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Wednesday
Oct112017

The Pylon Place: A Year to Remember

National Air Race Championships

By Marilyn Dash

This year provided some of the best racing in recent memory. It seemed that all the classes had epic battles, fought before the larger than expected crowd.

Biplane

Phantom 2017 Biplane Winner (Anthony Taylor/Warbirdfotos.com)Even in the Biplane Class there was some close racing. Andrew Buehler was flying Phantom this year instead of Tom Aberle. Earlier in the week, Andrew had some troubles keeping Phantom on the course and on the right side of the pylons. Jake Stewart in Mojo won two of the three heat races and lost to Andrew in the Gold Final.

Andrew was pulling double duty, racing his Mong in the Silver also. While Jake and his dad, Mike Stewart brought two highly competitive aircraft and finished are strong competitors and second and fourth. Nice showing for a father and son team.

Hoping to see more Biplanes in the future, this was likely the smallest field the Biplanes have had since I started racing in 2003.

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Tuesday
Jul262016

The Pylon Place: Pylon Racing Seminar 2016

By Marilyn Dash

The International Formula 1 PRS 2016 Class (Anthony Taylor/warbirdfotos.com)In 1997, it was decided there should be a better way to help prepare pilots for the National Championship Air Races held each year in September, in Reno, Nev. Previously, hopeful race pilots may arrive a few days early in September and be taken through a series of air maneuvers the weekend before the races. As the races started to attract more classes and more racers, a better, more structured training became necessary.

This June marked the 19th Pylon Racing Seminar AKA Rookie School. And—for the fourth year in a row—a record number of participants were in attendance. Between the six race classes, 79 airplanes and 130 participants from all over the world made their way to Stead to practice, qualify, and have fun.

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Friday
Oct232015

The Pylon Place: Reno Air Races 2015 Recap – Part 1

By Marilyn Dash

The sun coming up on Strega. This was her year. (Anthony Taylor)What a great time! What a crowd! What amazing racing! This was the best year in a long time!

The week started out with great weather but lots of smoke from the many fires in California. When the wind blew in, the smoke blew out – but the winds brought a new set of issues. The wind was so bad on Sunday, several classes had to stand down from their allotted course time because the winds were above their limits – as addressed in the Rules of Competition.

But by Monday, everyone was back on the course and qualifying began in earnest. The Unlimiteds had two sessions for qualifying each day. By the end of Monday, Stevo Hinton had put up a time of 464.246. Not the fastest he’s ever gone, but the fastest of the day. Each class has their own rule, so in the Unlimiteds you can requalify if you want to better your time. Hinton probably thought this would hold, and if not, he could easily go back up by Wednesday to put a better number up.

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Wednesday
Aug122015

The Pylon Place: The Man Who Has Flown Everything – Finally Gets His Chance in Strega

By Marilyn Dash

Hoot’s ride for 2015 - Goot Hoot! (Anthony Taylor/Warbirdfotos.com)Robert Lee Gibson, better known to Air Racing Fans as “Hoot” is one of the most highly decorated racers around. Will he finally get the chance to be a Champion?

Hoot was born in Upstate New York, yet considers a town outside of LA to be his “hometown.” He, like so many others, soloed at 16 and earned his pilots’ license at 17. He always knew he wanted to be a pilot– even at the age of 10 when his dad turned the Bonanza yoke over to his side and let him perform his first take off. Both of his parents were pilots, and his dad was an aeronautical engineer. Flying and aeronautics were a family tradition in the Gibson household.

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Thursday
Jul162015

The Pylon Place: Air Race 

By Marilyn Dash

Air Race 1 – Tunisia

Thom Richard, Jay Jones and Michael Mundell in the Gold. (Used with permission from Air Race 1)I’ve heard the question a hundred times, why is International Formula One Air Racing called International? Well, Jeff Zaltman and his team have put the International back into IF1.

Last year, in their inaugural season, Air Race 1 put together a great race in Spain. This year, they have a three Race Series, starting in Tunisia and finishing in Reno, Nev. They are revisiting their roots in Spain in the middle of the season. In fact, the teams are heading to Spain as we go to press.

First thing you’ll notice is a bunch of familiar names from the IF1 Class at Reno. Only two competitors are not Reno Air Races veterans, and the planes are very familiar as well!

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