Thursday, June 14, 2018
Saturday, June 2, 2018
On Tuesday, 01-May-2018, at approx: 7:40pm, we lost a Reno Air Race legend.
A three-time Formula One Champion, John Parker, had dedicated his life to air racing and the need for speed. He was even been known to say, “I’ve been doing this all my life. It’s part of my DNA. I enjoy everything about it – the history, the mechanics, the metallurgy, the people - all of it.”
John retired from the Air Force in 1965 and then he joined American Airlines. Soon after, John found himself building engines for Formula One race teams at Stead Field. John quickly became known as a “Speed Merchant” after working as a mechanic at the air races and assisting other race teams.
In 1967, John founded American Air Racing and became part of the history at Stead field. Though the main focus of American Air Racing is to offer complete builder support and to perform speed modifications for kit-built aircraft, this provided the perfect environment for John to dedicate his time to the development and improvement of fast flying aircraft.
In 1977, at the National Championship Air Races, John raced and won his first Formula One Championship in a plane called “Wild Turkey”.
He continued to make improvements and adding to his trophy case by winning the Formula One Championship in 1979 and 1980 with his “scratch-built” Formula One racer named the American Air Racing Special, which now resides in the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
John went on to race in the original CAFÉ 250 and CAFÉ 400 in the twin-engine division.
In 1988, John entered a “scratch-built” aircraft in the Unlimited Division at the National Championship Air Races.
In 1998, John placed fourth in his first Sport Division Championship race.
Since then, his primary focus had been his relentless pursuit of increased performance in his Thunder Mustang named Blue Thunder, which finished in Second Place in the Sport Division in its first year of racing (2002).
In the 2004 National Championship Air Races, he set new records for the Sport Class Qualifying speed and for the fastest race flown in the Sport Class.
In June of 2005, he set more records in Marysville, CA:
New C1c 3 km World Speed
Record: 374.250 mph
New C1c 15/25 km World
Speed Record: 376.180 mph
Fastest Normally Aspirated
Aircraft: 383.302 mph
At the 2005 National Championship Air Races, he surpassed his previous Qualifying Record.
In 2011, John rolled out Blue Thunder II and took 1st place in the Sport Class. In 2012, he picked up another First Place win with a speed of 356.738 in the Sport Class with Blue Thunder II, followed by another win in 2015.
John was many things; an aeronautical engineer, retired Air Force pilot, retired Airline Captain, test pilot, air race pilot, experimental aircraft builder, A&P mechanic (with Inspection Authority), a mentor, a competitor, but most importantly, he was a friend who will be dearly missed.
From a humble beginning, John had become an air racing legend. For John Parker, air racing was not a sport; it was his way of life.
Rest In Peace, John.
Special THANKS to Naomi Dschaak, Anthony Taylor and Tim Adams!
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Monday, April 30, 2018
So many great things are currently happening in the Air Racing world!
Ely Air Races
It looks like the Ely Air Races are a GO this year!
We expect up to 16 International Formula 1 planes to perform 2 races per day. The festivities start on Wednesday, June 13th with the final races on Saturday, June 16th. Balloon rides will start around 5:30am while Air Racing begins at 9am each day.
Besides the Balloon rides and the Air Racing, the Town of Ely and White Pine County are putting on quite a show. There will be live entertainment, a car show and other military and civilian aircraft on display.
|Ely Air Races at Yelland Field in June!|
Credit: White Pine County
This year will feature IF1 races only – but who knows what the future holds for Ely!
If you are venturing out to Ely, be sure to set aside time to see the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and of course, the Great Basin National Park offers tours of the Lehman Caves.
If you are driving from the West, you’ll be taking “The Loneliest Road” in the World (Route 50). You might want to stop at Sand Mountain or consider some of the Pony Express stops to gain a little history to go with your Air Racing!
Red Bull Air Races
After just two events, Michael Goulian is in the lead in the Red Bull Air Races Master Class. Matt Hall is nipping at his heels and Yoshide Muroya, last year’s winner is in third.
Michael won the first race in Abu Dhabi and finished third in Cannes. Matt Hall was the winner in Cannes and placed only fifth in Abu Dhabi.
The racing is as close as ever and new faces are on the podium. This year should be a fun one to follow.
They will be in Indianapolis in October, if you are interested in seeing this amazing event in person! It is an unbelievable spectacle in person and I recommend it to all of you!
Unlimited Air Racing
As of today, we are hearing some very positive news about new and old airplanes and racers joining us for PRS and for the races in September. This is very exciting news. I don’t want to jinx anything, but keep your fingers crossed that familiar faces will be there again.
