Monday, December 21, 2009

A little bit of everything. . .

This is the off-season for Air Racing. It is the time when the Race Teams reassess, reevaluate, regroup and refocus. There are planning meetings going on from Florida to Texas to California and everyone is in deep thought about how to do it better, faster, safer, and with more pizzazz.

The final airshow of the season has been put in the history books also. This year, even with the economic slowdown, Air Show attendance thrived. It was a great year for many of the Air Show acts and they are also deep in thought about how to do it better next year. The International Council of Air Shows holds their yearly convention this month in Las Vegas and exciting things should be coming our way after the show.

Aviation History Month

I’m sorry I forgot to share this last month, but November is Aviation History Month. I have been suggesting to my friends and fans to head on over to their local Aviation Museum. I bet there are several museums within a few hours’ drive from all of you. I hope you take my advice and stop by your local museum, bring the neighborhood kids, volunteer, become a member, join the CAF, join Planes of Fame, join the crew, be a part of the action.

My visit to an Aviation Museum changed my life. Many of you have heard the story of how Stan Hiller of Hiller Helicopter and Hiller Aviation Museum inspired me to become a pilot. He was just opening his museum and asked me everyday why I wasn’t a pilot. I finally took his advice and have not looked back. I thank him every day for his inspiration.

Where do pilots come from?

Most of the pilots I race and fly with each year have stories to tell about how their dad and/or mom would take them up in the family plane back when they were too young to reach the pedals. They also tell stories about their first Airshow or their first trip to the Air Races.

I also know a few pilots who experienced their first airplane ride via the Young Eagles program through EAA. Two of the new hotshot pilots at my airport, in fact, were EAA/YE Kids. Now, that makes me feel old, but quite proud of both of them. Besides YE, many programs are available these days to focus our youth on aviation as a career or a hobby.

One of the programs is from an organization called Build a Plane (BAP). They are a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting aviation and aerospace careers by giving young people the opportunity to actually build real airplanes. Aircraft construction and restoration projects provide an exciting opportunity to motivate kids to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a hands-on environment. They began operations in 2003 and have steadily gained success across the USA ever since.

BAP seeks aircraft donations as well as the names of interested schools and groups who want to participate in this program. Get in touch with them for more information (

Another program I have recently come across is Girls with Wings (GWW). This is the brainchild of Lynda Meeks, a Commercial, Military Airplane and Helicopter Pilot. When asked why she started the organization, Lynda said, “Aviation is the perfect ‘vehicle’ for inspiring girls to set goals and to achieve them.” Now, that is a goal I can get behind.

Lynda became a pilot because the Army ROTC Officer told her that Army Flight School was the toughest, and she likes a challenge. While in the military, she was flying on a commercial airliner when the captain came on to give the standard announcements, a little voice from the seat behind her said, Mom, how come you never hear any girl pilots?” Lynda says that little voice changed her life and made her want to take on another challenge. Promoting awareness of female pilots, and that’s how she started GWW. Go to for more information. And remember, Chicks fly, too - or - as my car tags say, chxfly2.

Another heartwarming story comes from Redstone College, a Denver-based institution of higher learning. They received a Learjet 24D in September which will be on permanent loan from the Spirit of Flight Center, a Colorado-based non-profit air museum.

The 1976 Learjet 24D donated by Spirit of Flight Center is a five-seat, twin-engine high speed business jet that holds five international climb records with owner and pilot Ed Wachs of Illinois. The jet sports a unique five-color rainbow graphic, one color for each record, has a range of 1,266 miles and a maximum speed of 565 mph.
“We are delighted to play a role in the educational process at Redstone College, as we continue to be impressed by the quality of individuals who graduate from their institution,” said Gordon Page, President of the Spirit of Flight Center. They can be found here

What does that mean to you?

In the past few years, we were lucky enough to see some young blood coming into Unlimited Air Racing. Stevo Hinton and Will Whiteside along with Brant Seghetti and are bright stars for our future.

With the average age of pilots going up, we need to inspire our youth to work hard and to put away the Flight Simulator and go out to the Airports. Today we don’t get to see the “Airport Kids” sitting on the fence anymore. The fences are higher and now guarded by government watch dogs. So, we need to go get them and bring them with us. Great programs are available. Volunteer, take the kids, become part of the future by inspiring someone. Someone inspired all of us, now it’s our turn.

Until next time,

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Pylon Place - Off Season Updates

It’s always difficult to write about Air Racing after the Reno Recap is done. Most teams are so exhausted from the months of preparation and the nearly two weeks of Reno, we practically go into hibernation for a few weeks or even months. But, this is the perfect time for planning. So, what is going on prepping for the pylons?

Strega Victory Party

This is the second year I was lucky enough to be invited to the Strega Victory Party. And what a party it was. Tiger pranced around like a proud retired air racer now team owner. He was the Master of Ceremonies and the Host with the Most. His smile never left his face -- that is a happy man.

Credit: Victor Archer
Caption: This year’s champion, Strega

Only one person in that room was happier than Tiger, and that was our new Champion, Stevo Hinton. Yes, Stevo – I’ve been calling him Stevo for six years and I’m not going to stop now. Stevo is still the same Airport Kid, but now he has a title, a trophy, a gold jacket and a list of records as long as his arm. He is still smart, and charming and humble and terrific. I credit Steven and Karen for raising such a fabulous kid. Never change, Stevo – we love you just the way you are.

The third face in the crowd was LD Hughes. LD has been with Tiger for years. And is now the Crew Chief for Strega and also a good friend and mentor to Stevo. Their friendship seems more like a brotherhood, with the same daunting purpose. A great pilot in his own right, I wonder when LD will be turning the pylons instead of turning the wrenches. Only time will tell.

Another thing you notice about the Strega Team is the longevity of the ownership and the crew. Nearly everyone on that crew has been there a while. I believe that adds to their success. They work together like a well oiled machine. It’s inspiring to say the least.

Congrats again to Tiger, Stevo, LD and the rest of the Strega Crew. A special shout out to the wives who have made me feel like a member of the family from the beginning, especially Tracy, Kathleen, and Linda. Another big thanks to Al and Anita for babysitting. You guys rock!

Galloping Ghost

She has flown. In fact, she had her first flight in her current configuration on September 21st - the day after the Final Gold. If only a month earlier, we likely would have seen the Silver Ghost flying around the pylons. I’m still impressed by the effort of the team, including pilot/owner - Jimmy Leeward, engine builder - Rick Shanholtzer, crew chief - Erik Hokuf, and assorted and sundry wrenches and experts. The boil-off system we have heard so much about apparently works great. A scoopless Mustang with just a trail of vapor becomes a sleeker machine.
The plan for the team is to continue working on the racer and to be at PRS in June.

