Reggie Showers Motorcycle drag racing world champion and youth mentor
JS: How did you become involved with model aviation? RS: My interest in model aviation started in the early 1970s, with my brother teaching me to fly balsa gliders. He was a helicopter door gunner during the Vietnam War, and when he came home on leave we would build and fly the gliders that my father sold in his grocery store. At the age of 10, I got my first RC airplane: a Cox .049 foam trainer! I worked for weeks to save $70 for the complete RTF kit from the Spiegel catalog! My first flight ended in a tree, but it didn’t discourage me from continuing to learn.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your
life and career?
RS: Currently I am the instructor for the
Urban Youth Stem Academy’s Remote
Piloted Vehicle program. It’s a nonprofit
organization in Philadelphia that teaches
science-, technology-, engineering-, and
math- (STEM) based programs to inner
Without the support of the U.S. Navy
and companies like Horizon Hobby and
BVM Jets [Bob Violett Models], both of
which I am a team member, these kids
would never know about the incredible
joy and future opportunities of flying
model aircraft. It’s a collective effort and
it’s all about educating our youth!
JS: What discipline of modeling do you
currently participate in?
RS: Since my first RC flight in 1975,
I’ve experimented with different types
of disciplines such as trainers, sport,
pattern, and helis, but truly my heart
belongs to the jets! Coming from a high-performance motorcycle background, it’s
easy for me to identify with the speed
and complexity of turbine jets.
My first was a BVM Aggressor that I
purchased from the late Eric Baugher. It
was a beautiful jet, which I unfortunately
crashed into a cornfield on its maiden
flight, never to be found!
I learned a valuable lesson: RC aircraft
are not toys and should be treated with a
certain level of safety and respect.
I’m partial to Bob Violett Models
products. I currently fly a BVM KingCat.
I also have an F- 16 and two Vipers, all
three of which are ducted fan.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
RS: Besides flying RC, I love to
snowboard! I got talked into trying
snowboarding by a friend in 2007, and
I’ve been hooked ever since—so much so
that I got certified to teach in 2011.
I routinely travel to Colorado and
teach disabled people as well as wounded
veterans the joys of riding a snowboard.
As a bilateral below-knee amputee, I am
a perfect example of what human beings
are capable of when they put their minds
I also spend time with my 14-year-
old daughter, Autumn, and mentoring
other kids. I work with different
nonprofit groups and teach our nation’s
youth about the importance of a good
education and believing in yourself
despite life’s adversities.
JS: Who or what has influenced you most?
RS: I’m very proud to say that my father,
God rest his soul, taught me to be the
man that I am today. His incredibly
positive, optimistic, and supportive
attitude taught me that I could be
whatever I wanted to be in life, and his
selfless actions taught me to be a man of
service to others. He was a good man! I
am forever in his debt for his influence in
JS: How did you get started in drag racing?
RS: I was just an avid motorcycle rider
back in 1983 when I got talked into my
very first drag race by some friends, and
I won! The feeling of that victory was so
overwhelming—especially given the fact
that I was an amputee—that I had to
pursue a career in motorcycle drag racing.
In the early 1990s, I took some time off
from racing to pursue my dream of full-scale flying. I got my multiengine rating,
bought a Cessna 310, and flew privately
until I got a sponsorship to race in the
National Hot Rod Association’s Pro Stock
In 2003, my last full year of
competition, we won three races and
172 Model Aviation
AUGUST 2013 www.ModelAviation.com