As Bill Kerchenfaut would say – we’ll know who shows up when they show up – but great efforts are underway to get more Unlimited Aircraft in the show!
|We miss Miss A!|
Credit: Tim Adams Photography
Stihl Sponsorship and the NBCSN Special
Stihl will remain the Title Sponsor for the National Championship Air Races for another 2 years. What does that mean? It means we can expect the NBCSN Special on the Races to continue.
Yes, I know this year’s three-part special had a few problems – namely the delay on the last part of the series due to a live broadcast going late. The T6’s wingtips do not go supersonic – I know. The reversal of 5 and 7 on a few of the graphics. Jay goes by Jay and not James. It’s Swaid Rahn and not Rahn Swaid – yeah, I know all that.
|Swaid Rahn in Heat Stroke|
Credit: Tim Adams Photography
But, this is a GREAT way to get our sport out there to others who haven’t had the pleasure of watching the FASTEST MOTORSPORT IN THE WORLD!
Keep the faith, thanks!
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Monday, February 19, 2018
Monday, January 29, 2018
Things are moving along in the Air Racing world. Here’s a recap of what’s coming up in 2018.
Pylon Racing Seminar for 2018
Originally, we were unsure if PRS (Pylon Racing Seminar AKA Rookie School) would take place in 2018 due to runway construction at Reno/Stead Airport. However, a compromise was reached and while we would normally be flying during the week, the weekend will see most of the flying sessions, so the runway construction can go on as scheduled. This is a great thing for Rookies trying to get certified before the Air Races in 2018.
Speaking of the Races in 2018, they are schedule for September 12-16th this year. Tickets are already on sale, so let’s start making those travel arrangements!
And the Performers have been announced. This is a nice mix of Civilian and Military shows to intermingle with the great racing you will see this year.
The Patriots Jet Team will be back to show their unique aerobatic performance involving 6 L-39s – the largest civilian jet team in the Western Hemisphere.
Also returning is the “Screamin’ Sasquatch” Jet Waco from John Klatt Air Shows. Another unique performance and a true crowd pleaser!
The Smoke and Thunder Jet Truck will be back. This is a great ground based show and allows for launching and recovering race aircraft – which is a great help to the Air Boss at Reno!
For Military Performers, we are lucky enough to have the F-35 Heritage Flight and the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team. I’m hoping at least one of these powerful jets will be able to take the pylons!
Ely and Other Locations
It looks like a race will be held in Ely, NV right after PRS from June 11th through the 16th. The Ely Race will likely be a two-class event. The airport was built for Air Racing – a enormous flat plateau. The course design is underway.
Other locations are also being discussed from the East Coast of the USA to the West Coast of Canada. There are also races schedule in Europe – including the fourth race in Portugal featuring three classes of Sport Racers.
While naysayers have been telling us that Air Racing is a dying sport – we say - HA!
NBC Sports Special
Circle March 31st on your calendar. NBC Sports will be airing the three-part series of the 2017 Air Races featuring all three classes starting on that date. The other 2 episodes will be scheduled afterwards. AND – will be re-aired some time over the Summer months. Call your friends, alert everyone – we need more people to see this amazing event – so we can get more fans in the seats!
|A Big THANK YOU to Stihl for their Sponsorship|
Credit: Anthony D. Taylor
Speaking of Fans…
How do we reach out to the younger generation?
I belong to several aviation organizations and a common theme in the last few months has been – how do we increase interest in Aviation – in a Xbox World? How do we introduce today’s youth to mechanical things? How do we get them to come to the hangar early on a Saturday morning to learn how an engine works and how to pack bearings or rivet a fuselage?
The Reno Air Races have tried Drone Races (pssst – they’ll be back in 2018) and Motorcross demonstrations. We have also seen the Saab Demo Team (I loved that!). And after hours musical events – which was great for those of us who stay late.
We really need to reach out to NEW fans – not just keep the old ones. We need to share with them the exciting things that happen in the High Desert in mid-September every year.
If you have ideas on how to make that happen – let me know! I’m always open to ideas.
Another area we need to focus on these days is increasing the number of Sponsors we have for the Races and for individual Racers.
Each one of you who are reading these words may know someone who knows someone who either owns a company or works for a company who may be a great sponsor for Air Racing. Think about it – who would benefit by telling their story to the fans of Air Racing. Look at Stihl. Before they started sponsoring Andrew Findlay in the Sport Class – had you heard of them? Had you seen NATIONAL advertisement for their brand? Probably not. But someone on their Marketing Team said – this might be a great place for us to build awareness of our products.
There are other Stihl companies out there who could also build on their brand by sharing their products with the Air Racing Fans.
Again – any ideas? Let me know!
|Justin Philipson in No Strings Attached|
Credit: Anthony D. Taylor
Lots of exciting things are coming along and as they firm up – I will be sure to share this information.
Happy 2018 and let’s go Flying!