Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Year in Review

Another year is in the books with some great highs and some devastating lows. I wanted to take the time to look back and celebrate the good and memorialize the losses.

Red Bull Air Racing was BACK!

If you read this column regularly, you know that I love Air Racing of any kind – especially the Closed Pylon Racing like we do at the National Championship Air Races in Reno. But, I also have a great affection for the Red Bull Air Racing Series.

After a three year hiatus, the series came back stronger than ever. Finishing the season at their Home-Drome with the Championship being decided on the last flight. Amazing year – Congrats to all, especially Nigel Lamb, the 2014 Series Champion!

Ruby and the Reno Air Races

At the Reno Air Races this year, Team Ruby did better than ever, in fact – we increased our top qualifying speed over 13 mph – from 178.7 to 191.9 --- so close to 192… And our goal was just 180!

We also gained a new Junior Crew Dude in Jill Corrigan. Team Ruby has consisted of Jason Fisher as Lead Baby Sitter and Crew Chief, the masterful Don Dull as our Technical Guru, Christine Dull as the Team Mom and Matt Williams as the original Junior Crew Dude. Matt took a one year hiatus and we needed Jill – and she was there to help! Welcome to the Family – and put your feet up – you’re staying for a while!

Team Ruby – Getting Ready for the Big Race
Photo by Anthony Taylor – Warbirdfotos.com


We lost two of my favorite aviators this year; Eddie Andrieni in May and Lee Behel in September. Both of them were inspirations to me and so many others. A true loss to Airshows and Air Racing respectively. You will never be far from my thoughts, gentlemen. Thank you for your leadership and your encouragement over the years.

And there are several other lesser known names that I keep in my heart – they are not forgotten.

One of the best, Eddie Andrieni
Photo by Anthony Taylor – Warbirdfotos.com

Next Year

What is in store of us next year? Well, we plan on attending more Air Shows in 2015. We will be at Chino – of course! Wouldn't miss it! In fact, Mooney International Corporation will be the lead sponsor again this year for the Planes of Fame Air Show 2015, (May 2 & 3). This year’s theme will be "A Salute to Veterans". They always put on a wonderful show – so we’re looking forward to this one!

Lee Behel and his beloved GP-5
Photo by Bruce Croft

The Reno Air Races will be held September 16-20th this year. And Pylon Racing School will be held June 17th – 20th. Get your race package if you're looking to race, or get your vacation time lined up and your hotel accommodations made now – so you don’t forget!

Sun-n-Fun is on our list again this year. We weren't able to make it last year – but it is such a great event, we definitely are putting that on our list.

And of course, Oshkosh. I was able to attend in 2014 and had a wonderful time – although I did end up tearing ligaments in my ankle and clumped away in a walking boot. But – I have high hopes for a successful Oshkosh EAA Airventure in 2015.

Finally - we must go to at least one of the Red Bull events on the calendar this year – Dallas or Vegas – where shall we go!? Maybe Budapest? Sochi? 

Hope everyone had an epic 2014 and is ready to start 2015 on the right track!

Thanks again to Anthony “Hopper” Taylor, Rob “Phred” Miller, “Jolly” Roger Cain, Bruce “20W” Croft and Tim Adams for all their wonderful photography I've used this year.

Until then.. Fly Low – Fast and Turn Left!

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Farewell to 2014 – let’s go 2015
Photo by Anthony Taylor – Warbirdfotos.com

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Red Bull Air Race 2014: Worth the Wait

After a three-year hiatus, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship came back in 2014 with dramatic action.

It all started when twelve of the world’s best pilots reunited in February for the season opener in Abu Dhabi. The new rules, which mandated standardization of engines and propellers, were created to level the playing field and to make the action tighter – and they did.

Fans were able to see the action at eight locations on three continents. Venues like England’s Ascot Racecourse and the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria completely sold out, and at the race in Gdynia, Poland – the officials had to close access to the beach viewing when they reached the mandated civic limit of 130,000. Now, that’s a crowd!

Other interesting venues included two in the USA – both racetracks owned by Bruton Smith; Texas Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While the Texas race was exciting and fun – though hot and humid, the Las Vegas race was sidelined by incredibly high winds which made the pylons unstable and the fans disappointed.

This year, the competition was closer than ever and made even small mistakes resulting in penalties much more costly over the season. It was exciting racing right through to the season finale at Red Bull’s home in Spielberg, Austria.

