Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Reno Air Racing Association Welcomes Frederick Telling to Board of Directors

January 25, 2017

Reno Air Racing Association Welcomes Frederick Telling to Board of Directors

Reno, Nev. – The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) today announced that Dr. Frederick W. Telling has joined the RARA Board of Directors. Telling has served as president of the T-6 Racing Association since 2008.

“On behalf of the Reno Air Racing Association, we are thrilled to welcome Fred Telling to the board,” President/CEO Mike Crowell said. “Fred brings an extensive corporate background and non-profit board experience in governance and development. He has also actively been involved with the air races for over 15 years. We look forward to having his perspective on our team.”

Telling is currently the Chairman of Oragenics in Tampa, Florida and a Director of CTI BioPharma Inc., based in Seattle, WA and Eisai N.A. Inc., in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Telling chairs the compensation committee and serves on the audit committee of both CTI BioPharma and Oragenics. He retired from Pfizer in June 2007 after 30 years. At Pfizer, Telling was elected a Corporate Vice President of Pfizer Inc. and its Vice President of Corporate Strategic Planning and Policy in October 1994.

An avid racing fan, Telling is type rated in Citation jets and the DC-3, and is both fixed wing and rotorcraft rated. He and his wife Barbara reside in Daytona Beach, FL, and enjoy flying their 2014 Citation M2. The couple also owns a collection of North American Aviation aircraft – “Lady B”, a 1944 P-51D, “Almost Perfect”, a stock T-6G and “Baby Boomer”, a 1940 Harvard, which Telling raced in the T-6 class in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. From 2011 through 2013, Lee Oman raced “Baby Boomer” and for the last four years, “Baby Boomer” has been raced by Gene McNeely.

Telling is a member of the board of Warbirds of America and an emeritus member of the boards of several organizations with which he remains involved – the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, EAA, ORBIS, and the National March of Dimes Foundation.


About the Reno Air Racing Association:
The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), a 501(c)(3), holds the National Championship Air Races every September just north of Reno. The Reno Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. The 2015 event generated more than $66 million for the region’s economy. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations. For more information on the National Championship Air Races, to obtain media credentials, volunteer or purchase tickets for this year’s event, visit

Media Contact:
Mary-Sarah Kinner
The Glenn Group

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


“Individually we are all very good, but collectively – we can be magic.”

“That’s one thing you learn when you race at Reno. There’s all these airplanes, the noise, the action… But, then you meet the people and get to know them. It becomes a family. Pretty soon you realize it’s really about them. “– William “Bill” Kerchenfaut

One of my favorite people in the world left us this November.  William Evan Kerchenfaut, “Kerch” to his friends, was so much more than a “guy with a screwdriver” he was an amazing mentor, a kind soul, and a winner.

For many of his closest friends, we were all treated to these late evening phone calls that came to be known as “Kerch-a-thons”. He would always start with “Am I interrupting anything?” almost apologizing for calling. I was always happy to hear from him and sat in a comfy chair, poured myself a glass of Merlot and prepared to get today’s life lesson.  

Many of you know him, know of him, know his legacy – but let me tell you a little bit about the Bill you didn’t know.

Bill grew up on a farm in Illinois. His dad owned a J3 Cub and he learned to fly back then – seems that was how it was done back then. No radios, no towers, no FAA – just jump in the Cub and go. He learned about hard work, how to fix machines and how to constantly search for more knowledge. 

He enlisted in the Air Force but wasn’t able to get a coveted flying spot. He ended up in the next best thing, Aviation Maintenance.  Here he excelled.

Later he came to Air Racing. Kerch was always part of winning teams, including Conquest, Dago Red, Strega, 232, and Voodoo. It wasn’t a coincidence – he was a big part of those winning programs. 

Winning was in his blood.

Working with great individuals including Darryl Greenamyer, John Crocker, Tiger Destefani, Mike Brown, Bob Button, Stevo Hinton, Skip Holm, and Bruce Lockwood, he was exposed to some of the finest.

When he started working with Darryl, he had never seen a Bearcat before.  But, he was a quick learner and was later known to say, “If you want to really go fast, get a Mustang”.  So much for the Bearcat, I guess.

