Things are looking bright for the Thunder Mustang effort, but a little rain has fallen on plans for multiple class entry at Reno '99. We reported here in an earlier Thunder Mustang Update of plans by Papa 51, Ltd. to enter the #2 factory demo aircraft (currently under construction) in both the Sport Class division and the Unlimited Class competition... AAFO.COM received a "tip" from one of the Reno competitors recently that put this plan into serious doubt......
"no aircraft may be flown in more than one class" was the sad word sent us by biplane Class, Pitts Special pilot, Jeffrey Lo, last month. This clause was listed in the official entry form sent all competitors for Reno '99 and a disappointed Lo wanted to know if this was the official line for all divisions..... Hanging heads around here summed up the mood after a quick communication to Papa 51 spokesperson, Charles Denney, confirmed the bad news.... "This single class entry is correct." Said Denney in response to our inquiry... "I guess we will just have to let our customers airplanes win the Sport Class while we whittle on the Unlimited Class".
Bad news for the TM's and Papa 51, but certainly good news for the sport class competitors. Initially, we were very excited thinking about the prospect of entry and possible wins by a competitor in two separate classes at Reno '98. This certainly would have been a first, but in retrospect would have done little to further competition in the fledgling Sport Class division at Reno. Likely to dominate the class with even the naturally aspirated Falconer V-12 aboard, the supercharged version (slated for factory demo #2 and entry this year at Reno) would clearly be in a totally different league and would make for some very slanted race results... Creation of a "sub-class" in the Sports seems a necessity if the class is to retain its "race on Sunday, buy on Monday" flavor of racing the "family airplane". There is still hope for even the "family airplane" to give the normally aspirated TM's a run though..... With some of the engine options coming on line, available for the ultra-sleek, Lancair, Glasair and other Sport entries, we could just see a real battle develop between the TM's and the "family's". Dave Morss did win Reno '98 flying a Lancair IV at over 308 MPH not really all that far behind the 338 MPH qualifying run turned in by the first Papa 51 factory demo Thunder Mustang at Reno '97.... So..... Stay tuned!
story by: Wayne Sagar
The 1999 Reno National Championship Air Races Will Be Held September 16-19 At Stead Field, Reno Nevada. Qualifying and Practice Events Run September 13-15 And Offers Some Of The Most Exciting Action Of The Entire Week. For Ticket And Lodging Information go to http://www.airrace.org
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