In the end, Britain's Nigel Lamb became only the sixth Champion in Red Bull Air Race World Championship history. At the wire, he beat local hero, Hannes Arch of Austria and Britain's Paul Bonhomme.
By finishing second, Lamb was able to amass enough points - after Hannes Arch ended up in fourth place due to penalties.

"It's just amazing," said Lamb, "I feel very lucky because I didn't think that my time was even good enough to get on the podium. It's an amazing feeling. It's a great day. It's an indescribable feeling."
Nigel Lamb flying through the Pylons at the finale in Austria

Nigel Lamb – Red Bull World Champion 2014

Nigel is well known in the Aerobatic Competition and Airshow Worlds. Born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), he was inspired to become a pilot by his father – a Royal Air Force Fighter Pilot in World War II. Nigel joined the Rhodesian Air Force and became qualified in Jets and Helicopters. Leaving the Air Force in 1980, he settled in England flying for the Marlboro Aerobatic Team.

An eight time British Unlimited Aerobatic Champion, he was a member of the British Team in three World Aerobatic and two Europe Championships.

He has also flown in several movies including a favorite of mine, Dark Blue World. He flew the Spitfire in some pretty incredible scenes in that movie. He also fly a P-51 Mustang in Hart’s War and was the Chief Pilot in Flyboys.

He is one of the few people I know who flies in so many different genres of aviation – from warbirds to jets to helicopters to competition to airshows to movies to Red Bull. That is an interesting career.

We congratulate Nigel on his hard fought win – and wish him the best of luck again next year.

Final Preparation for his Championship Winning Flight 

World Championship (final): 
1. Nigel Lamb (GBR) 62 points, 
2. Hannes Arch (AUT) 53, 
3. Paul Bonhomme (GBR) 51, 
4. Nicolas Ivanoff (FRA) 42, 
5. Pete McLeod (CAN) 38, 
6. Matt Hall (AUS) 33, 
7. Matthias Dolderer (GER) 21, 
8. Martin Sonka (CZE) 18, 
9. Yoshihide Muroya (JPN) 10, 
10. Kirby Chambliss (USA) 7, 
11. Peter Besenyei (HUN) 6, 
12. Michael Goulian (USA) 3;
2015 Race Calendar
1. Abu Dhabi (13/14 February)
2. Chiba, Japan (16/17 May)
3. Sochi, Russia* (30 /31 May)
4. Budapest, Hungary (4/5 July)
5. Ascot, Great Britain (15/16 August)
6. Spielberg, Austria (5/6 September)
7. Fort Worth, Texas, United States (26/27 September)
8. Las Vegas, Nevada, United States (17/18 October)
*To be confirmed

Photos used by Permission from Red Bull Air Races

Saturday, November 1, 2014

2014 NCAR Review – Part 2

Last month we reviewed the International Formula 1, Biplanes and T-6 classes from the 2014 National Championship Air Races held in Reno, NV.  This month, we will complete our review, highlighting the Sport Class, Jets and Unlimited Division.

Sport Class

This year, Jeff LaVelle broke two records.  In his Glasair III, Jeff broke his own record for Fastest Qualifying time and in Heat 1A he broke the fastest time in the race also.

Not sure what magic Jeff has in that aircraft, but it sounds awesome and looks great. And he is most likely not done tinkering yet. Always looking to increase his speed by a knot or two, he is one of the reasons to watch the Sport Class.

Jeff LaVelle does it again! 

Veteran Thunder Mustang Pilot, John Parker was nipping at his heels, but was denied in the end with a mechanical and a DNS for the Final.

Gary Mead qualified fifth, but through luck and attrition, ended up taking 2nd place. While Swiss Pilot, Peter Balmer qualified 8th in the only other Thunder Mustang racing this year – he finished 3rd. It was one of those years.

Sophomore, Andrew Findlay – sporting his new Sponsor Logo – Stihl, Inc – the chainsaw and power tool manufacturer, put up some great numbers and had a DNF during the Gold – but it is nice to see a major sponsor in the Sport Class! Go Andrew! Thanks, Stihl!

And, of course – the loss of Lee Behel is devastating to so many of us. He was a strong leader for the Sport Class and will be missed by so many of us. Bob Mills has moved into the President role of the Sport Class. Bob – you have VERY big shoes to fill. Good luck – we’re all counting on you. ;-)

Jet Class

The Jet Class has created a nice little village on the East Side of the field. They now have their own VIP section and have created a fun fan experience. I remember when they moved down to the other side, how the naysayers thought this was the demise of the class – but turning lemons into lemonade, they made the best of it.

Now they are the 2nd fastest growing class behind the Sport Class. And building more fans every year, who knew!?

