Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Tag: Reno Air Races Page 1 of 5

Flying Stories for December 7, 2012

There seems to be a real hit-and-miss thing going on with aviation writers lately. Only one link to pass along this week.

Also, no flying for me this week either. The Swift annual is still only partially completed and was due the end of last month. No estimate on the completion time – I’m not good at working in an unheated hangar in temperatures below 40 deg (F).  Yeah, I’m a wimp…

Perry Sisson, the individual who set up the “World Domination – the Day of the Swift” effort has published his tabulation of the day’s flying. It has also been covered in several aviation publications recently. The bottom line is that 102 Swifts went flying that day  from 4 countries (USA< Canada, Brazil & France) and, after correlating time zones he determined that 33 were in the air at the same time and a total of over 136 Swift hours were flown that day.  It was a great effort by all involved – there is already talk of trying to better the result with another event.

I was going to publish a separate post (a couple of months ago) on my time at the West Coast Swift Fly-in – I’ll add it to the bottom of this post to add a little more to this effort. Enjoy.

Pilot celebrates 100th birthday at controls of his airplane
This is from The Journal in Martinsburg, WV. Thomas Reynolds took his first airplane flight in a Ford Trimotor in 1929. It sounds like he has been involved in aviation one way or another ever since. He recently celebrated his 100th birthday by going flying in his Evektor SportStar. He always flies with a copilot now, but he is the pilot in command and does all of the flying himself. We should all be so lucky…

The 2012 West Coast Swift Fly-in

Flying Stories for September 28, 2012

No flying this week but I did spend some time out at the hangar. Most of the time I was cleaning up the ‘debris’ from the Races – taking out the trash and putting everything back where it normally resides. I push the Swift back in a corner and put a table and chairs in the middle, set up a serving table and get the BBQ ready to use during Race week.

I also did a little work on the Swift. I had been using a replacement top hatch (above the seats) since I bought the plane and decided to put the original one back on.  Swifts were made on an assembly line, but they are not all identical. There was a lot of individual fitting of parts in the final assembly, so each airplane is an individual example of the type. You can’t really tell by looking at two planes next to each other, but if you try to swap parts from one to the other you Find that they don’t quite fit together as closely as if they were on their original airplane. Such is the case with my top hatch.  It just doesn’t quite fit and with the speeds that this plane flies the resulting wind noise is more than I want to endure for long periods, even with a good headset.

I did a preliminary fit a couple of days ago and can already see the difference. It will just take a day or so of work to finish the change –  moving the hinges back to the original hatch and adding a small handle to open it from the exterior and a lock to keep it secure. There’s always something to do…

Here are some articles that you may have missed this week:

Unlimited Class Racer Strega in the 2012 Races

Unlimited Class Racer Strega in the 2012 Races

The Latest AOPA Live episode
This, obviously is from the AOPA website. The latest episode of their video magazine AOPA Live includes a couple of segments about the recently completed 2012 Reno Air Races. There is some good in-cockpit footage of one of the Sport Class racers going around the course. I should mention that the actual name of the even this year was “The TravelNevada.com National Championship Air Races by Breitling”. The Reno Air Racing Association had to get considerable financial help to pay the insurance premium required for this year’s event, hence the sponsorship names.

Alaska Living Legend of Aviation: Rod Judy
This is from the Alaska Dispatch. In the words of the editor:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Living Legends of Aviation project celebrates pioneers in the field of Alaska aviation who are still with us today. We’ve already taken a look at the lives of a few amazing men: Al Wright, Harold Esmailka and Bill Stedman. Today, we go along for the ride with Rod Judy.

Alaska Living Legend of Aviation: Bill Stedman
Alaska Living Legend of Aviation: Glen Alsworth
Here a couple more from the Alaska Dispatch, a second installment of their series that appeared this week. It’s nice to see aviation personalities being recognized for their contributions before they pass away.

Air Races–Wednesday & Thursday

Finally got some free time to sit and write a post. Thursday I hosted a gathering of USAFA graduates in my hangar and was tied up all day.

Here are some photos I have taken the past couple of days.

2011 Race qualification times

This is  a composite of the qualification times board(s) that are in the Biplane/Formula One pit hangar. I took this Wednesday morning. There were still a few qualification flights made later in the morning, but this is close to the final times for this year. The red one is a new record time – Strega’s 499.160 MPH.

Formula One with Biplane heat race

This shows a Formula One racer (Race 36, N-A-Rush) heading back to the pits while a Biplane Heat Race is forming up on the runway. The Formula One and Biplane racers take off all at once from the runway and head around the course. The timing starts when they cross the home pylon at the end of the start lap. All the other racers take off, form up in a formation gaggle and then cross onto the course from a ‘flying’ start.

Hawker Sea Fury, Race 71

A Hawker Sea Fury, Race 71 “Sawbones”  flown by Dan Vance.




Galloping Ghost, Race 177

Another view of Jimmy Leeward’s Galloping Ghost. You can see plainly the lack of the belly air scoop on this highly modified P-51.


T-6 Racers

T-6 racers positioned past the no-prop line in preparation for one of their Heat Races.


Sport Class Racer, Race 66

One of the Sport Class Racers, Race 66 “Jus Pass’s Thru” a Lancair Legacy.



Questair Venture, Race 71

Another Sport Class Racer, a Questair Venture, Race 71 “Bad Intentions” flown by Mike Dacey.  On Thursday in a heat race the engine quit and Mike had to make an emergency landing off a paved surface. The aircraft was destroyed (broken wing spar among other things) but Mike got out and walked away from the landing.

Aircraft Tug

Aircraft tug – named appropriately for towing Dreadnought and Argonaut.




T-6 Tail

Things to remember written on the tail of T-6 Racer.





Tigercat Nose Art

Nose art on Rod Lewis’ Tigercat, Race 1. Apparently the Military is now so ‘politically correct’ that aircraft with nose art may not land at an active base unless the nose art ladies have clothes on.  So much for historically accurate restorations.


Mash Helicopter

A restored helicopter was on display in the pit area. This particular helicopter was used during the filming of the Mash television show.


CanAm Race Car

Jimmy Leeward’s other ride. He is in the driver’s seat of this Can Am racer. The names written above the door are Bobby  Rahal, Jim Trueman and Bruce Canepa.  Oops, I have been corrected. This is an IMSA GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) Car. The photo I was sent was from the 1982 Daytona 24 Hr race.

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