More information can be found at Leeward’s website and I believe t-shirts are also available. We wish Jimmy and the entire team much luck and we look forward to seeing them at PRS and again in September. Congratulations, Mr. Leeward.

Credit: Victor Archer
Caption: Jimmy and the Ghost will be there in 2010

Blue Skies

A good friend to Warbirds and Air Racing, Gary Austin, was lost to us in October. I met Gary at PRS in 2007 when he flew his tiny Cassutt, Maybee´s Baby, from Midland, TX to Reno, NV. The racer only carries 17 gallons of fuel, which gave him about a 3 hour range. It took him six legs to get there, but he arrived.

Photographer: Gary Austin
CAPTION: Maybee’s Baby last raced in Cleveland in 1971.

In his own words, from his recollection of the races that year:
Okay, so once at Stead, everything just fell into place. All of a sudden, I wasn't nervous or apprehensive about anything. It just felt right. It was as though I belonged there. Remember, this is something I've been wanting to do since I was six years old, at the 1976 Reno Air Races. I know my Grandfather, who would hold my hand while explaining the different airplanes to me, was watching me from above and was proud of me for finally making it.

He only raced in 2007. And he won the Rookie of the Year award in IF1. He deserved it, for his spunk and tenacity alone.

The Racer he was building to race in 2008 had a structural problem that was found prior to the first flight. But, he was there at the races lending a hand to everyone who had a question or a problem with their planes.

Gary wrote about everything. He gave a detailed account of the restoration of the Commemorative Air Force’s B24. He wrote about his trip to PRS and his trip to Reno in September. He wrote about an experience he had in a Pitts when the canopy collapsed on top of him and he was able to fly the damaged bird back to the airport and land it safely. He liked to say he wasn’t a very good typist or writer, but he was a heck of a story teller.

Credit: Tim Adams
Caption: Maybee’s Baby on the Pylons during Reno 2007

Caption: He was happiest when he was around airplanes.

Sorry to see you go, Gary.
Blue Skies and Tailwinds, forever…

And to the rest of the racing fans, Fly low, Fly fast and turn left.

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
The Pylon Place

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reno Recap – 2009

What a week. I can say I called the winner in each class, but one. And that class for me was a three way tie. The weather was perfect all week and the crowds, while lighter than usual, were informed and entertained. And they were given a healthy dose of GREAT racing.

Besides the amazing racing, RARA put on a heck of a show. We enjoyed the Blue Angels, Patty Wagstaff, David Martin and the Red Eagles this year. Also, a U2 flyby and a C17 demo were on the agenda. Fat Albert entertained the crowds with his 2nd to last JATO Display. JATO stands for Jet Assisted Take-off and is no longer warranted because of new technology. However, the fans love it and we are sorry to see it go.

The West Coast Airshow Fans rarely get to see Patty Wagstaff, since she is based on the East Coast. Her show has only gotten better over the years. David Martin always provides the Reno crowd with high energy aerobatics. The Red Eagles were also new to Reno and put on a spectacular two-ship display. These were all excellent choices for entertainment between the races.

Fat Albert JATO Take-off


Now, back to the racing.

International Formula 1

The F1 was highly competitive all week. The Gold Final on Sunday was hard fought. Thom Richard in Invictus and Gary Davis in Scarlet Screamer fought hard with last year’s winner, Endeavor until the third lap when Endeavor pulled out leaving Thom and Gary on their own. Steve Temple in Madness, Smokey Young in Sly Dog and Doug “Jethro” Bodine in Yellow Peril were neck and neck to see who finished third – fifth. Jay Jones and Rookie Lachie Onslow also battled to the end for sixth and seventh.

Our winner was Thom Richard in Invictus. He flew a fantastic series of races for the Gold and also ended up winning the final Silver Race in his other racer Miss USA. The winner of the first two Silver Heats was none other than Ed Dutreaux. After a two year hiatus, we are happy to see Ed in Slingshot again.

A new fan favorite was Phil Goforth. A rookie this year, he qualified 18th – but moved up the Silver and finished 7th. He also tugged his airplane down to the Ultimate Fan Section 3 to have several of their members sign his plane. He was also a big hit with the kids who come through the F1 and Biplane hangar each year. Within minutes, he had 15 kids with rags in their hands cleaning his aircraft. He had us in stitches the entire time and we are happy to see him joining the ranks.

Thom Richards flying Invictus, the F1 Gold Champ for 2009



Biplane Gold was all about the Phantom again this year. After two Maydays earlier in the week, Tom Aberle and his fantastic team brought home the Gold once again. Norm Way and Dennis Vest made racing for second quite interesting in their highly modified Pitts.

The Biplane class was short on racers this year. A few years ago, we had 31 competitors for a field of 24 and now we are under 20. If you know someone who may be interested in racing their Biplane, get in touch with me or check out the PRPA Biplane page on Facebook.

We staged a demo race for the Bronze because of lack of entries. It was about the most fun we could have had. We reversed the start (slower in front, faster in back) which led to some great passing. At one point, we were four across going around Pylon 6. I hope the fans enjoyed the racing as much as we did.

I ended up racing in both the Silver and Bronze and had the best time ever. My crew really came to life and managed the airplane for me while I managed the pilot. Thanks to Michael “WBK” Town, Matt Williams and my “babysitter” Jason Fisher. You guys are invaluable to me.

Credit: Ken Linde
Biplane Champion, Tom Aberle in Phantom


Credit: Victor Archer
Marilyn Dash in Ruby crossing the finish line in the Silver Biplane Race


Sport and Super Sport Class

David Sterling and Tom McReynolds really gave last year’s winner Lee Behel a run for his money. Jeff Levelle also made it interesting, but cut a pylon and put himself back into fourth place. Gary Mead was unable to finish the race on Sunday, but worked incredibly hard to get his racer back in the air after a runaway prop earlier in the week. But, the Gold Jacket ended up on David Sterling this year.

In Super Sport, it was all NXTs in the front. John Sharp qualified at a blistering 412 mph (which was faster than Rare Bear’s qualifying time this year – WOW!). It was just a mild increase over last year’s 409. Their speed in the final race was over 407 mph. Kevin Eldredge in the other NXT, Relentless was 20 mph slower. Mike Dacey put the pressure on in the last few laps, but was unable to change the outcome. George Giboney and John Parker in the Thunder Mustangs followed in 4th and 5th.
Darryl Greenamyer and Lynn Farnsworth both had trouble with their Lancair Legacy and did not start the race. We hope they iron out the problems and come back strong in 2010.