This year, in his grand finale, Phil Fogg qualified first and finished first in the Breitling Gold on Sunday. Phil is a true racer, having started in the International Formula 1 class many – I mean a few - years ago. Great send off, Phil – CONGRATS!  It won’t be the same without you!

Phil Fogg battling Rick Vandam - thanks to Roger Cain! 

Rick Vandam qualified and finished 2nd while Pete Zaccagnino, Jeff Turney, Mark Pracy and Sean Cushing were trading places all week.  The final had Pracy beating out the others for third while Zac finished 4th and Rookie Sean Cushing finished fifth.

One thing I wanted to bring up this year – we had 4 different types of jets this year – including the usual L-39 Albatros, the L-29 Delfin, Lachie’s Iskra and Doug Matthews joined us in his Marchetti this year. While she wasn’t fast, she made for interesting viewing. Thanks, Doug!

Unlimited Division

Drumroll please… We now finish out the review with the fan favorite – Unlimited Division. While we had a smaller field than usual this year – the major players were all in attendance. Strega, Voodoo, Rare Bear, 232, Czech Mate, Dreadnaught and Precious Metal were all in attendance and ALL had the chance to win it all – depending on attrition, of course.

Voodoo did it again. Bob Button has put together a winning team with Stevo Hinton, Bill Kerchenfaut, JC Calkins, Mike Wilton, his son Dave Wilton, Steve Lamb, Michael Luvara, Bernie Vasquez, Rod Jackson, Jason Schillereff, Joel Policar, Ray Studniarz, Cecil Padilla, Tim McGahey, John Bond and Frank Young. And don’t forget – Tommy Gardner! (Did I remember everyone?) They made it look easy. They made it look fun!  

What is next for Voodoo? There are rumors about going for some records, including the 3KM and the Time to Climb. If we hear anything more concrete, we will share the news as permitted.

Winner and Still Champion! 

Strega qualified on her Ferry Engine – while Tiger paced the ramp waiting for the race engine delivery. He flew better than most people expected him to – (that’ll show ‘em, Tiger) – but was DQ’d on Saturday by the Contest Committee for “not maintaining course altitude”.

If you remember from some of my earlier writings – since the tragedy of 2011, the course altitude is now 250’ – and Tiger – while moving from last to first, raised it up well over the designated 250’ceiling. Once the race was over, he ended up with a Mayday and was no longer able to race – but if you talk with anyone in attendance that day .. that was THE BEST RACE EVER!

Another unfortunate finish was perennial bridesmaid, Hoot Gibson in 232. Who doesn’t love 232? But the last two years have not been kind to her, or Hoot or their fans. This year, she didn’t even make it to Qualifying. The rumor is 232 is for sale. There is so much potential in that aircraft – if you want to be in the Gold – this might be the race plane for you.

Rare Bear started out looking great. Stewart Dawson qualified second and finished his first 2 races in a strong 2nd place. But then – again – on Sunday – we witnessed the dreaded DNF/Mayday. Rare Bear is taking longer to work out the kinks than anyone expected. We can only hope that her owner, Rod Lewis, doesn’t lose interest. Fingers crossed!

Rare Bear was holding steady in 2nd place – until the Mayday

Czech Mate, the Giant Killer – was back in her top form this year. John Moore, LD Hughes and team plus Race Pilot, Sherman Smoot worked hard over the off –season and brought back a contender. Czech qualified in 3rd, finished the next 2 races in third (even after a pylon cut and a 12 second penalty). However, when it all counted – Sherman finished 2nd. Congrats to the entire team!

Dreadnaught, the jewel of the Sanders Racing Family, qualified 4th and ended up in 3rd on the final day due to lots of DQs and DNFs, etc.

Their Bristol Centaurus powered Sea Fury was flown by Korey Wells and Brian Sanders. 924 Qualified 7th and continued to be competitive in the Silver. She was then bumped to the Gold on Sunday to finish in 7th again.

And of course, Argonaut was flown by Mark Watt. Mark qualified in 8th place and after flying in the Silver, again bumped to the Gold on Sunday. He ended up with a DNF/Mayday in Sunday’s Gold. A very interesting Mayday – to say the least - as Stewart Dawson was making his way to Runway 14, Mark pulled off and headed to the not so great Runway 18. Breathe.

Czech Mate - 2nd Place

Sawbones was flown again this year by Commander Curt Brown and he had some great flights. Qualifying 5th, he ended up in 4th on Sunday – right behind Dreadnaught.