He was known to say, “You need three things to win Reno, good airplane, good pilot, and good crew”. All of those things need to work together, all of them are important.

I wanted to share this with you, something that was shared with all of us at his Memorial. And if you ever had the pleasure of sitting with him for a while, you heard many of these. As you start the New Year, please keep these Kerchisms in mind.

Have a wonderful 2017. 

Teamwork by Bill Kerchenfaut

We are all in this together
We must trust each other.
We must help each other.
We must RESPECT each other as human beings.
We must accept our own strengths and weakness and those of others.
We don’t have to get along all of the time, BUT we don’t have to be mean.
Everyone has feelings – respect them.
The job is easier if we cooperate.
In doing a job or solving a problem the TRUTH is what matters.
BLAME will not solve a problem nor get the job done.
Making someone look bad will not make YOU look good.
Everyone is different and unique – enjoy the difference – don’t judge.
I Don’t Know is an acceptable answer.
If there is a problem, try to come up with a suggestion or a solution.
Perception is not reality – TRUTH is REALITY.
Realize that people are dynamic – they are in constant change.
It is OK to change your mind based on new information.
Ask for help -- Offer to help.
Praise each other for a good job and for hard work.


Photo Credits: 
Anthony Taylor

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

International Formula 1 – 2016 Recap

The IF1 Class always has exciting racing and this year was amazing! Most racers in other classes arrive in their best racing configuration or have a few tweaks to make during the week. But, in IF1 – they are constantly adjusting and testing and tweaking and wrenching and more then more testing. 

Anyone who walks around their side of the Biplane / IF1 Hangar will notice more cowls off than on.
You would also notice a family atmosphere and camaraderie like no other. With Kelly Goforth feeding the teams and everyone pitching in to help each other, it’s just one big, happy family.

This big, happy family is also befitting of their International moniker.  With competitors this year from the USA, Canada, Austria, Scotland, and the UK – plus crew members from Australia and Spain– they really are International!


Lowell Slatter started racing in IF1 in 2013 with his airplane Fraed Naught.  His first year, he qualified at 233mph. In 2014 he was unable to race her himself because of work constraints – and asked Justin Phillipson to fill in for him. Justin, a highly respected racer and pilot, qualified her at ... (Drum roll please) 233mph - again.

And now Lowell is back. This year he qualified at … 253mph. That is a full 20mph faster she was able to go in recent years. What changed? No one is talking – but we are very curious! Care to share, Lowell?

Lowell unseated the previous champion, Steven Senegal in Endeavor. He also went faster than anyone expected – even faster in the Gold Race on Sunday – at 256. Vito Wypraechtiger of Austria/Switzerland - placed 2nd in Scarlet Screamer. He was the Gold Winner in 2013 in the same plane.

Justin Phillipson placed third in the second year for his ShoeString Racer, No Strings Attached. . This is Justin’s fifth year – having flown Outrageous for 2 years, Fraed Naught for one and now No Strings Attached for two more years. Looks like he really is getting the hang of it and that trophy will look great among the others.

James Jordan cut a pylon and ended up in fourth – after some amazing racing during the week. Phil Goforth placed fifth – flying multiple airplanes in Gold, Silver and Bronze – more on that later. Madness, flown by Steve Temple ended 6th.

Goforth is also on the Pilot Committee – charged with getting more pilots and airplanes to Reno. He did a fantastic job on this as well. The #s grew from 13 in 2014 to 16 in 2015 to 23 in 2016! And it seems everyone I spoke with was looking for a competitive IF1 airplane to get in on the fun!

The Silver Race was won by Des Hart from Scotland. He flew Chaos Theory (previously known as Sly Dog). Des was a Reno Rookie this year, but did take part in International races through Air Race 1. I believe Des enjoyed his debut at Reno!

To clarify, IF1 does a race progression – so if you start in the Bronze and win – you can move up to the Silver and bump someone back to Bronze – the same with Silver and Gold. Each heat race result sets the grid for the next race. This way, as teams work their magic through the week, they are rewarded with a better grid spot. This explains why racers move back and forth all week, but the final standings are what we will be reporting here.