The Super Sport and Sport Classes are gaining fans each year and hopefully will continue to keep us on the edge of our seats in the years to come.

Two of the most beautiful Super Sport racers, Relentless and Nemesis


T6 Class

The T6 battle was going to be between Nick Macy, Dennis Beuhn and Al Goss, the last three winners. Qualifying had Nick in the lead, followed closely by Dennis and Al. But, the final race changed the order to Nick, Al and then Dennis. While Nick and Al fought it out to the end, it looked like Dennis had lost some speed in the last race. John Lohmar, John Zayac and Gene McNeeley all battled hard for the remaining spots, finishing in that order and all within a single mph. Now, that is close racing.

The T6 Class never disappoints the fans that like a tight race. The Silver race was also decided by a mere one mph. Ken Gottschall beat Gordo Sanders at the wire by less than 2 tenths of a second. As my old racing coach used to say, “you could cover the entire field with a blanket at the finish”. And yes, that was about the story with the T6s all week.

Scott Dockter recently purchased Two of Hearts from John Zayak (who bought her from Mary and Steve Dilda) and renamed her Margarita. He ended 6th in the Silver. He raced his other T6, Deuce of Hearts to a 7th position in the Bronze. Vic and Keith McMann were less than a 100th of a second away and with the younger McMann taking 2nd in the Bronze with Gunslinger. Keith ended up third in Red Knight.

And before I forget, the Warlock Party was spectacular as always. The band played, the Miller Beer flowed and the Margarita Machines were humming along. The Sawbones team brought over their two-stroke, two blender, Lodestar throttle quadrant equipped machine to keep the tequila flowing. A big thanks go out to Al Goss and Anita Day for hosting this gala every year. In fact, next year will be Al’s 30th year competing at Reno. It’s an honor to know such terrific people.

Credit: Victor Archer
Nick Macy in Six Cat took the T6 Gold again this year


Happy Hour and Eros...
Some of the closest racing is always in the T6 Class.


In past years, the Jet Class was limited to 500 mph, then 525 and now the speeds have been bumped up again to 550 mph, per Cliff Magee, President of the Jet Class. Good thing too, because Curt Brown demolished the previous class record with a qualifying time of just over 538 mph. Joe Gano in Pip Squeak was not far behind at 524 and Red Bull and Reno Racer, Mike Mangold came in at 514 mph.

Their final races were much closer with Curt edging out Mangold by just under three mph. Joe Gano, Phil Fogg and Rick Vandam rounded out the top five. The Vampire, which we affectionately named “Sea Biscuit” finished 7th but was definitely a fan favorite. And all of our eyes and ears appreciate the fact that we were unable to see or hear the Fouga on the race course this year. If you have ever stood near a Fouga when the engines started screaming, you’ll understand what I mean.


This year had the best Unlimited Racing ever! After much speculation in the off season, the fans were treated to some amazing moments. Let’s review.

Qualifying gave us Steven Hinton in Strega on top with an amazing 486 mph and Sherman Smoot in Czech Mate in second place with his best qualifying number ever – just over 466. Dan Martin in the previously “stock” Ridge Runner in third, Brian Sanders in Dreadnaught in fourth and Will Whiteside in Voodoo in fifth place.

At the other end of the list we have Air Biscuit, the classic Wildcat flown by Tom Camp just over the minimum 300 mph and Bruce Wallace in the T-28 at just under the 300 mph minimum at 298 and change. This put Biscuit in the show and Bruce on the sidelines.

The Texas Contingent of Nelson Ezell, Stewart Dawson and Howard Pardue qualified 6, 8 and 9 with amazing speeds for these supposedly stock aircraft. However, Dawson’s Spirit of Texas had a mechanical and was withdrawn from competition.

Hijinks abound in the off hours – Chickens like Henrietta seemed to fly from one race plane to another in the dark of night.


Sparky, the Jelly Belly P51 was also withdrawn with a mechanical which left a lot of frowns around the Seghetti pit. They made herculean efforts to get her back in the air, but were unsuccessful. They were still there, handing out little packets of the best jelly beans in the world. Thanks to Ward Steiner and Steve, Brant and Allison Seghetti for keeping us on sugar highs.

The two P40s both made the field with John Maloney out qualifying JC Paul. Doug Matthews, a sophomore racer this year, brought two aircraft. He brought his pristine Corsair and Rhinechild’s Bad Attitude Sea Fury. The question always asked – what do you do if you end up in the same heat… you ask your good friend Jimmy Leeward to step in, that’s what you do.

But, I’m skipping ahead.

Jimmy Leeward had intended to bring his highly modified Galloping Ghost. But, alas, all good intentions didn’t work for the Leeward team this year. They were unable to get her to Reno in time, despite a valiant effort. But, you can be sure; she’ll be in attendance next year. And because Jimmy was so dedicated to the Ghost this year, Cloud Dancer, another fan favorite, was also missing from the ramp. The fans cannot wait to see Jimmy in both of his racers next year.

Since Jimmy didn’t have his own racer in the field, when Matthews ended up with two in the Bronze on Saturday, Jimmy stepped in and the two nearly passed the finish line together. Jimmy was also there on Sunday to step in to pilot the Corsair to third in the Bronze.

Doug in Bad Attitude finished first in the Bronze, but opted to move up to the Silver Race and therefore Fred Cabanas in American Beauty was the Bronze Champ. American Beauty is a gorgeous P-51. Her owner, John O’Connor is a big supporter of the Chris and Dana Reeve Foundation. This foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. O’Connor donates his winnings each year to this foundation. This is a truly magnanimous gesture.

The Unlimited Silver Final on Sunday was a runaway by Brent Hisey in Miss America. Ray Dieckman arrived second in Sawbones. And Dennis Sanders flew Argonaut to third place. Doug Matthews came in fourth – after bumping up from Silver – I can only imagine he found an extra boost somewhere and was able to add 13 mph. And then, we have the Mustangs, Bill Eberhardt in Merlin’s Magic, Robbie Patterson in Lady Jo, Dave Morss in the P-51A, Polar Bear and Rob Gordon in Speedball Alice were all very competitive in the Silver Finals.

Credit : Gordon Edwards
Two of the beautiful Mustangs, Lady Jo and Speedball Alice – hopping rides at the end of the day


After John Maloney fell ill, JC Paul took over flying both P40s, the Parrothead and Sneak Attack. The Parrothead in the Silver and Sneak in the Bronze. He finished behind Fred Cabanas in the Bronze and was DQ for being low flying in the Silver. I’m sure he learned his lesson and when he returns next year, he will likely be a model race pilot. Right, JC?

