All Aviation FlightLine OnLine RENO 98! -UPDATE-

And the Action Begins!
Part II

FlightLine Update 8/12/98-

Reno ‘98 is right around the corner..... and to the race fan this means preparing for the yearly pilgrimage to Stead Airport, as well as the building anticipation for what we feel is the most exciting event of the year. Gearing up for this is almost as much fun as the event itself. All this suspense often results in an almost predatory quest to seek out all available information on the races, the teams and the aircraft that are going to be there [as well as those that aren’t]. However sifting through all this information can be a daunting task at best. Information *is* out there - yet many rumors start cropping up during this time, and it is often difficult to discriminate between fact and fiction.

Yes, "Silly Season" is upon us. Attempting to get 100% accurate information during this time of year is a Herculean task to put it mildly, virtually impossible would be a more realistic assessment. However, we have made our best effort to get the "straight skinny" on what information is out there. Having said that, lets get to what you came here to read in the first place........

In the previous article "And the Action Begins", click here for updated information we told you of the projects and progress of a few of the Unlimited Class competitors. So, updating this information first seems a logical way to start.

Critical Mass: We have heard some disturbing news concerning this team's effort to fieldthe "new and much improved" version of the the "Taco Bell" sponsored racer. The outlook for the work in progress being completed prior to Reno 98 isn’t good. In fact, it's beginning to look pretty grim for Race#10. Actually, the problem, as always, boils down to much work to do, and far too little time to do it in. click here for updated information Are we saying that she’ll be a no-show this year? Hardly...... this is a very motivated team and they have what it takes to make possible what some might feel is impossible. We *are* still holding out hope...but at this point in time, it does indeed look unlikely that she’ll be in attendance.

Voodoo Chile: This is another story of burning the midnight oil in an attempt to get major modifications finished for the event. This is not an uncommon occurrence within the air racing fraternity. A lot of racers have shown up over the year's fresh out of the hangar, having had work completed within weeks (sometimes just days) prior to the event. As of this writing, Voodoo Chile still sits in pieces at Destafani’s Warbird Shop awaiting final assembly...but we have a sneaking Voodoo Chile - Reno 1997 (16k)suspicion she’ll be sitting on the tarmac on race day. This airplane has the potential to be one of the fastest entries out there. Note I said "potential", as she will really be a test bed to discover how well the modifications made to her will react with each other, or if they even work as anticipated. I could go into great length here, but it suffice-it-to-say, the Voodoo will be a very interesting aircraft to watch at this years event. As a final note here, it has been reported elsewhere that Voodoo could possibly be piloted by someone other than Bob Hanna. After looking in to this, it is not beyond the realm of possibilities, however, this announcement does seem a bit premature as it certainly would be news to Hanna! <g>

Miss Ashley II: Back from her X-Country trek to the annual EAA gathering at Oshkosh, MA2 is shaping up well for her run at the Reno '98 Gold. This airplane has been getting Miss Ashley II Reno 1997 (13k)much attention during the off season [haven't they all!] and *most* of the modifications scheduled for her are in the bag and showing some promising results. She flew through her first bout with bad weather since having new navigational aids installed and performed quite well (with a few "minor" glitches") reports her owner/builder, Bill Rogers... Several modifications to the airframe have been accomplished since we last saw the brilliant red and white Courtaulds Aerospace entry. When we asked Bill, a few months ago, just what they were doing to the leading edge and outboard gear doors ..... "We're making 'em faster" ..... was his cagey reply. Apparently the carbon fiber leading edge and slicker gear doors did just that, "the airplane with these new leading edges and the other stuff we did to it, did pick up some cross country speed", Bill told us when we talked to him at his hanger last night..... Did Skip open it up on the way back east?....."no.....didn't have the right gas in it for that" .....I guess we'll just have to wait till next month to see what unleashing the hounds will yield!..... And speaking of those hounds..... The big question for Bill was....NITROUS... is it in? Is it going in?..... "it's not in yet, but it's goin' in" ....... "we have about a weeks work left on the airplane and were down to painting ground equipment".... Having had the time to fine tune the systems will give this race team a really great shot for taking their place among the fastest of the Reno Unlimited Gold contenders. This year we will see what speeds she’s capable of with her existing single-stage blower Griffon-58 engine. MA2 will be faster this year, of that there is little doubt. However, at least one person with a grip on a wrench pegs her potential in the 460 to 470 mph range (*with* nitrous boost). Maybe not quite enough to keep up with the likes of Dago Red or Rare Bear. [yet] But even attaining those speeds would be a remarkable achievement for her second season. Here's where the suspense of the pre-season really gets going.....knowing that she turned a lap of 440mph last year under "restrained" conditions, and considering that with the addition of Nitrous the "little" Griffon will be turning close to the same HP as the "Strego" class Merlins [at least until the go-gas runs out] and with her already slick airframe even slicker this year... When we witness the full power potential of this beast being unleashed, it should be nothing short of awesome!