If you’re doing the math, that is FIVE Sea Furys: Dreadnaught, 924, Argonaut, 232, and Sawbones – with four different power plants 4360, Centaurus, 2800 and 3350. Now how is that for trivia?

Rod Lewis’ team brought La Patrona again – his spectacular Silver Tigercat. We were all hoping to see Rod back in the seat, but we were not disappointed to see Stewart Dawson pulling double duty and racing the Tigercat and the Bearcat. Nice work, Stewart!

Sparky and The Rebel were our only Stock P-51 Mustangs this year. Brant Seghetti and Doug Matthews (with a few flights by John Currenti) were there for the stocker fans. I remember not too many years ago we had several beautiful P-51s. I hope we see those days again soon.

Jim Tobul was our Rookie in Unlimited this year. He brought his unbelievably beautiful Corsair, Korean War Hero. He is based on the East Coast and does a number of Airshows each with Scott Yoak in Quicksilver – Scott’s P-51. (Side note: We’d love to get you to Reno too, Scooter!)

Jim and his crew were treated to a great learning experience this year and we certainly hope to see them again next year!

And finally, we have Precious Metal. The buzz for this aircraft is she has a ton of potential – but the team just needs to iron out a few things. This year, pilot – Thom Richard – wasn’t able to qualify due to an early Mayday. He then had to start at the back and work his way up. He easily handled the two stockers and the Corsair in the Bronze Heat – moving him to the Silver. They finished 1st in the Silver on Saturday and bumped to the Gold for Sunday.

Night Runs are ALWAYS EXCITING! 

Unfortunately, the course rules came down and ruined their race – having finished third on the course, Thom was DQ’d for breaking the Showline on the East Side. I remember in 2007 when Matt Jackson in Dreadnaught was surprised to learn that he had broken the Showline and was disqualified also.

While truly a miserable way to end the Race – Thom wasn't the first and certainly won’t be the last to be bitten by the Rules.

Tiger was DQ’d for flying too high, 2 Biplanes and an IF1 racer were DQ’d for flying too low. As long as there are rules, there will be infractions and those infractions lead to upsetting results for some.

Many of us were disappointed in the Social Media attack from the some fans. During a time when our beloved Reno Air Races are on steep and uncertain footing – threatening boycotts isn't really helping anyone. I hope we can all put the disappointments aside and work together to make a wonderful show in 2015.

Final thoughts…

There are so many racers for sale right now. If you are interested in getting involved … as a Racer, Crew Member or an Owner – get in touch with someone who races or contact me through my blog or through Facebook.

Let’s remember to fly fast, turn left – and fly not too high, and not too low.

Thanks, EVERYONE, for a great year! 

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
Pylon Place

Special THANKS to Anthony "Hopper" Taylor for providing the photos for this month!
Warbird Fotos

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 NCAR Review – Part 1

The 2014 National Championship Air Races (NCAR) will be remembered for record breaking moments, many infractions and one terrible loss. Let’s get started in Part 1 of our two part review

International Formula 1

IF1 already had a great year. They were able to add a race in Spain earlier this summer with a handful of our racers heading over there to race and monitor the event. It seems there will be even more races for them in 2015. That is great news for a truly competitive class with a reasonable financial entry point. (Hint– to all those wanna be racers out there!)

This year at NCAR, the racing was amazing as always. So many of these race planes are evenly matched which creates close, competitive racing.

Steve Senegal in Endeavor set a course record with 267.289 mph, beating Jon Sharp’s old record of 263.188 set in 1999. Senegal also took the Gold on Sunday for his 5th win. Congrats to Steve and Team Endeavor!

Steve Senegal in his Record Setting Racer, Endeavor
Credit: Anthony Taylor – http://warbirdfotos.com/

Last year’s winner, Vito Wypraechtiger qualified third behind Steve Temple in Madness. Madness was later DQd for low flight in a Gold Heat and was moved back to Silver only to move back to Gold later in the week.

Elliot Seguin and Justin Phillipson qualified 4th and 5th respectively – finishing with Justin in Third and Elliot in Fourth. Again, great, competitive racing – fun to watch – if you wake up early enough!

Congrats to the whole crew. IF1 seems to have their future dialed in and I know it will be fun to watch!


Tom Aberle also broke a record this year – his own - going from 260.811 mph to 274.091. This was partially due to a change in the course length for the biplane class, and partially due to magic. That’s the only thing that makes sense – having a normally aspirated 360 cubic inch engine on a biplane go that fast – it must be magic.