It also explains why it’s difficult to race more than one airplane in this class – hopping between Gold Silver and Bronze.  For example, Goforth raced in all three heat levels, Gold, Silver and Bronze and in three different planes, Knotty Girl, Sonic Zoom and El Bandito. He actually won the Bronze Race in El Bandito.

El Bandito

Longtime fans of IF1 will remember George and Bobby Budde form Oklahoma. George raced several different airplanes over the years, including Okie Twister, Stroker and Streaker . Bobby was a one airplane man, and that airplane was El Bandito.  

El Bandito started racing at Reno in 1968. She has a vintage look and historic appeal. That appeal is what drove Goforth to chase the airplane down over the years. He got in touch with the Budde brothers to find out what the status of Bandito was – and found out she was in a trailer in Oklahoma. 

The next thing you know, Phil is headed to OK.

While Phil and his team worked to get her going again – she last raced in 2000 – the excitement within the Class and the Budde Family continued to grow. There was a For Sale sign on her, but after the amazing showing of winning the Bronze – Bob Budde’s grandson decided it had to stay in the family and bought her. I love a good history lesson with a happy ending.

In 1996, this was said that about the Budde Brothers -- “No other two people in the sport’s history have introduced as many new pilots to air racing, nor used their own time and treasure to check out so many in Formula One aircraft, nor helped so many get seats or acquire planes in which to complete.” …  I believe Phil is cut from the same cloth. Well done.

Goforth in the Bronze Winner - El Bandito
Tim Adams Photography

Slab Wing Contest

As we mentioned in the September column – the Dash for Cash contest provided $1000 prize to the fastest Slab Wing Cassutt – that was won by Paul Newman (not that one) in Fast & Easy. Congrats, Paul!!

Rookie of the Year

With so many Rookies in IF1 this year, the decision was not an easy one. But, our friend, Justin Meaders (who we wrote in the August column) was the winner. Congrats, Justin!

Justin Meaders - Rookie of the Year
Anthony Taylor – 

Take-off Incident

As you probably heard – there was an incident on take-off during the Gold Final on Sunday. Two racers collided during the start. To explain, the IF1 Class (and Biplanes) does a ground start for the race. We call it a horse-race start. In IF1, all of the racers are staged in a grid (3 front row, 2 second row and 3 back row) on the runway and when the flag drops, all of them take off at the same time (slightly different from Biplanes).

Racers are given a countdown – starting at 10 minutes – when you have time to start your engines and get them warmed up, do a mag check – whatever you need to do to prepare for your takeoff. At 2 minutes the runways are cleared and at one minute the focus goes from a line flag man to a single Starter. It is a highly charged 10 minutes.

I believe because of the Incident, there may be a review of the way we do our take-offs. I’m just happy the pilots are all okay. Airplanes can be repaired or replaced. I’ll keep an eye on the discussion and will report back if/when things change.

Classic IF1 Takeoff
David Atkinson - Aviation Images Unlimited

Thailand and Air Race 1

Several of the airplanes are now headed to Thailand to perform a Race for the King of Thailand – no kidding.  Goforth, Justin Phillipson, Justin Meaders, Steve Temple and Des Hart are scheduled to be the Racers.

Looks like Air Race 1 is heating up again and the boys will be circling the globe in their sweet, little racers. 2017 will bring them to Spain, Puerto Rico, Thailand and Reno. Good luck – and have fun!  

Final Thoughts
We will continue to run through the races each month and give a close up view and recap- stayed tuned for the Best of the Rest.

Until then…

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
Pylon Place

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Voodoo and Stevo Hinton do it again!

Back in 2008, Rookie Race Pilot, Steven Hinton was able to get a few laps in, first in Lady Jo and later that week in Sparky. He finished as high as 2nd in the Bronze and was probably the happiest guy on the ramp.

Stevo flying a perfect line
Anthony Taylor of

Who would have guessed that same young man would be a seven time Unlimited Champion – 4 in Strega and now 3 in Voodoo? All I know is – I’ve had a front row seat to his incredible journey. I could not be happier for him, his entire family and the Button Family and the entire Voodoo Crew! 

