Reno Air Racing: Reno '98 Action Report
All Aviation FlightLine OnLine RENO 98! -UPDATE-

RENO '98
Miss Ashley II: Breakfast of Champions!


Racers often feed their engines some fairly exotic mixtures in order to increase performance.... Sometimes they bite off more than they ask for! We pestered the crew of the Courtaulds Aerospace "LearStang", Miss Ashley II, all week long for information on the Nitrous injection situation, boost levels, speeds etc. No way did we ever suspect they had a secret formula to feed the monster V-12 Griffon-58 hiding under the slick custom built cowl!

All kidding aside.....We've just learned of a "sticky" situation for the slick Red & White Levitz/Rogers racer that happened during the Sunday main event at Reno '98. We reported in an earlier update of the problems that had cropped up for pilot, Gary Levitz, shortly after race start. All of the engine gauges pegged unexpectedly, the cause of the anomaly was unknown at the time. When we talked to MA2 designer/builder, Bill Rogers, on Sunday shortly after the race, all he could say was "we pushed it, she had her tongue hangin' out" in explanation for the gauges pegging.

During a flight on Monday, following the race, Gary reported a definite problem with high temps showing on the gauges, nothing he tried would bring the temperatures down. Back in the pits during a tear-down of the induction system, the story began to unfold. Gary had reported during Sunday's race, that "something just hit the canopy". As the curious MA2 crew dug into the engine, traces of blood and bird found within the intake duct and carburetor completed the mystery! "It shows just how efficient those NACA ducts are" a surprised Bill Rogers told us during a Friday conversation.... Miss Ashley II had sucked a nearly complete (er...well we did say *something* hit the canopy:) Seagull into the induction system at extremely high power settings, pulverizing the unfortunate aerial observer. (just shows how important those deadlines are:)

A further tear-down of the engine, along with a video borescope inspection are scheduled. Bill believes the Griffon's flame arrestor, which is a mesh screen to keep backfires from going into the induction system, will be nearly totally restricted with remnants of the hungry Griff's lunch.

Stay tuned for updated information on this ..... sticky ....situation.

story and photos: Wayne Sagar

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