Dago Red: She’ll be in her prime for this year's event, and will definitely be in attendance. Currently hangered in Mojave, she has been undergoing extensive race preparations. The radiator has been pulled and "boiled out", spray bars redone, ADI systems checked. The race motor, which has been completely torn down and inspected by engine master Dwight Thorn, is reported to be in very strong condition. This motor was the same one that Dago used in the 490mph+ qualifying run and the races in 1996, it was also used for the speed record attempt last year. In fact, you may dispute the outcome of the 1996 Gold Race *if* Dago (then flown by David Price) hadn’t cut a pylon. But one thing is true, according to insiders within the Dago team, she had even more power reserves to call upon if needed.

According to Bruce Lockwood, "Dago is probably in the fastest shape she has ever been in" he feels quite confident about his chances at taking the gold on Sunday. Bruce is one highly polished and professional individual, he has been ram-rodding Dago’s preparations for this years event and has to be one happy pilot indeed...... Campaigning Dago Red, for new owner Terry Bland, has to be one of Bruce's favorite dreams come true (as well as being very fortunate for Terry). It's been said that when Bruce saw his name on the side of the cockpit ....the grin on his face said it all........

Yes, Dago will be there, along with the new red painted support trailer, with chrome wheels and chrome underboxes attached. The striking airbrushed 10ft. wide by 8ft. high "work of art" on the rear of the trailer is Dago’s "new" logo....... and will be featured on some of the merchandise for sale at the event.

Rare Bear: Now this is a true mystery.... will she be there or not? To be honest, it's hard tosay for sure. We have heard both sides of the story from more than a few well placed individuals. Everything from getting a new engine and a new pilot, to a flat "she will not be there" has been reported. This has to be one of the all time Unlimited Class favorites and to not know what the future holds for the Rare Bear team is really sad to say the least. That being the case, I’ll not say anything definite, however, if I had to make a judgment call, this race fan does have a feeling that we’ll not see the Bear this year.

Dreadnought: The R4360 powered Sea Fury of Dennis and Brian Sanders will again pushthe competition and keep everything "honest". Consistently running laps in the 455mph speed range, she among all others forces the hand of the competition to keep running strong and hard. Otherwise, she’ll be there nipping at their heels awaiting her chance to strike. Speak to any of the top Unlimited Class teams, their biggest fear will be realized upon hearing the thunderous roar of the Dreadnought (pronounced - dred’ not: noun - "one who fears nothing").

Now, getting to the remainder of the Unlimited Class field.

The "blue nosers" of Steve Bolander (Mary Bear) and James Michaels (Queen B) have been sold. It is unknown if the new owners intend upon flying these aircraft at Reno. However we do know that the third member of the "blue noser" team, Vlado Lenoch (Moonbeam McSwine), will not be attending this year. He will be tending to the more important matter of taking care of his spouse and a, soon-to-be-born, new arrival in his family. He will be missed, but we give our congratulations and best wishes to him and his family. He has made mention of his intent to return to Reno in ‘99, so it does appear likely that we’ll be seeing him again soon. [after watching his very fine inaugural performance at Reno '97, we firmly believe Vlado Lenoch to be one pilot that bears watching over the coming years -ed-]

A confirmed report also has Daniel Martin (Ridge Runner) returning to Reno for the second year. I’m sure that I was not the only one in attendance that was astounded by their performance last year. Much of this was in no small part due to the efforts of Mike Barrow, engine specialist and chief mechanic for the team. Mike and Dan will both be returning, along with the P-51 Ridge Runner. Basically running in the same configuration as last year (no new mods to the aircraft or racing systems) she’ll be a consistent finisher.

Another confirmed report tell us Race #2 of Thomas Camp (Maniyak) is planning on attending this years event. A few minor modifications have been done to the Yak, basically just some exhaust mods to gain a few mile per hour. This particular aircraft has shown up with so many different faces each and every year, it’s hard to tell it used to be a 2 seat, all red trainer. Now sporting the white (with red wingtips) color scheme, she seems to be steadily improving in both looks and speed.

Stu Eberhardt (Merlins Magic), Bill "Rhino" Rienschild (Risky Business), Jimmy Leeward (Cloud Dancer), Brent Hisey (Miss America) and Art Vance (Million Dollar Baby) are all expected to once again bring out their P-51 Mustangs to Stead airport. And what would Reno be without the likes of Howard Pardue (with his aircraft Fury and the Bearcat). I can still hear the rumblings of the infamous Section 3 crowd chanting "Pardue, Pardue, PARDUE!" - can’t even remember when Howard missed an event. Then there’s Lefty Gardner (White click here for updated information Lightnin’) - expected to once again grace the sky's above Reno with the appearance of his famous P-38. [whaaaahooo!! -ed-]

click here for updated information Two more sign in for Reno '98!

I’m sure we have left out a few that will be there, and a few that will not. However, as the days grow closer to the event - the official entry list will become known. As soon as it is, we’ll be posting it here.

That’s all for now......... cya in the pits ;-)

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(article written by Mark Kallio and Wayne Sagar)
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