Speaking of DQs and low flying… we had more low flying calls this year than I remember in years past. I wonder if more people are flying low, or are we just seeing a crackdown on this activity.

John Maloney early in the week with Sneak Attack


Credit: Steve Edmonson
Rookie, JC Paul in Parrothead did some excellent flying

Now, for the Gold … In the first Gold Heat on Friday, it was all “Shafter”. Steven Hinton and Sherman Smoot battled it out, only to have Smoot cut a pylon and be dropped to fifth place.

On Saturday, the racing was amazing. Will Whiteside in Voodoo ended up with a win at nearly 486 mph, because it was Stevo’s turn to cut a pylon. Sherman also cut one and ended up in 7th place. Dan Martin and John Penney rounded out the top four.

But Sunday’s Race is the one that counts and it was close. Steven Hinton and Will Whiteside pushed each other hard, with Will pulling out in lap 5 with a Mayday. He landed safely, while the racing continued.

After Will pulled out, it was all Stevo. He flew a great race, a great line and really earned the victory. He is now the youngest winning unlimited racer in history at 22 years of age. He took that distinction away from his father who was 26 when he had his first victory. Stevo also set a new course record at 493 mph.

Credit: Anthony Taylor
Strega is again the Gold Unlimited Champion


Credit: Rob “Phred” Miller
Steven Hinton, the 22 year old champion

The rest of the pack included John Penney in Rare Bear 2nd, Sherman Smoot in the mighty Giant Killer, Czech Mate third and Dan Martin in the “stock” Ridge Runner in fourth.

I can’t wait to see what this young Hinton will do with his career as a pilot. It was about six years ago when I asked a 16 year old boy if he wanted to crew for me and Ruby in the biplane class. He respectfully declined, saying he was going to stay with Strega and Tiger. I think he made the right decision.

A special congratulations goes out to the Voodoo team. They ended up just a bit short, but Frank Young’s engine worked great and their newest crew member, Bill Kerchenfaut, really added something to the team. Bob Button and Will Whiteside should be very happy with the way things worked. Next year, we will likely see Strega and Voodoo in the front again.

Congrats to all the winners and I cannot wait to see you all on the ramp next year.
Until then, fly low, fly fast and don’t forget to turn left.

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reno Racing Preview 2009

It looks like 2009 will be a great year for air racing. Lots of new and returning pilots and new and returning race planes will be in attendance. I’ve got lots to cover, so let’s get started.

International Formula 1

In IF1, five of their top six finishers from last year will return providing some great racing in the Gold. In addition they will have 4 Rookies competing in their first race.

Australian, Lachlan “Lachie” Onslow will make his racing debut in Kiwi, John Kokshorn’s “Outrageous”. This airplane has been highly competitive for many years with Scotty Crandlemire and we are looking for some great things from the boys from down under.

It is particularly nice to see some of last year’s Rookies return to race again this year. Thom Richard is bringing two aircraft. Tim Neubert’s “Invictus” is the old Zipper and will be very competitive. Thom will also be bringing his racer Miss USA and will have William Diaz fill the driver’s seat. Thom is a very accomplished pilot and will do well in this very competitive ride.

Dan Peters will be joining us again this year. He was a Rookie last year who really showed us what he’s made of when his canopy decided to come undone during flight. He managed the mayday well and is back for more. His racer “Route 66” but is better known the old timers as Pooder, is a fan favorite.

Smokey Young, the President of the IF1 Class always gives the Rookies a speech at PRS about them being “the future of IF1 and air racing.” But, when the Rookies return for a second season it solidifies their future and the future of IF1.

Other notable returns include a dear friend of mine Ed Dutreaux in Slingshot. He took a two year hiatus, but is back. We wish you a mighty welcome back, Ed.

Caption: Thom Richard will be flying Tim Neubert’s Invictus
Photo credits Neal Sands.

Sport Biplanes

Nine of last year’s top ten qualifiers are returning and Miss Gianna, Jeff Lo’s winner from 2007 will be back. The Gold will be pretty exciting here also. Phantom will be back, with some small changes and some large. She is getting a new paint job and many of us are excited to see what the team will do. Norman Way is always competitive in “The World’s Fastest Pitts”.

Wake up early and watch the morning racers go. We also invite you to make it to the far end of the Pits where the IF1 and Biplanes are hangared. This area offers unusual access to both aircraft and pilots.

Caption: Dasher and Ruby post race
Credit: Anthony Taylor

Super Sport

The rules were changed this year to create a larger differentiation between Sport and Super Sport. Super Sport will no longer be limited to production kit airplanes and anything that has been properly tested and signed off is eligible as long as the engine is less than 1000 CID. This won’t produce any new designs for this year, but they think it will keep the class innovative for the future. Also, any fuels short of liquefied uranium are legal. (That’s direct from their class President – who is a comedian in the off season, fyi)

This year’s Super Sport entries include returning Super Sport winner Jon Sharp. His camp has been very quiet during the off season. After a spectacular qualifying session in 2008, what will he have up his sleeve for 2009?

Darryl Greenamyer attended PRS to renew his racing license for 2009. His team is working the bugs out of his geared 550. He was very fast at PRS, but he expressed dissatisfaction. He wants more, as always, Darryl is always very competitive.

Caption: Greenamyer will be back with Race 33
Credit: Marilyn Dash

Kevin Eldredge will be racing Relentless again this year. Much to his fans dismay, his souped up, fire breathing V8 Trace engine won’t be ready in time.

John Parker, as everyone knows, is working furiously to get his new Blue Thunder (Blue2) ready. We are all pulling for him. If you remember, the original Blue Thunder was lost in an incident right before Reno 2006. George Giboney flies the other Thunder Mustang, Rapid Travel. He was very fast at PRS and ran all week without even a slight glitch. He will be a solid contender Sophomore Racer.

Caption: George Gibony in his Thunder Mustang, Rapid Travel
Credit Steven Edmundson

Lee Behel bought Roger Claypool’s geared 550 powered Edge, Cyrano. He hopes to get it running fast enough to not get lapped. The airplane is a test bed for the engine and if things work out there will be more plans for the future. As always, we wish Lee great luck with his endeavors and appreciate his input to this column.
Team Driven will be in attendance with a Suburu Powered Lancair IV-P. This is another test bed for new technology with veteran test pilot Dave Morss in the driver’s seat.

There is a lot of anticipation around these new technologies. I am very excited about the future of Super Sport and what it means to the future of Aviation.

