STEAD AIRPORT – Air Race Update has the five fastest qualifiers for this edition of this event. Due to a memory card failure the article was held up a day but now here it is.
Fastest of all Jay Consalvi, flying the Unlimited Strega, a championship winning P-51. It took him two attempts and the one Tuesday afternoon was a bit exciting due to a rapidly approaching thunderstorm.
“Tuesday we ran into a little bit of thunderstorms, I’ve got some cool pictures of lightning outside the canopy,” he said. “I was more concerned about my guys on top of the trailer than I was about me in the airplane. Yesterday’s (Wednesday) qual run was prefect, exactly what we intended to do.
“When out there the airplane performed great. I’ve got some more work I want to do on my course flying skills but we went fast and we ended up where we wanted to be. I know Steve (Hinton) is going to be right there and he’s going to be looking for every opportunity to get around me, I just can’t give him those opportunities.”
Consalvi’s qualifying lap was 484.724 mph while on Monday Steve Hinton flying Voodoo put down a lap at 779.364 so he was second fast.
Two weeks ago Hinton flew Voodoon in an attempt to take the all time speed record for a piston powered, propeller driven aircraft. While he didn’t break the overall record he did have the fastest pass at 531.53 mph.
Asked about the record effort he said, “It was a long process, we joined up with Aviation Partners out of Seattle, they designed and implemented an airfoil change that allowed for a higher top speed. It was successful the airplane went 531 mph average over four passes across three kilometers. The first past was 554 miles an hour but the engine started laying down a bit so we know the airframe is capable of more and might give it a shot next year.
This visit to Reno is billed as the farewell tour by the owner so Voodoo might not see the races again unless there is a new owner.
“Bob’s had a long career here in Reno and it’s just getting to be more financially difficult to do this each year,” Hinton said, “You know we’ve won Reno, set a speed record, it’s kind of like we’re on the top of the mountain so what else is there to do. There’s a chance I might be going into a different class but at the moment I want to get through this week safely then kind of take a couple months to catch my breath then figure out if and what I’ll do next year. Hope to shift gears to a more sustainable career doing something.”
Fastest of all the qualifiers was Mike Steiger, who pilots the jet racer American Spirit. He posted a speed of 497.520 mph.
“The qualifying run was exhilarating,” he said. “I’ve qualified before but that’s the fastest time I’ve done. It was the roughest ride I’ve ever had on this course. The faster you go the rougher it gets. I’m looking to what my mentors have trained me to do and win,” he said.
The last of the big airplane class are the T-6 racers. There WW II vintage trainers put on a good show of close racing and this year Nick Macy posted the fast time of 232.632 mph.
“The weather conditions got a little bit more favorable for speed and it worked out in our favor and we’re happy,” he said. “Dennis Buehn’s right there and John Lohmar is right there so it’s going to be some exciting racing coming in. We’re going to be neck and neck so it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Fastest of the small aircraft classes is the Sport Class and this group is growing every year. There is also increased competition in all the groups that make up this division.
Jeff LaVelle posted the fastest speed of 401.004 miles an hours in his Super Glasair III.
“That qualifying run, you know we had a few repairs to make prior to that so didn’t get a chance to fly the airplane but it seemed to run well,” he said. “We’ll just start off easy and try and be there on Sunday. If you get pole position in qualifying the only airplane you really have to worry about is the pace plane off your left, I’ve got the inside line already so it’s a big advantage.”
Next are the two physically smallest racing aircraft; International Formula One and Racing Biplane. They use a ground start where the aircraft are lined up on the runway and when the green flag drops off they go.
Both classes also have the shortest course and like the other courses all share a common leg that takes them in front of the grandstands.
Lowell Slatter set fast time in Formula 1 with a speed of 244.071 mph in his Gilert DG2 named Fraed Naught.
“We’re looking forward to winning,” he said. “Qualifying run was slower than we expected but it’s colder than normal this year so everybody is running slower. And all the fans need to be reminded that they changed the course length this year back to the old course length so all the speeds are going to be lower.
“One way to look at that is that speeds since about 2001 were artificially elevated. They don’t measure how fast you are going, they measure your time around the course. Then they do a mathematical calculation to compute your speed. Has a little bit about how fast you’re going but it’s not how fast you’re going it’s how long it took you to complete one lap if you’re qualifying.”
And finally the last class are the Biplanes. This year Andrew Buehler is flying the Modified Mong Sport, which is always a contender and posted a lap at 222.586 mph.
Asked about his qualifying run Buehler said, “I think I coiuld have run a little bit tighter but we’re still happy with it and top qualifier. Compared to my last time flying the airplane I think I was about eight miles an hour slower. I think weather, the atmospheric conditions play a little bit of it but really it’s more the airplane and how you’re flying. My primary goal is to make it home safely.”
Those are the pilots that posted the fastest time.
There is also a drone racing area that is boxed in by netting as well as a set up for free style motocross where the ridgers travel 75 feet and do tricks. Unfortunately the winds kept the motorcycle riders on the ground Friday.
Saturday brings more heat races as well as final events for some classes as the schedule heads into the weekend. Then on Sunday the main races will happen including each class having its gold championship event.
Each day there will be demonstrations by a Harrier, A-10 that also does a heritage flight with a P-38 and a mass flight demonstration by the Texas Flying Legends Museum, which includes several war birds and a B-25 bomber.
The display area is full of military aircraft but the biggest is a C-17 flown in by the Hawaiian Air National Guard.
Saturday is military day and the show begins at 8 a.m. with the first races.
For further information please check www.airrace.org.
If you enjoyed this article please “like,” and share it as widely as possible. Comments are welcome.
Subscribers have articles posted to their inbox as soon as they are on the site.
We now have five very appreciated sponsors that are helping support this site. Please patronize them as they support your sport.
Our newest is Big Valley Honda and is the first dealer we have as a sponsor. They sell everything from motorcycles, UTV’s, ATV’s and about anything else things one could want.
Our first sponsor is a full service motorcycle shop, Reno Motorsports and they too have a full service shop as well as about anything a rider could want.
They are located at 964 Terminal way, by Mill Street and their website is, www.rms-renomotorsports.com.
Sponsor PJ & Co Restaurant and Saloon located at 1590 Wells Avenue in Reno is familiar to most in the riding lifestyle.
Good food, great place and they have Bike Night every Wednesday. For further information please check their website at, www.pjandco.net.
Concours Body Shop, owned by racer and race supporter Gil Grieve, is a business doing quality repair work on cars and trucks.
The business is located at 240 Telegraph Street in Reno and their website is, www.concoursbodyshop.net.
If you are into karting or want the most cost effective way to start racing then check out Nevada Kart Sport, our only full service kart shop in this region.
The shop is relocating but their website is, www.nevadakartsport.com.
Have a business targeted toward the motorcycle, motorsport or off road demographic? Well we are looking for more sponsors.
You can contact us either through the comment section of the site or our Face Book page.