Qualifying at 475.027, some expected them to go for the Qualifying Record of just under 500 mph – but there was no one in his rear view mirror – so why push it. As we say in racing – “2nd place sets the pace”.

Speaking of 2nd place -- Jay Consalvi flew Czech Mate, the highly modified Yak-11 to a 444 qualifying lap and a well flown 2nd place finish. A pretty impressive showing for a Rookie! But, Jay is only a Rookie at Reno. With quite an impressive pedigree, we are happy to have Jay join our little family of racers! 

Jay Consalvi, Reno Rookie all around amazing pilot in Czech Mate
Anthony Taylor of

Brian Sanders flew Dreadnought to a 440 qualifying time and a safe 3rd place finish. Curt Brown in Sawbones was 4th. Joel Swager – another Rookie – came in 5th in Argonaut just ahead of his father-in-law, Dennis Sanders in 924.

Rookie Joel Swager flying Argonaut to a respectable 5th place finish
Anthony Taylor of

Dusty Dowd took the Silver in Lylia, another Yak-11. Dusty comes to us from Syracuse, KS and is – a Crop Duster. We’re hoping the bugs stay away each September so he can continue to grace us with his flying.

A real surprise was Mrs. Virginia; the Allison powered P-51A owned by the Planes of Fame Museum. John Maloney flew her to some pretty impressive speeds – good enough to beat out several of the Merlin Powered P-51Ds.

Those P-51Ds included Wee Willy flown by Rob Patterson, The Rebel flown by John Currenti and Doug Matthews and Sparky/Blondie flown by Brant Seghetti.

This year’s event was another series of ups and downs. Over the next few columns we will dissect each Race Class in detail – but until then – here are your winners this year.

Congrats to all the teams and to RARA for running another spectacular event.

  • Jet ClassAmerican Spirit, L-39 Albatros, Pilot Rick Vandam
  • Sport Class, Race 39, Glasair III, Pilot Jeff LaVelle
  • T-6 Class, Baron’s Revenge, AT-6B, Pilot Chris Rushing – First time winner
  • IF1 Class, Fraed Naught, Gilbert DG2, Pilot Lowell Slatter – First time winner
  • Biplane Class, Reno Rabbit, Mong Sport, Pilot Jeff Rose – First time winner

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Getting Ready for the Races 2016

It’s that time of year again – everyone is getting ready for another exciting Reno Air Race week. There is a lot of new happenings, some returning racers who were missed and other news to share. So let’s get started.

Sport Class

As we have said in the past, the Sport Class is the place to be. The Class is coming off an amazingly successful PRS week with 54 pilots and instructors, 48 planes flying a total of 500 sorties between the FAST Formation event and PRS. That was 8 days of flying – and makes herding cats look easy.

They originally had 49 entries and are expecting a group of 44. This will allow them Gold, Silver, Bronze and Medallion Races. The guess is you’d have to be over 400mph to win the gold. Over 300 to win the Silver and 270 would be a good time in Bronze and the Medallion race will be faster than anything in the past as well.

The Gold group will see John Parker attempting to repeat in his beautiful Thunder Mustang, Blue Thunder II. Jeff Lavelle is back with the world’s fastest Glasair and we know he’s ready. Dave Sterling, Andrew Findlay and Lynn Farnsworth are all in the hunt for the crown. Gary Mead and Vince Walker may be there as well – and who knows what Kevin Eldredge in Relentless has up his sleeve.  

Jeff Lavell is BACK! And he’s FAST! Credit: Rob “Phred” Miller

Two fan favorites should be back this year, Elliot Seguin is signed up to bring back Darryl Greenamyer’s old ride, #33 with the help of Andy Chiavetta. And Colleen Keller is slated to bring back Dennis Stutes old Super Legacy. This will be a very exciting group to watch.