Sport Class

Lee Behel will be back in Breathless, the Beluga Lancair Legacy. Another fan favorite, we hope she is back to take the Sport Gold.

Jeff Lavelle has installed new pistons and other secret modifications this year in his Glasair III. Gary Mead was running very strong at PRS and will definitely be a contender in his Glasair III Lucky Mojo. Dave Sterling had an “epiphany” at PRS and finally got his engine to run right. He did a practice start and got over 300 KIAS down the chute and was ebullient upon landing. He is a sleeper, but may have something up his sleeve.

Tom McReynolds has been making steady progress on his Turbo Legacy, Poky. By refining both the airplane’s performance and his own he will be another force in the Sport Class. Pete Zacagnino is planning to bring an all new Turbo Legacy the fight this year. With Pete’s engineering background the airplane should be fast.

Can’t close without mentioning mild mannered Tony Crawford from Florida who has stunned everyone with how fast he can get his fixed gear Venture “Quick Chick” aka Chicken Little going during his grudge match with Jim Vitale’s SX 300. During the Sport Demo Race at Golden West this summer, Tony let it slip that he is completing an all new retractable gear Venture with a new race motor. He is liable to be the surprise of the season.


The T-6 Class is always filled with veterans. And this year, they didn’t have any PRS attendees. This is good, and bad at the same time. While they are flying with the same teams they have been with for years, attendance is down.
Notables in attendance include the champions from 2005, 2006 and 2007, Al Goss, Nick Macy and Dennis Buehn. Other notables missing from the list this year are both Dwelle Family entries, including last year’s Gold Champion, Tinker Toy.

Another notable that will not be in attendance is friend and competitor Gary Miller. Gary was tragically lost in an accident last month while practicing for an air show performance. He was flying Mystical Power. Blue Skies and Tailwinds, Gary; you will be missed.


The big news in the Jet Class was touched on last month. The Dehavilland Vampire being flown by Pierre Wildman is the coolest thing to hit the Jet Class since the Purple Fouga. The Fouga will be back as well as the two L29s with the Super Viper Engines. The remainder of the field will be the L39s which we have grown accustomed. Joe Gano’s Viper powered L29 will likely be flown by retired Astronaut and veteran racer, Curt Brown and the other L29 will be flown by Red Bull Air Racer, Mike Mangold. These two have a long history and are always very competitive.

While many people had written off the Jet Class, they are the fastest growing class at Reno these days. I hope they gain additional fans this year. They deserve it for all the hard work that goes into bringing these burners.

Caption: Pierre Wildman in his Vampire
Credit Jarrod Ulrich


Now… you ask, what is going on the Unlimited Division. Since it is “Silly Season” and lots of stories are flying around, I will tell you only what has been confirmed.

Rare Bear has a new paint job again. Hopefully this will be her last. The colors are distinctive and modern. I believe you will be surprised and she will grow on you. Nothing new on recent mods, but the three blade prop has been seen in excellent condition in the hangar. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Caption: The New Paint will be likely be a hit
Credit: anonymous

The Brown Air Force has all been sold to Lewis Aeronautical, the owner of Glacier Girl and Rare Bear. At this time, we know that Glacier Girl will be in attendance, not to race – but she is amazing to see in person. We are hoping for Bossman to make an appearance. Not confirmed, but I believe there is a good chance. Now, will Bossman race? I don’t know yet – but will let you know when I do.

Czech Mate was at PRS trying out some new modifications they made during the off-season. Sherman Smoot was fast and I mean wicked fast when he was on the clock during those practice days. The numbers we saw put her easily 20 mph faster than her previous best qual time. That little darling may be a giant killer again.

Caption: Sherman Smoot testing modifications made on Czech Mate
Credit – Marilyn Dash

Dreadnaught and Argonaut are both back in the skies after both went nowhere with engine problems in 2008. The Buick will be a contender in the gold once again. It will be nice to see them both back and a happier Sanders’ Family portrait.

After threatening retirement yet again, Howard Pardue will be back. Nelson Ezell will be flying Fury and Howard flying Bearcat. The real fun is to see who will steal Grumman the Monkey again this year. Who would do something like that? I think I might know, but I won’t tell.

The Sea Fury parade continues. Riff Raff is back, as is Sawbones, Spirit of Texas and Thibodeau’s Sea Hawk.

Dan Martin is bringing his Ridge Runner III. If you remember last time he brought her, he fought hard for the Gold in 2005 and ended up blowing the engine. He qualified in a basically stock P51 at just under 443 mph. He is making some changes and is throwing the number “465” around. Look for shorter wings and a racing Merlin. And hopefully, a happy Dan Martin.

Voodoo already has her new engine and canopy in place. And her 2nd year race pilot, Will Whiteside has been building his Fighter Time not just in Voodoo, but in the Collings Foundation Mustang as well. He will be flying Steadfast and Voodoo again this year.

No sign of September Fury, September Pops or Dago Red. Sorry folks. But, we do have a bunch of exciting new aircraft that will likely be chasing Tom Camp in Air Biscuit in the Bronze. Doug Matthews will be bringing his darling Corsair which he had at PRS. What a sweet machine. He may make it into the Silver, depending on the speeds he will get this year.

Caption: John Curtiss Paul in his P40
Credit: Steven Edmundson

John Maloney and John Curtiss Paul will be in the air with (most likely) two P40’s. And Bruce Wallace will be racing Jack Strehl’s T-28, The Bear.

Two highly anticipated aircraft on the initial registrants list include Jimmy Leeward’s Galloping Ghost. There are a few pictures flying around with the engine on her and new paint being applied. It would be great to see her make it there this year. Jimmy will also have Cloud Dancer. Good Luck, Jimmy and Crew – hope to see you with two in September.

Another long awaited rookie racer is Wildfire. She is on the entrant list again, but not enough good news is circulating for this to be a safe bet. I would love to see her there, but am not putting my hard earned money on it at this point.

Caption: Steven Hinton, Jr. with Strega at PRS
Credit: Marilyn Dash

Now, I have saved the best of 2008 for last. Strega has had some minor changes and one major one. Tiger has indeed retired (as of today, at least) and Steven Hinton, Jr. will be the new driver. He was at PRS and has been working hard with Tiger and with Steven Sr. to prepare. If you hear nay-sayers talking about how this young man isn’t ready, don’t listen to them. He has the pedigree. He has the teachers. And he has the Tiger. Best of luck, Stevo. I cannot wait to see you make your debut in #7.

There will be more news in the next issue preparing all of you for Reno in September. Get your tickets and your reservations now. In the meantime….

