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National Championship Air Races 2005

Reno / Nevada

- by Gerhard Schmid, translation by Jurgen Binnemans -

In the first years of the Reno Air Races the number of participating Unlimited Racers was in the one-digit range and there was no need for different performance classes. In the following years the number of participants and speed differences grew. This was due to the fact that some teams started to strongly modify their machines. Speed differences of more than 150 mph between the winner of the Gold Class and the last of the Bronze Class is quite normal.

The Silver Class forms the centre zone of the participants. The speed of this year's new participants lays between 350 and 410 mph. And also the only twin-engine participant in the Reno Races, Michael Brown's powerful Grumman F-7F Tigercat "Big Bossman", flies in this class.

#1 Twin-engine airplanes are a rarity at the Reno Air Races. Usually they do not reach the necessary qualifying speed of 300 mph. Michael Brown's Grumman F-7F Tigercat is fast enough for the Silver Class.
#114 With 410,4 mph and only 0.4 mph faster than Stephen Patterson, you can see the experienced racing pilot Matt Jackson in the cockpit of the Sea Fury "Argonaut", which belongs to the Sanders-brothers. Matt was the fastest participant in the Silver Class.
#1 Unfortunately it isn't possible to let you hear and enjoy the unbelievable sound of the Tigercat #1 "Big Bossman".
duel Stephen Patterson and Matt Jackson with a fight for places. Such duels for every feet keep the spectators at the grandstand on the edge of their seats.
#1 Unfortunately the Tigercat #1 did have it's breakdowns. Here she comes in after a "Mayday" call, escorted by the Pace Plane.
#14 Howard Pardue is a multi-year participant of the Reno Air Races. His Grumman F-8F Bearcat is to a large extent still standard. Here he starts the engine under lots of smoke development. Their big oil consumption gave the Bearcat in the 60's the nickname "Oilcat".
#1 The crew is ready to start repairing the plane in front of the stands. The pilot, Dan Vance, is still in the cockpit. In the final on Sunday owner/pilot Mike Brown reached sixth place in the Silver Class with 371,7 mph.
#14 During the first six years (1964-69) the Unlimited Class was dominated by the Bearcats. A "Stock Bearcat" like Howard Pardue's #14 is good for the third place in the Silver Race with 390 mph.
#22 In the evening after a race there is still a lot of activity going on until dusk. Racers are taken out of the Pit area and are undergoing engine test runs. Here the Mustang #22 "Merlin's Magic ".
#14 This picture is an enlargement. Look at the right flap. You can see clearly that the skin started coming of during the race.
#22 #22 "Merlin's Magic" in the race. 355,6 mph was the speed of Bill Eberhardt in the final. Thus he reached the seventh place in Silver Race - behind the Tigercat #1 "Big Bossman".
#31 "Speedball Alice" is to a large extent an original left Mustang in the participant field. Art Vance, who unfortunately lost his life in a F-6 Hellcat accident a couple of weeks after the 2005 Reno Air Races, reached the eighth place with his Mustang #31. He was 354.6 mph fast.
#9 #22 We already know Jimmy Leeward with his #9 "Cloud Dancer" from the Bronze Class. Here he is together with #22 "Merlin's Magic" in a race.
#31 "Speedball Alice" served also as Pace Plane. Here Ron Buccarelli, comes out of the back seat. He is the reserve pilot for "Rare Bear" and owner of the strongly modified Mustang "Precious Metal" (see Reno Races 2004). In the Pace Plane he helped the Tigercat "Big Bossman" during the emergency landing.
#47 The yellow P-51D Mustang "Ole Yeller " was Bob Hoover's personal show plane during many years. A few years ago it was acquired by John Bagley, who puts on his parachute on this picture.
#50 You already saw Ike Enns in the Preview section with the engine test run of his P-51D "Miracle Maker" . Here Ike taxies to the runway holding point. In the final he was 374 mph fast and finished fourth place.
#47 John Bagley left his Mustang in the original and legendary colour finish of Bob Hoover's "Ole Yeller". John finished with 373,7 mph at the fifth place.
#28 In the evening Ike likes to undertake pleasure flights. Here with a passenger on the rear seat.
71 "Southern Cross", one of numerously represented Hawker Sea Furies, belongs to Stephen Patterson. He bought it from John Bagley after John acquired his Mustang  "Ole Yeller".
#81 The only original TF-51D, a trainer configured Mustang with dual controls in the cockpit, #81 "Lady Jo". Since years this machine is flown by Rob Patterson. 352 mph was sufficient for the last place of this class.
#71 #71 "Southern Cross" while landing. The landing flaps are down completely. A clearly durable chassis for the Sea Fury, it was designed and built for the carrier operations.
#81 Speed is not everything: "Lady Jo" shines with her beauty. The Mustang is in first-class condition.
#71 With 410 mph in the final on Sunday, Stephen Patterson flew into second place in the Silver Class. So Stephen could finish the racing week very successfully.
Ramp Ready for an evening photo shooting: Mustangs and a Sea Furies present themselves on the apron in the best light ...

continue to >>> Part 8



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