The reason the course length was changed was to continue the consistent 3.0 Gs at the fastest potential lap. From the RARA Rules:

IN 2003, RARA chose to employ an OPTIMUM RACE PATH based upon a speed and G-force provided by each Race Class to determine the minimum radius turn and a more representative circuit around the pylons. No pylons were moved at that time, yet the course lengths increased due to the difference in distance between pylon to pylon (straight line distances) and a curved track which is more representative of the path that can be flown.

Therefore, the Biplane Course is now 3.3417 miles based on a speed of 275 MPH and 3.0 Gs.
Jake Stewart and Karl Grove kept the heat on Tom during the week. Unfortunately, Tom was unable to compete on Sunday – so in the end, Jake Stewart was crowned the victor in Bad Mojo.

Biplane Winner, Jake Stewart in Bad MojoCredit: Anthony Taylor – http://warbirdfotos.com/
Team Ruby (me!) moved into the Gold. Probably the best laps I’ve ever flown just happened to be my 2 qualifying laps on a perfect Tuesday morning. This put me on the back row of the Gold Races and gave me the privilege of being passed by Tom – several times.

We ended up 5th in the Gold because of two low flying calls for racers finishing right in front of me. So, a Fifth in the Gold – and my best previous result was Third in the Silver. We were happy to say the least!

Another word about Biplane Racing.. if you are interested in racing with us, let me know and I’ll help you get the right information. We are a great group of people who love competing and flying.

Team Ruby before the Sunday GoldCredit: Anthony Taylor – http://warbirdfotos.com/


This class abides by a very strict set of guidelines. Race planes must be one of the three different types and variants of WWII trainers – the AT-6, Harvard, or SNJ. They use 650 HP, nine cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engine. Teams are not allowed to increase the cubic-inch displacement of their P&W power plant. However, they may optimize the engines by balancing the pistons, polishing the heads, cylinders and blower and even polishing the carburetor. Teams are also allowed to remove the rear seat to reduce weight. The T-6 Class course is 4.9352 miles based upon a speed of 250 MPH.

This year, Dennis Buehn was unbeatable qualifying first and finishing each race in first place. John Lohmar in Radial Velocity was a strong and consistent second place. Chris Rushing in Baron’s Revenge was a solid third place.

Dennis Buehn in Midnight Miss III
Thanks to Roger Cain

The T-6 Silver had Joey “Gordo” Sanders taking the win. If you were anywhere near their pits this year, you probably met some or all of the stars of Airplane Repo from the Discovery Channel. Mike Kennedy was an alternate pilot for Gordo. Kevin Lacey is a regular at NCAR and any other fun aviation event. He was accompanied this year by Heather Sterzick, the newest member of the Repo crew.

Part 2

That’s all for now – but stay tuned for the next edition – where we’ll review the results from the Sport Class, Jets and Unlimited.

Until then, you know the drill… Fly low, fast and turn left.

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Monday, September 8, 2014

RIP - Lee Behel

TwoZeroWest Photography: 2012 Reno Air Races &emdash; Lee Behel in "GP-5"
Photo courtesy of Two Zero West

The Reno Air Racing family mourns the loss of a wonderful friend and competitor.

Earlier this year, Lee broke several records in his beautiful GP5.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Twas two nights before Reno.... by Karen Mross

Twas two nights before Reno
The car is not packed.
The plane is ready.
So at least there's that.
Not that we do much
We race as is
Thankfully our pilot's
One of the best in the biz.
This annual trek
To our high desert home
A whole 'nuther family
And memories roam.
The sound of the engines.
The crisp morning air.
When even a run up
Can make your day fair.
Old friends and new ones
Await a great week.
To Race at Reno
It's not for the meek.
A Carmelite Covent
Keeps us all in their prayers.
I am so thankful just
To be headed up there.
Here's to a week of glorious racing
And fun for the pilots and crews.
The 51st Air Race is about to begin.
The best of the best at what they do!

Gracefully submitted by Karen Morss
Wife of Dave Morss
Both are mentors to so many of us! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Reno Air Races – 2014 - Here we go!

The 51st National Championship Air Races are just around the corner. While the teams are putting the final touches on the racers, packing the tools and trailers and trying to remember what they forgot, let’s take a look at what to expect.


At this point, we have 14 aircraft on the roster. Again, the numbers are down, but the FAST ones are all scheduled to be there.

Last year’s winner, Voodoo, will be back to challenge all comers. The team has been working diligently all year to make some secret speed mods. They expect to be faster than ever and have 3 engines to utilize. One for Qualifying, one for Racing and one to make sure they get home.