Fly Low, Fly Fast and Turn Left.
Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
The Pylon Place

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Legends over Madera and Rookies over Stead

This month we visited two terrific venues we wanted to share with you.

Legends over Madera

June started with the return of the Legends over Madera Airshow. Years ago, it was called the Gathering of Warbirds. And anyone who ever attended it has incredible stories to tell. Warbirds from all over the West Coast would come into town and the entire Central Valley would turn out to watch them. Apparently one year, nearly an entire squadron of B-25 Mitchell bombers made famous by Doolittle's raid over Tokyo, were in attendance. For some reason not totally clear to me at this time, the Gathering stopped. There were people in and around Madera that have tried to bring it back for years. And this was the year.

In four months, Joe Conway and his team did their best to revive the legendary show. The team put together one incredible event. It all started with a welcome concert on Friday night featuring Pilot, Airshow Fan and Country Music Legend, Aaron Tippin.

Aaron is a 2nd generation pilot. His dad, Tip, was also a pilot and Aaron wanted to fly at a young age. He spent some time flying professionally and was sidelined by the energy crunch in the early eighties when airlines were furloughing their pilots. He then made it to Nashville and history was made. However, Aaron’s love for flying and his constant support of Airshows and his Patriotism are legendary.

Caption: Aaron Tippin’s Concert Friday night
Credit: Anthony Taylor

The Show

We were treated to incredible static displays, ranging from warbirds and jets to home-built aircraft and antique biplanes. Rides were available in such varying aircraft as a P-51 Mustang, T-6 Texan, B-25 Bomber and a 1927 Travel Air Biplane. Bob Berwick brought his Travel Air from Sonoma and was seen giving rides to lucky Airshow attendees until sunset every day.

Aerobatic Activity included a single ship aerobatic routine with Chuck Hall in his P-51 and John Collver in his T-6, and then they joined forces for a two-ship session. This is the first time I have seen this new addition to the circuit and I am looking forward to seeing it again. Others who provided dual shows include Bill Cornick and his protégé Spencer Suderman, both giving single ship performances and joining forces later in the day for their finale. Bill Reesman MiG-17, Julie Clark T-34 and the Patriots L-39 Jet Team finished the line-up. The Patriots are currently the only Civilian four ship aerobatic jet team, and they are amazing to watch.

The show was a great success for the attendees and the performers. But the real winners are the Airshow Fans. What the Madera Airshow team did in four months is outstanding. They now have a full year to make it better. Ideas include lowering prices, more media coverage and moving the concert from Friday to Saturday night and bringing in larger crowds.

Madera Airshow - crowds were thin, but fun everywhere
Credit: Marilyn Dash

I can see the Legends of Madera becoming another “Go To” Airshow each year. Joe Conway, Stephen Davis, the Madera Jet Center and many others should be proud of their achievements of reviving a Phoenix.

Pylon Racing Seminar aka Rookies over Stead

Everyone was worried about the number of attendees we would have at Pylon Racing. Worry no more. The Racing Seminar was well attended and included some very interesting aircraft.

The Jet Class Fans were treated to the usual L39s and L29s with their hot engines. But, the star of the ramp was the Vampire. Yes, a Dehavilland Vampire Dh-115/T-11. Built in 1958, it was built by Pilatus, under contract to Dehavilland. The paint scheme is authentic to a Commander who flew the type. This is a Classic Jet and will be a crowd favorite in September, as it was at PRS in June.

PRS Vampire
Credit: Jarrod Ulrich

The Unlimiteds in attendance included two P40s, one flown by John-Curtiss “JC” Paul and the other by John Maloney. These two have incredible aviation lineage. John Maloney flew the P-40E nicknamed Sue after JC’s mom, Sue Paul. John is no Rookie to Air Racing; however the rules state if you have not flown on the course either qualifying or racing in the last three years, you must attend PRS. Watching John, you knew he was no stranger to the course.

Caption: John Maloney in the P-40E
Credit: Jarrod Ulrich

JC flew the P-40N nicknamed Parrothead due to the distinctive paintjob known as the Napier Field Parrothead. JC is the son of John and Sue Paul. They are the curators and memory keepers for the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa, ID. While it was JC’s first time at Reno as a Racer, he is no stranger to the sport, or to Warbirds.

Caption: JC Paul’s Parrothead P-40N
Credit: Jarrod Ulrich

These two aircraft were used in the recent Pearl Harbor movie and are on display at the family Museum, more on that later.

Another aircraft on the ramp during PRS but rarely seen at Reno these days included the T-28. Years ago, T-28s raced at Reno in their own class. However, the last time one flew in the Unlimited Class was 2000 with Skip Holm in the driver’s seat. The minimum speed to qualify in the Unlimited Division is 300 mph, just ask Tom Camp and his Wildcat, Air Biscuit. Time will tell if the T-28 will make the cut, but it will sure turn a few heads and make a lot of noise along the way.

Douglas Matthews attended PRS last year in his beautiful P-51, The Rebel. This year, he chose to bring his Corsair instead. She was painted in Luke Field colors with Douglas’ name emblazoned on the side, with his correct title, Lt. Cmdr (ret).

Steven Hinton was at PRS practicing with his new ride, Strega. Tiger Destefani has turned over the reins to his priceless Mustang to the young man, who also comes from a fine aviation pedigree. Stevo looked great on the course and we really look forward to seeing what he can do in September.

Sherman Smoot was in attendance at PRS for the first time ever with his ride, Czech Mate. Many speed modifications were completed this year and the team wanted to see what they could do on the course. They brought their own racing fuel and when he lit the fires, several of us had him timed at 472 mph a whooping 20 mph increase over last year’s qualifying time. Some nay-sayers remarked about the lack of pylon judges on the course. I have two things to say to them. Why would they go to all the trouble of bringing Czech Mate up to PRS to test the speed mods only to cut a few corners? And, she looked, sounded and appeared to be a whole lot faster than last year. The little Yak that could may just be a giant killer again.

Adding to the mix were the instructors Stu Eberhardt in Merlin’s Magic and Dan Vance in Lady Jo. All in all, it was a terrific group of aircraft and a fine group of pilots.

Next month will be the Reno Preview Column. The Deadline for entries has us with a full field in Unlimited and Jets and a nearly full field in all the other categories. Others may join the entry list as a late entry and will be conditional.


As many of you know, I’m a big supporter of Aviation Museums. Flying museums like Warhawk and Planes of Fame are my favorites, of course.