The other big news in the Sport Class is the inaugural Slalom or Match Race. The concept will be one on one competition between two Sport aircraft. Both aircraft will be on the course doing a side by side slalom race. They will utilize the Formula/Biplane course.  They practiced and trained for it during PRS and it looked pretty fun! Currently they are looking for a bracket of 8 pilots with single elimination. I’m pretty excited about seeing this and also interested in the crowd’s interest in events like this for the future.
And Race 33 should be there 
Credit: Tim Adams


The Jet Class is also a growing group and they seem to be working on a very competitive event this year. Rick Vandam in American Spirit will be taking on last year’s winner Pete Zaccagnino in his Vampire. Sean Cushing in Fast Company will also make it interesting. Zach McNeill is also bringing a Vampire. This all sounds good to me. The Jets will again offer close racing and a lot of fun!

Formula 1

This Class has been reinvigorated over the last few years. With years of pilot and aircraft decline – we were concerned about the future of the F1 Class -- but, not anymore! This year, they have a full field of 24 racers. To put it in perspective, the last time they had a full field of 24 was in 2002. The record was 29 in 1991. 

Three things have happened to bring life back to the Class.
  • Air Race 1 – while they did not have any contests this year, the excitement of a World Wide Air Race for Formula 1 sent several people scrambling to dig through the barn and get their airplanes flying again.    
  • GripLockTies and Creighton King put together the Slab Wing Dash for Cash. $1000 Cash Money (as Creighton likes to say) will go to the fastest Slab Wing Cassutt (or other Slab Wing racer) He is putting up the money for Fastest Speed (determined by Qualifying time and Race Speed – there is a formula, of course.)  I think it’s a great idea – money talks, as we know! 
  • And the final element is a sense of camaraderie this group has developed. Between Justin Phillipson and his West Coast operation and Phil Goforth and his Midland, TX based Fly Boyz Race Camp and the IF1 Doctor, Steve Tumlin – there is just renewed interest and support for those just starting out in IF1 Air Racing.

Grip Lock Ties is sponsoring the Slab Wing Dash for Cash
Credit: Tim Adams

This Class will be very exciting to watch this year. And – all you need to do is wake up early enough to be there at the start. You shouldn’t miss it!


Biplanes are having an interesting time this year also. With Tom Aberle announcing that he and Phantom are taking the year off – there is an open spot at the top. I know several of the Gold Racers have been putting in the extra effort to get the win. Jeff Rose is probably the favorite in his bright yellow Mong, Reno Rabbit. Of all the racers on the roster this year, he has the fastest time in the past. But – that doesn’t account for what others have done in the off-season. The Gold should be very exciting this year. And a New Champion will be crowned!


It seems the T6 Class has the same three guys at the top each year. Nick Macy in his gorgeous Six Cat, John Lohmar in his Radial Velocity and Dennis Buehne in Midnight Miss III. Last year had Chris Rushing coming out of the Silver to give Dennis a run for his money at the end – but Dennis still won.

This year, I have an idea things may be a bit different. See, Eric Woelbing is not bringing his Bare Essentials this year. Nope, he’s bringing Eddie Von Fossen’s old Miss TNT. I have a feeling he will be in the mix for the Gold! T6 Racing is always close – and always fun to watch.


The Unlimited Class is having a difficult year. It seems Rare Bear decided to take a year off at the same time that Strega decided to take the year off. That brings a completely new view at the top of the leaderboard.

Jay Consalvi was to fly Strega this year, but he will be flying Czech Mate instead. So, I have a feeling most of the Strega fans will be pulling for the little Yak this year.

Shafter Power
Czech Mate will be taking Strega’s place this year
Credit Rob “Phred” Miller

Voodoo with Stevo Hinton will be there trying to win back the title. They have been making subtle changes and testing during the off-season. I know they will be ready to go.
And there is always everyone’s favorite Sunday Ride – Dreadnaught. Dread has won before and if anyone else has a hiccup, this could be the Sanders’ year. They are always poised and ready to rock and roll.

The rest of the roster is light – yes, we know. But we need to support the races during the lean years, so there will be better years. Just be there! Wear your favorite team’s colors and let them know you are still cheering them on!

The Show

THE BLUE ANGELS WILL BE THERE! They put on a heck of a display and I cannot wait to see them back at Reno. We’ll see you there – September 14-18! But, if you’re a REAL FAN – you’ll be there by the 11th to watch all the Qualifying Action!

Fly Low, Fly Fast and Turn Left!
See in at Stead.

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
Pylon Place 

Friday, August 19, 2016

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