Nelson Ezell and his crew believe they have found the missing horsepower in the Rare Bear’s 3350. Stewart Dawson will be in the pilot seat once again and ready for the challenge. Will all of their hard work pay off? I certainly hope so!
After a catastrophic inlet failure last year, Rare Bear’s little sister, 232 is also ready for the Gold. Sanders Aeronautics and AeroChia have done their magic on the inlet.  Hoot Gibson is back in the pilot seat and Sea Fury fans are looking for everyone’s favorite astronaut to finish in the top three.

Sea Fury 232 could be a spoiler this year

Strega has been a giant question mark again this off-season. First Tiger was retiring her, and then coming back. Then, he attended PRS, but didn’t fly. Then rumors of her being sold, and then unsold. No rumored sightings of Strega test flights and no good gossip. What will we see on the ramp? I hope we see Tiger and Strega in all their glory!

Will Strega be there? 

After coming back from a wild few years of changes by the Shafter Skunk Works, Czech Mate was in impressive form last year, only to suffer a landing incident after the races.  Another year of hard work and they are back again. We look forward to the mighty Yak and her grand pilot, Sherman Smoot, to make some waves out there.

Will the Giant Killer bring home the win this year

Dreadnaught had a difficult off-season but will be ready to go – as they always are. Brian Sanders is the primary pilot this year and we look forward to him doing what he does best.

The Precious Metal team has been working all year on the Griffon Powered Mustang. Haven’t heard any good gossip about speeds or mods, but we know they are looking to win. Good luck to Thom and the team.

The final likely Gold Competitor, Sawbones, had a gear collapse a few months ago and the team has been burning the midnight oil getting ready for the races. She will be there again this year, with a hard working crew and Curt Brown in the pilot seat.

Miss America has decided to stand down this year. I know I will miss having her on the ramp and will miss the team from Oklahoma led by pilot-owner, Doc Hisey. All the best to you guys, I hope we see you again on the ramp.

You Tigercat fans will be happy to know that La Patrona, Rod Lewis’ beautiful Tigercat will be there. And Corsair fans should be happy to know that Jim Tobul is bringing his gorgeous Corsair to race for the first time.

Doug Matthew will have his stunning Mustang, The Rebel and the Seghetti’s Sparky will also be there. Sanders will be bringing their other 2 Sea Furys -- Bristol-powered, 924 and 2800-powered, Argonaut. 

Sparky! The Jelly Belly Mustang! 

This group should lead to some amazing racing. I cannot wait to see who walks away with the big trophy on Sunday! Is in the year of the round engine? Or will Merlin Power take another one? How about that Griffon?


The Sport Class has the largest number of entries ever this year! Again, they will be running four races, instead of just the usual three. Will Jeff Lavelle be our winner again this year? Or maybe John Parker in the Thunder Mustang will be the one. Will Kevin Eldredge with his Titan Engines Sponsorship make some waves? Or, will it be Lynn Farnsworth in his Super Legacy or someone else?

The Sport Class will be exciting, with so many fast aircrafts and interesting aircraft.

Aberle’s Phantom is the favorite again this year.  Jeff Rose is bringing his new Mong – Reno Rabbit and Jake Stewart will have Bad MoJo there. Both these aircraft could be spoilers.

I will be back in Ruby this year. So, stop by the Biplane Hangar and say HELLO!

Dasher and Ruby are BACK in 2014

Last year, Vito Wypraechtiger was able to capitalize on a small mistake by favorite, Steve Senegal to capture the win. This year, we expect Steve to be the favorite again in Endeavor.

With only 13 entries this year, I know IF1 will be working on adding new members to their class. So, if you’re interested in racing next year in any class, especially Biplanes and IF1, let me know!

The teams in IF1 have a great time balancing hard work and fun!

Last minutes withdraw from John Zayac leaves the race to returning veterans Dennis Buehn and Nick Macy. But keep an eye on Mike Kennedy, from Airplane Repo fame to have the crowds around this year.

Seventeen jets are scheduled to race this year – including a Marchetti S211, a Dehavilland Vampire and the Iskra. All the others are the usual L29s and L39s.

This is now the second largest Class at Reno. Interestingly enough, the two largest classes are also the newest. Coincidence? 

Wrap up…

I know that the Reno Air Race Association (RARA) has an exciting show planned with Concerts, Drone Races and a great list of Performers.

Live Airshow TV will be airing the races on their website this year also, so you should be able to watch from your cubicle if you weren’t able to get the entire week off to join us. 