Warhawk is having their Salute to North American Aviation the weekend of July 11-12th. They have Col. Bud Anderson on the agenda as a guest speaker. Take the family and head out to Nampa, ID to support this terrific establishment. The same weekend the Planes of Fame museum in Chino will be hosting Yak Fighters. Go to their websites to see other upcoming events.

If you cannot make it to these shows, find the local Aviation Museum near you and head over there. Bring the kids.

Next Month

Currently in the works is our Reno Preview. Don’t’ forget to make your reservations as soon as possible and buy your tickets now. We are expecting you.

Fly low, fly fast, turn left…
Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Caption: Bob Berwick takes a break from “hopping rides” at Legends over Madera
Credit: Marilyn Dash

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chino Airshow Celebrates Grumman Aircraft

One of the finest Warbird Airshows in the world has to be the Chino Airshow hosted by Planes of Fame Museum, in Chino, CA. This year, the focus was on Grumman Aircraft and their fleet.

The gates open at 8am. For anyone interested in seeing these aircraft up close, they now have a “hot ramp” allowing people to get very close to the planes that will be flying during the day. This allowed lots of photo-ops for folks who would not normally get to stand next to a Bearcat or Tigercat.

Silver Wings Wingwalkers started the show. They are a crowd favorite and are especially popular with the kids. Wingwalkers are only as good as the pilots who keep them steady. Hartley Folstad and his wife, Margaret Stivers showcase wingwalking at its very best.

Minutes later, we watch five beautifully restored Grumman F8F Bearcats in close formation. And so it goes for the rest of the afternoon. It’s hard to choose favorites, so I’ll share with you how things unfolded.

Steve Hinton performed an amazing aerobatic display in a Tigercat. Aerobatic routines are generally done in tiny agile aircraft like my Pitts Special or the Zivko Edge. To see something as large as the Tigercat fluidly dancing through the sky, is truly a sight to behold. Only Steve Hinton could make that dance work. Amazing.

After a brief intermission, to allow arriving and departing flights and to give the Air Boss a chance to eat lunch. We now have the Korean War Air Flight which included a terrific fly-by of the MiG-15 with the F-86. Other aircraft sharing the sky during this demo include the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, T-6 Texan, several Hawker Sea Furys and a Skyraider.

Next up was the WWII Pacific Theater Fly-bys. This included several of the Grumman Aircraft including the SBD Daughtless, F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercats, along with the F4U Corsair, FM-2 Wildcat and the Japanese VAL and Zero. The European Theater Fly Bys included the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, The Lockheed P38 Lightning, P-51 Mustangs, and two B-25s.

Many Airshow Regulars have seen The Horsemen, a two- or three-ship Mustang Aerobatic Team who have performed all over the country. This year, The Horsemen have changed their stead and now have a show with a three-ship BEARCAT Aerobatic Program. There are very few times during an airshow that all the pilots get to their feet and walk to the rail to watch. During The Horsemen’s segment, all eyes were skyward. Jim Beasley, Ed Shipley and the newest Horsemen, Dan Freidkin put on a wonderful show. And if you believe the rumors, they may have a three-ship F-86 demo next year. Now that would be remarkable.

Brian Sanders and Argonaut performed next. Brian’s dad, the late Frank Sanders developed a smoke generating system for his airshow performances back in 1972. He was approached by NASA to create Self Contained Smoke Generators (SCSG) to study wake vortexes. The SCSG and the newer Smokewinder are products of the Sanders Smoke Technologies and are used to provide smoke systems which are completely independent of the engine. Most aerobatic smoke systems are designed around the engines. During this demonstration, Brian shows the SCSG on the wing tips of his Sea Fury. This is another crowd pleaser, especially for the young ones, because of how the smoke trails and lingers and forms different shapes. Brian flies a beautiful routine, definitely another highlight to any show.

Next up on the agenda is what we call the Gaggle of Warbirds. On Saturday, we were treated to 30 beautifully restored antique aircraft taking to the air in formation. This is an amazing sight to behold, and impossible to capture on film. On Sunday, due to a bit of attrition, we were down to 22, but it was still a spectacular sight.

The USAF provided a few demos for us late in the afternoon. The USAF A-10 Warthog Demo is worth the price of admission right there. The single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet was developed by Fairchild-Republic. An incredibly responsive and powerful aircraft, she has made the news with her firepower and her ability to bring pilots back safely after seeing some serious damage.

The appropriately named C-17 Globemaster was the final act in the show. This is a LARGE military transport aircraft developed by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to operating and forward bases around the world. She flies with a crew of three, two pilots and a loadmaster. Nearly 170’ wingspan, with a max takeoff weight of 585,000 pounds and she cruises at Mach 0.76. But, the thing that makes her so special is her agility. To see this giant move the way she does is truly awe inspiring.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about the Planes of Fame Airshow. I hope you will make a pilgrimage to one of their locations in the near future. The currently have two locations, one in Chino, CA and the other in Valle, AZ. They also put on wonderful educational programs throughout the year. Check out their website to learn more about the programs that are available.

One more comment, this was my first airshow with a camera in my hand other than my Blackberry. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I have added here. I hope to continue to learn the fine art of airshow photography.

Back to Air Racing News

Red Bull in San Diego

Last year’s champion, Hannes Arch had a serious bird strike at the San Diego race last month. He hit a pelican! This caused him to lose his lead and dropped him to third on the podium. Nicolas Ivanoff of France won his first race and Paul Bonhomme took second place. Current standings for the season still have Hannes in first, with Ivanoff nipping at his heals with Bonhomme just one point behind.

National Championship Air Races – Reno

It looks like we are still playing musical airplanes during the off-season. Frank Taylor recently purchased Dago Red. Yes, the same Frank Taylor who owned the slick racer years ago. We do not expect to see her at Reno again until 2010, but let’s keep our fingers crossed. Smart money has Skip Holm back in the driver’s seat.

Word is that both September Pops and Rare Bear both received new paint jobs last month. And we are looking at a low rookie count for Pylon Racing Seminar in mid June, but we’ll make the best of it. I have heard of some pretty exciting aircraft that will be in attendance at PRS. Next month, I hope to cover what happens at PRS and any other news coming out of Reno. Stay tuned, this should be a great year.

Fly Low, Fly Fast, Turn Left

Marilyn Dash

Ruby Red Racing


Caption – Three-ship Horsemen Routine in Bearcats


Caption – one of the Bearcats flown during the show

Credit : Marilyn Dash


Caption – The Lineup of Grumman Aircraft

Credit – Marilyn Dash


Caption - Two Tigercats in the air and one being fueled on the ground

Credit – Marilyn Dash


Caption – MiG 15 and F86 in Formation


Caption - Brian Sanders performs in Argonaut


Caption - Round Engines are notorious for their smoky starts

Credit : Anthony Taylor

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

After Hours at the Races

One of the hidden secrets of racing at Reno is the things that happen after the races have ended or before the crowds arrive.

