All Aviation FlightLine OnLine RENO 98! -UPDATE-

And the Action Begins!

FlightLine Update 5/18/98-

"Mr. Awesome Returns" in Question

In a previous article   we reported that Mr. Awesome , a.k.a. Red Heat, was nearing completion of work needed to make it race ready for Reno '98. This appraisal may have been a bit optimistic. The aircraft is currently located at RB-Airframes at the old Perrin AFB in Texas. After a conversation with the man in charge of restoration, Terry Rogers, the following has been confirmed. The wing had some minor structural problems, the trailing edge was a bit bent-up but the bladder tank, particularly the header tank, was in need of some serious attention. The work to ensure that the wing is in race ready condition is nearly complete "we have just about finished the wing on the yak and the only thing we have left is fabricating the fuel vent system". Safe to fly is one thing, safe for racing is an entirely different affair, requiring very strict attention to structural integrity and detail. Although my conversation with Terry was brief, I was instantly impressed by his knowledge and enthusiasm. Getting back to the restoration; with the wing work close to completion, and fuselage due to arrive shortly at RB-Airframes for its turn under the skilled hands and watchful eyes of restoration master Terry Rogers, we ask the question: Will Red Heat race at Reno in September? Terry's comment that [the aircraft] "probably wouldn't be ready" casts a shadow on our dream to see this hybrid compete this year. The project is in the hands of the craftsmen at RB-Airframes and we can still hold out hope for the work to be completed and all certificates issued, allowing the aircraft to compete at Reno '98; However a realistic assessment at this point is cautious optimism.

Red Baron, Alive and Well

The really good news from Terry is the prospect that the RB-51 Mustang Red Baron mightagain grace the skies with her presence. This aircraft was nearly destroyed in a crash during the final lap of the 1979 Unlimited Class Gold Race. Currently housed at RB-Airframes, it is an ongoing restoration project. Terry states "we're hot on the RBaron and have all the parts for the aircraft ..... the fuselage will be completed within approximately 30 days". But as most know, time is what will make this aircraft flyable once more, and in this day and age, it is a limited and precious resource. When asked about when the aircraft would be ready for competition Terry comments "in about 3 years, it should be ready". Timetables not withstanding, I can’t wait to see her. Although three years may seem like an eternity right now, this is all based upon the fact that this is a "spare time" project of RB-Airframes. As Terry puts it " Who knows what will happen over time. The aircraft is our project at the present, but everything has a price". As we all know, things have a way of happening once money starts getting involved.

It should come as no surprise that Terry is the brother of Bill Rogers, who is the co-owner and designer/builder of the Courtaulds Aerospace sponsored Reno Air Race entry, Miss Ashley II. Terry's company was instrumental in the development and construction of the hybrid Lear winged and tailed P-51 look-alike. It is certain that these professionals build to exacting standards and Miss Ashley II is just one outstanding example of their expert craftsmanship and dedication to aviation classics and this sport.

Dago Red

We really missed this aircraft at last year’s event, but the future holds bright for it’s return in ’98. According to Dan Stout, representing the new owner of Dago Red, Terry Bland, the aircraft is currently hangared at Saint George, Utah. The team intends to fly her down to southern California in early summer for preparation for this year’s Reno event. Initially slated for the driver duties is none other than famed race veteran, Bruce Lockwood, who is reported to be very enthused about campaigning this aircraft as primary pilot. Bruce has flown this aircraft many times for David Price and is extremely familiar with it, and the race course. It’s hard to imagine a better choice for these duties. Also of interest ; Dan stated he was on his way out to purchase a utility trailer for Dago - of the semi variety - to be used to carry the spare engine and other spare parts for maintenance of the aircraft to Reno. Although you can’t be sure until the drop of the green flag, the team is planning to attend Reno '98 and making things happen to assure they do.

( just for the record, in this reporter’s humble opinion
- Dago Red- will be the one to watch for ’98. -Mark-)

Critical Mass

Last year's final races were exciting indeed, especially for some of the competitors! The veryfast Hawker Sea Fury, Critical Mass, had to pull out of the Silver event, with veteran race pilot, Skip Holm calling a mayday when metal fatigue caused a sizable piece of the cowling to tear away and embed itself into the tail of the plane. We'd been wondering just how the team had been progressing with the repairs since we had heard at the race that they were planning extensive work on her.

We recently heard from Crew Chief Tom Dwelle, Jr. "Race 10 is currently awaiting delivery of a 3350 from Aircraft Cylinder and Turbine. The new -93 based version should have significantly more horsepower than the stocker we've been running. Add to that a new firewall forward, wing fairings and vertical stab and it's going to be the standard push to get it flying for September. Our TACO BELL sponsor has been tremendous." MORE POWER..... this is ALWAYS good news!

More classes, more power, more airplanes, more racing........No doubt about it.....
Reno '98 is shaping up to be a "cant miss" event!!

That’s about it for now. Rest assured we’re still digging for "the good stuff" on this years Reno National Championship Air Racing event. All Aviation FlightLine OnLine is dedicated to being THE source for air race information. There are a lot of other "rumors" floating around, but we'll go to the source before it’s reported. You can take that one to the bank!

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(article written by Mark Kallio and Wayne Sagar)
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