Again, I wanted to give a special thanks to all my fellow Air Racers, Pilots, Owners, and Crew Members for putting in the time and making this event so special every year. And to the people of RARA, thank you for continuing to innovate to build momentum; to the volunteers for giving your time and making it happen; and to the fans who come out each year in heat, cold, rain, and snow, to watch us do what we love.

See you there!
Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

All Photos used this month are from Rob Miller and Anthony Taylor – Thank you, Phred and Hopper!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2014 Unlimited Racing Roster

This is what we have as of August 1st - there are always changes. 

More soon! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Airventure Cup 2014

As we are going to press, we are still enjoying our time at Airventure 2014, or, as it is commonly known in the Aviation World as Oshkosh.

The AirVenture Cup just wrapped up for the year. This year going from Mitchell, SD to Mankato, MN and then on to the finish line at Wausau, WI. At that point, everyone would fly to Oshkosh to put their aircraft on display and spend the next week telling stories about their adventure on the 400 nm race course.

This year’s AirVenture Cup is the 17th running and celebrates the world's fastest cross country air races. Harking back to the spirit of the Bendix Trophy, the AVC is flown to “unite aviation's rich history with its promising future.” 

This year’s AVC had several familiar faces in the ranks. Creighton King of Formula 1 and Cassutt fame was there, and unfortunately had a canopy issue and did not make it to Oshkosh as he had hoped. He is busy repairing some damage so he can make Reno. Fingers crossed, Creighton!

The Sport Class was well represented, with Lee Behel and his son Jay competing against each other and Vicky Benzing in her new Lancair as well as John Parker, Tony Crawford, Charlie Greer and Klaus Savier putting in their appearances.

John Parker and Blue Thunder II

It is nice to see the racing spirit moves from one venue and type of racing to another. All in the name of SPEED!

By now many of you have heard of the demise of Miss Picabo, the stunning Thunder Mustang built by Fred Roscher and flown last year by Brant Seghetti in the Sport Class. Fred went to PRS in June hoping to race his own this year. Unfortunately, Miss Picabo is a total loss after an off airport landing. Fred and his passenger, Jim Adams are okay. And that’s what really matters.

Fred Roscher in Miss Picabo

More on the Sport Class…

The news from the Sport Class is all good, with 40 entries flying in 4 heats, the Sport Class is getting ever more popular.  Within the Class they are now awarding beautiful “type” trophies for the fastest airplane of a particular type any time they have two or more of any type.

Sophomore Andrew Findlay has new turbos for his airplane is promising a lot more speed. Jeff Lavelle will be back and as fast as ever.  John Parker plans on pushing him—and based on his qualifying speed last year, he just may be able to do it.  Kevin Eldredge will bring Relentless with the full support of Titan Engines behind him, so he should be something to watch.  

Lee Behel will have the GP-5 fresh from his World Record setting flights in Mojave earlier this year. While Lynn Farnsworth has Aerochia’s undivided attention this year, so expect him to be fast as well.

The tally shows 2 Thunder Mustangs are entered, 4 Super Legacies, 2 Super Glasairs an NXT, and a GP-5! They won’t all make it into the Gold Championship—one or more will be Silver.  Imagine that much speed! 

Lee Behel racing in the Jet Class in American Spirit

Bottom line is – Lee and his team have done an amazing job of publicizing and leading the Sport Class. I remember their first years on the ramp with just a few aircraft. Things have changed.

More News

Next month we’ll cover more about what to expect in each of the classes. But for now, we know RARA is expecting 18 Unlimiteds and relatively full fields in all the other classes.
If you haven’t already done so, buy your tickets and we’ll see you on the ramp!  

Special thanks to Anthony Taylor for his photos again this month!

Until next time.. Fly low, fast and turn left!

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pylon Racing Seminar – 2014

A record number of attendees joined forces at Stead Field outside of Reno, NV to qualify and practice for the 51st National Championship Air Races to be held September 10-14th.

The 2014 PRS Graduating Class


International Formula 1 continues to earn their name – by the addition of Frenchman, Christophe Delbos flying Spaniard, Bill Paradi’s aircraft, N-A-Rush. Bill and his new wife are expecting a baby around the same time as the races, so Bill asked Bobos to fly his plane for him. (This is very bad timing, Bill!).

Some of you may remember Christophe (aka Bobos)  from the Big Frog Racing Team in the Sport Class. The Diesel-powered NXT flew only one year before the engine failed and Bobos had an off field landing, Strawberry Fields Forever.  He’ll be back in another Sport racer in the future – but will be an IF1 racer this year.