Racers are required to be there by the Sunday before Race Week. It’s always fun to get there a few days early and watch the “arrivals”. Low passes and fly-bys are the order of the day. You wouldn’t want to miss the arrival of some of the big iron, especial the old Ione Air Force.

My crew and I usually arrive either Friday or Saturday to begin the Tech Inspections. Each class has Technical Inspections that happen before any aircraft is allowed on the race course. The classes all have different criteria they look for, and the inspectors also check for FAA requirements. Some inspections take a few hours, some go on for days.

In the Biplane Class, we have two gentlemen who go through our airplanes with a fine toothed comb. They are not looking to nitpick. They are looking to keep the airplanes and the pilots safe. Our Lead Tech Inspector is JC Brandt and he is assisted by his brother, Bob. These two have found many little problems and sometimes a few large ones.

My first race year, they found a hair brush under my seat – which had fallen out when I was retrieving my purse – and had not been there during my flight, HONEST! Well, the next day I had a case of Aqua Net Hair Spray in my Pit. Did I mention a good amount of teasing is done (pun intended).

Two years ago, they found a more serious problem. This inspection uncovered a structural issue with my race plane that needed to be repaired before they plane could fly again. I was actually envisioning taking the wings off and trucking the airplane home where repairs would take place.

Randy Goss, the son of famed T6 Champion, Al Goss, laughed at me and told me to go find Lonnie over at the Rare Bear Crew. He was apparently an Artiste with a welding gun. Two hours later, we were ready to go. It cost me a case of beer and I found friends for life. A year later, George Giboney and John Parker of Thunder Mustang fame were kind enough to help with another large issue.

This is also the time where we all reconnect. Many of us have known each other for 10+ years, however – we only see each during that ten day period in September. There are lots of hugs and chit chat and catching up over a beer happening during these early days.

One of the other events that take place includes the T6 Salsa Party. Each T6 team makes their Masterpiece Salsa. Beer, Margaritas and jell-o shots are shared along with the large trays of salsa and chips. Because of the nature of these people, the competition is fierce. Everyone works hard to make their best possible salsa. Mango, pineapple, hot, medium and mild; it’s all there. And it’s all in good fun.

One of the past events, which have sadly gone dormant over the years, is the tug races. Each team would have their tugs out and raced them on the taxi ways. I’ve heard the stories, but have never seen them. They have been replaced to some degree by golf cart races – but it’s not nearly as much fun.

After sunset, you will sometimes see the Unlimiteds come out to do “night runs”. Last year, Voodoo and 232 were out nearly every night entertaining the crowds. 232 let’s out some unbelievable flames that are quite visible in the darkness, as seen in the picture. I don’t think I missed a night run last year. All of them were breathtaking and ear drum breaking.

Just after sunrise, you will sometimes see the “dawn patrol” – again after a day and night of wrenching, some of the aircraft are taken up at the crack of dawn to test whatever modifications were done. These are always fun to watch as well. Last year, Strega was up several mornings during the week. Dago Red and Voodoo were also out for early runs. Many fans would come out a little early to see them take to the air.

Provenance Fighter Sales would have Margarita parties nearly every night when they brought a contender to the show. They had a little Tiki Bar set up and always had a crowd. I cherish all of my PFS shot glasses, t-shirts, hats and visors. I hope they bring another racer, the bar and blender again soon!

But, the grandfather of all race events has got to be the Warlock Party. I have attended for several years and wouldn’t miss it for the world. Nearly every racer and crew member attends, some for a few minutes, some stay late, and others dance and sing the night away.

Yes, there is a band. We affectionately call it the Warlock Band. There is singing, by Al and Randy Goss, Anita and even Sandy Sanders has taken the microphone now and again. Randy Goss and I have threatened to do a duet one year. Maybe 2009 will be the year!?

Al Goss is the man behind Warlock. He has the most dedicated crew and fan following of any non-unlimited team. Al has been racing since 1981. He has been a contender every time. He is a class act and a good friend. When I do something stupid, he shakes his head, when I do something smart, he nods his head. It is nearly indecipherable to most, but I know what he’s saying. He’s not a man of many words.

Weddings have occurred at the Warlock Party. In fact, we may have another one this year. What better way to start your life together than to get married during the Reno Air Races at the Warlock Party!

As you can see in the pictures, everyone is wearing their Warlock hat, visor, shirt, or jacket. I even have a Warlock Thermometer on my deck. Wearing your Warlock Gear is the highway to COOL! So, if you want to be one of the insiders at Reno, hop on over the Warlock Pit and get yourself some Warlock Gear. Say Hello to Al, Randy, David, and Anita.

Other news…

This month, I was hoping to do a story about Furias’ return to Reno. However, it looks like the team has decided that there was too much work to do and to make sure they weren’t rushed, they decided to aim for 2010 instead of 2009. I take my hat off to the team for making a tough but probably wise decision.

Pylon Racing School, aka PRS or Rookie School will take place mid June. The number of rookies this year is pretty low, so if you are thinking about racing your wings, head over the RARA’s website ( to learn more about it.

May brings us several awesome airshows and events, including the Red Bull event in San Diego. Hannes Arch won the first race of the year in Abu Dhabi. Paul Bonhomme and Nicolai Ivanhoff joined him on the podium in second and third respectively.

The Chino Planes of Fame Airshow is always a favorite for anyone interested in Warbirds. This year they will be honoring Grumman Aircraft. The Horseman will be doing their amazing formation aerobatics in three Bearcats. This is an amazing show, folks!

Watsonville and Madera Airshows are also on the agenda for May. Both of these shows are worth the weekend away to see some beautiful and rare aircraft.

Check your local areas for shows near you. And don’t forget to make your reservations for Reno as soon as possible. The Blue Angels will be there this year, for the first time since 2000.

Fly low, Fly Fast, Turn Left

Marilyn Dash

Ruby Red Racing


Credit = Tim Adams

Caption = September Fury during a night run

Credit – Tim Adams

Caption = Strategies are worked out before and after the races

Al Goss

Credit = Dr. Fred

Caption = Everyone’s favorite racer, Al Goss.

Warlock Band

Credit – Dr. Fred

Caption = The Warlock Band rocks the pits.


Credit Tim Adams

Caption: After the engine change, Voodoo does their night run.

early morning with Strega

Credit Tim Adams


Strega takes to the air for her Dawn Patrol