by him, he decided to tackle the Air Boss job.
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Being the Air Boss, you have the final word on safety, schedule of events, timing of such events, all ground transportation on the airport, and all aircraft movement, on the ground or in the air, which includes, racing safely, and following the rules exactly. To say….”the buck stops here”, couldn’t be truer!
His number # 1 goal was the Safety of the pilots, race planes and the race fans.
From very early morning “Pilot Briefings”, to afternoon “Debriefings”, to airport movements of ground vehicles, to time schedules of each event, …“are they late / early, and what’s the problem” type questions, had to be answered with a correct quick decision, a talent and expertise, that Shifty is known for, which keep the Reno Air Race and Air Show “flowing along” from one event to another, during the weeklong, “one of a kind event”.
When you have a quick, by chance meeting with him, you will soon learn just “how busy the guy is”, he is usually, talking on his cell phone or texting a correct replies to someone, and keeping the show, on time, by making smart, time saving and safe decisions.
He will be missed, no doubt, because he has been around successfully, for the last 14 years as the “Reno Air Race Boss”, making the STIHL National Championship Air Race, “a one of a kind, aviation event, in the whole world” …the very best it can be.