Biplanes added three new Rookies to their ranks. Father and son team, Alan and Brian Hoover, recently purchased Brett Schuck’s Pitts. Brett raced it last year and decided to move to a 2-seat Eagle this year. So, the Hoovers bought his Pitts. Also, Philip Ensley will be sharing flying duties with Casey Erickson in her Pitts.

Jeff Rose, a rookie last year in his Pitts, recently purchased Frank Jerant’s old Mong, Reno Rabbit. He wisely brought it to PRS to get some time on the course – knowing he would be seeing 40-50 mph increases in speeds from last year. His dedication to the sport will be chronicled in a future column. Stay tuned for more on Jeff and his team.


The Jet Class is also seeing some international flavor with Charlie Camilleri from Australia coming back to finish his certification this year. Terry, “SkinS” Fornof was also back this year – passing easily. Doug Matthews was on hand with his SIAI-Marchetti S.211. We hope we’ll see it racing this year. Otherwise, it’ll be a collection of L29s and L39s rounding the course again.

Doug Matthews’ SIAI-Marchetti S.211


The best thing to happen to the T-6 Class was their Club House. Jerry Thurman of Reno, NV has provided the T-6 Class with access to his wonderful hangar for PRS and the Races for several years now. This has increased the camaraderie of that group and developed a special air around the whole thing. Strong leadership and a tightly knit group have made this a solid class.

This year, Gordo Sanders not only joined the ranks as an instructor, but he also provided Mike Kennedy of Airplane Repo Fame, with instruction and loaned him his T-6, Big Red, for PRS. A total of six students joined the T6 class, giving them a very good chance of having a full field this year.

T-6 Lineup


The Sport Class originally had 15 students signed up, for some reason only 11 attended. I wish all the classes had 11 Rookies!  The students brought a collection of aircraft from more RVs (6, 7, and 8s), to Thunder Mustangs, Harmon Rockets and even a few Long-EZs.

This year, we even had an Engagement as part of the PRS entertainment. Andrew Findlay asked his lovely girlfriend, Jackie Fair, to marry him… right there at PRS. Congrats to you both!
Other good news in the Sport Class, early information says that Daryl Greenamyer’s Lancair Legacy has been sold and will be at the races in September. I am waiting for confirmation – and the lifting of the cone of silence, before I share more on this interesting deal.

Again, a strong leadership group and a close knit community have created great success in the Sport Class. I have said this for years, but THIS is the class to watch for the future.

One of my favorite paint schemes – Alan Crawford’s Lancair Legacy


And now, the Unlimited Class.  While 4 students (3 rookies and a returning racer) had signed up for PRS, no one actually took the course. Why? Good question.

Jim Tobul had signed up to attend. He is a very highly respected Warbird pilot on the East Coast in his gorgeous Corsair. Unfortunately, a few weeks before PRS, he had a landing incident which changed his plans. He is hoping to get the Corsair back on her feet and ready to go by September, and wanted to attend PRS for Ground School only – hoping to be able to complete the airwork before the races.

Jim Lawrence and Trevor Merton also attended PRS – saying they were working on purchasing “a couple Mustangs” before the races. Hmmmm… okay. We all know a few of them for sale… even RACING Mustangs. So assume there is something interesting in the works.

Tiger Destefani was there to get re-certified in Strega. Since he hasn’t raced since 2008, he is outside of his race certification and needs to go through PRS again. Strega was there, but again - - he didn’t take the course. Not sure why – rumors were flying, but airplanes weren’t.

Who will fly Strega this year? 

So, while the Unlimiteds had students, no one passed PRS because there are both ground school and airwork components. The newbies are talking about racing in September, but none of them has completed the airwork. Right? So, the only way to get them certified is to have another PRS-lite.

For many years now, RARA and the FAA have required the Racing Classes to put together their Racing Training Syllabus and have it reviewed by both governing bodies. If the Unlimiteds were to change their training, they would need to clear it with the FAA and RARA. Not an impossible feat, but not a walk in the park either.

Several racers have said that it is difficult to bring their aircraft from the East Coast, for example, to Reno for PRS and the Races – and it would be easier for them to have the airwork done around Race time. And, if the Unlimiteds get a “Second PRS” – do the other classes get that chance, too?

We're hearing rumblings that there may be up to 18 Unlimiteds there in September - that would be great news!

More good news, I have put my paperwork in to race Ruby again this year.  We’ll be keeping an ear out for interesting Air Racing stories while we all get ready for the 51st National Championship Air Races.

Until then, Fly low, fast and turn left.

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
Unicom Buzz
Pylon Place