The Liberty Gazette
June 4, 2013Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: We bumped up our departure time by a few hours the Friday before the annual Memorial Air Race in Terrell, Texas, southeast of Dallas. The pre-race party would be at the home of our good friends, Bobby and AnnElise, but the call went out for racers to try to arrive by mid-day: Disney was sending a sound crew to the Terrell Airport to record airplane noise for their upcoming Pixar movie, Planes, premiering August 9.
When we arrived there were already five or six of our race buddies flying high-speed passes down the runway, providing a nice mix of different types of airplane noise for the microphones.
Check out the storyline and description of the cartoon airplane characters at www.pixar.wikia.com/planes. There’s a canard named Ishani (voiced by Priyanka Chopra), so James Redmon made several low passes in his award-winning Berkut (a canard type of airplane), which he built himself.
Dick Keyt, who lives in Granbury, brought the unique and super-fast Polen Special to provide the powerful sound emitted by the amazing experimental airplane capable of 325 mph speeds with only a 180 horsepower engine – and it is the world’s fastest four cylinder vehicle. It’s a handful according to Dick, who is an airline captain and former U.S. Air Force pilot. Maybe the Disney folks can use the sounds of the Polen Special if they don’t find a real F4U Corsair to record for the sounds of "Skipper Riley", the Corsair voiced by Stacey Keach.
Mike: World speed record holding brothers Mike and Mark Patey offered their smooth singing Lancair muscle machines for Pixar/Disney’s pleasure. Those two might make a good fit for the sounds of Ned and Zed of the Ripslinger Team (voice by Gabriel Iglasias), although it sounds like Team Ripslinger is made up of bad guys - the Patey brothers are really nice guys. The main Ripslinger character, voiced by Roger Craig Smith, looks a lot like "Relentless", which races at the Reno Air Races, piloted by Kevin Eldredge.
The Pixar site shows other characters including a stealth bomber, F-15 fighter jets, a blimp, and a classic biplane (Stearman) named Leadbottom. Bulldog is a twin-engine British plane, voiced by John Clease. El Chupacabra is the name given to the Gee Bee looking airplane – the kind that used to be symbolic in the air race fanatical days of the 1930’s when the National Air Races were in Cleveland, Ohio.
Julia Louise Dreyfus lends her voice to the airplane named Rochelle, which looks like a V-tail Bonanza, except that it’s a twin-engine. Bobby Bennett flies a Bonanza and he provided several opportunities for the sound crew to capture the true voice of a V-tail.
And then there’s the star of the show – Dusty the crop duster. We all kind of snickered when we saw the movie trailer that showed the Air Tractor, a fixed-gear airplane, with its gear up in one scene, but hey, what does Hollywood know? For that matter, most of the audience who watches Planes won’t know whether the sound they hear fits the airplane they see on the screen. So while we don’t see a Grumman Cheetah in the all-star line-up, we just may hear our own engine whiz by in a high-speed low pass, an engine start, or taxi, all of which were recorded on May 24th.
Pass the popcorn!