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