The Pylon Place - April 2014

Saving the Reno Air Races

By Marilyn Dash

T6s battling it out on the racecourse. (Bruce Croft/20 West)What can be done to save the Reno Air Races? This is the question posed to me by so many air-racing fans. We know changes are being made – but – are they enough? Are these changes coming too late? What are the signs we should be looking for to see if the changes are working?

RARA has made several announcements lately – including the dismissal of Michael Houghton, the President and the paring down of the paid staff to six individuals. Recent news adds a reduction in the Board of Directors from more than 20 members to a total of seven.

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The Pylon Place - March 2014

Red Bull Air Races are BACK!

By Marilyn Dash

Kirby Chambliss flying over Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Garth Milan Red Bull Content Pool)After a three-year hiatus to revamp and rework, the Red Bull Air Races are BACK! As someone who has seen four races in person and all of them via video, I could not be more thrilled.

Many things have changed, but some things have remained the same. The most important aspect that has not changed is the pilots. All 12 of the pilots are returning racers.

The UK’s Paul Bonhomme, the Red Bull Air Race World Champion for 2009 and 2010 is the early favorite to repeat. But Austrian, Hannes Arch who won in 2008 is also looking to return to the top. Both of these men are very competitive and have kept their skills up flying airshows and competition. American, Kirby Chambliss won in 2004 and 2006 and is always striving for perfection. Michael Goulian, another American returning pilot is ready to take it all.

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The Pylon Place - February 2014

Bringing Elsa Home

By Marilyn Dash

First photo in the new airplane, Marilyn Dash and Elsa. (Courtesy of Marilyn Dash)I thought it would be fun to do a column this month about a personal experience. After racing in the Biplane Class for eleven years, I decided to look at purchasing a potential Sport Class Racer. I’ve always said the perfect two airplane family would be an “upside down” airplane and a “go places” airplane. So, Ruby may now be just for “upside down” flying – and we would need something faster, with some luggage space – to “go places”.

I started in the usual way, perusing ads on Barnstormers and Trade-a-Plane, etc. I found a few older Glasairs and RVs, etc. And then through mutual friends, I heard about an RV-6 which I immediately knew was going to be mine.

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The Pylon Place - January 2014

The Future of the Reno Air Races…

By Marilyn Dash

(Bruce Croft)Since the Galloping Ghost crash of 2011, the Air Races have been plagued with financial concerns and rumors about closing the doors.

In the last few months, Michael Houghton, RARA President, has been talking about this year’s event being in jeopardy if $500,000 was not raised by Dec. 15. Just in the nick of time, we were told the event is back on. This leaves many people wondering about the long-term viability – and if this will continue to be a year-to-year endeavor.

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The Pylon Place - December 2013

World Aerobatic Championships

By Marilyn Dash

The World Aerobatic Championships come to the USA once every 10 years or so. This year, they were held at North Texas Regional Airport in Grayson County, Texas. The good news was everyone had a great time. The bad news was the weather did not cooperate.


Beautiful aerobatic machines. (Courtesy of Marilyn Dash)Before racing in the biplane class at Reno, I was involved in local IAC competition. The challenge of flying competitive aerobatics was something I very much enjoyed and something I may plan to return to now that things are rocky at RARA. I found that I couldn’t do both at the same time – the airplane I was using needed to be changed for each sport and I didn’t have the time or resources to do it each year.  But, if the Reno Air Races are over (more on this next month), it is likely I will throw my time and energy back into aerobatics.

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