STEAD AIRPORT (Sept. 12) – Air Race recap today is focused on the Unlimiteds qualifying as well as the other classes.
The day it self began with pretty nice weather but that all changed during the afternoon. However between noon and 1 p.m. many of the Unlimiteds qualified.
Of course one plane of interest was the modified P-51 Voodoo and now is the fastest piston powered, propeller driven plane in the world. Record setting pilot Steve Hinton strapped in and threw down the fastest lap so far.
He posted a time of 59:409 seconds around the 8.0851 mile course or a speed of 479.364 miles an hour. Next fastest is former champion Dreadnought, a Sea Fury that turned a speed of 422.536 miles an hour.
Unfortunately a late afternoon thunderstorm canceled the run by Strega and both that plane as well as Voodoo were pushed into a hanger for shelter.
At Stead airport once it begins to rain there soon will be a river flowing through the pits.
The fastest class, although they aren’t the stars of the show like the Unlimiteds are the jets. Mike Steiger put down a time 57.241seconds or a speed of 497.520 mph around a 8.1025 mile course.
Last in the big plane classes are the T-6 aircraft and they race around a 4.9352 mile long course. Monday Dennis Buehn posted a speed of 230.222 mph but today he was bested by Nick Macy’s speed of 232.623 mph.
While they might not be the largest aircraft the Sport Class is the one that continues to grow. In fact the class uses three different courses depending on the pilots qualifying speed.
The fastest are the Sport Gold and they fly a 8:0782 mile course while those in the Silver and Bronze class race around a 6.9680 mile long course and the slowest use the Medallion course, which is 4.9352 miles long.
Jeff LaVelle set the fastest speed in qualifying of 401.004 miles an hour.
The next two classes use a standing start where they are lined up on the runway and when the green flag drops it’s go time. All the rest of the classes use an air start where they are line abreast off a pace plane that releases them onto the course.
Andrew Buehler was the fastest in Racing Biplane as he flew the 3.3414 mile course at a speed of 222.586 miles an hour.
The last class, International Formula One has direct links back to the golden age of air racing in the 1930’s. These home built aircraft fly a 3.1875 mile long course and using 100 horsepower engines turn speeds faster than Indy Cars.
This time around Lowell Slatter set the fastest lap at 244.071 miles an hour.
Tomorrow, Wednesday will be the final time for anyone to qualify and many will be watching to see if many time Unlimited champion P-51 Strega will get into the field. Hopefully the weather won’t play a part in that effort.
After that, from Thursday through Sunday racing will continue through the weekend ending with Sunday’s Unlimited Gold race in the afternoon.
For further information and times on all the aircraft go the event’s website, www.airrace.org and check the results.
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