The Pylon Place - October 2013

The 50th National Championship Air Races

Part 1

By Marilyn Dash

Proud father and son - champions again! Stephen Hinton in Voodoo was the Unlimited Gold champion. Well, the 50th is in the books. The same kid won, but he was riding a different horse. There was good, there was bad, and there was not a lot of ugly, thankfully. Let’s get started with the review.

The UWRC (previously known as Unlimiteds) competitors were few and far between, with only 15 racers showing up for race week. But, the big iron was there. Returning champ, Strega, along with Voodoo, Rare Bear, Czech Mate, 232 and Dreadnaught all have the pedigree. All of them could win; nearly all of them HAVE won. But, it was Bob Button’s year – finally.

After threatening retirement for the third time, many didn’t expect Button and Voodoo to be back at the races – ever. A change of heart, the right team, the right time and the right combination all came together and they did it. Voodoo, who has maydayed out of so many races over the years, finally wins it all on Sunday.

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The Pylon Place - September 2013

50th Anniversary of the National Championship Air Races

By Marilyn Dash

It’s that time again. The crews are making the final touches on the race planes and the pilots are testing and growing more focused every day. The drama that is Air Racing is ready to play out in front of our incredibly loyal fans. Let’s take a look at who will be there and what to expect.


At this point, we have 16 aircraft on the roster. While not the largest number of entries, the fans should be pleased with the caliber of racers. Let’s take a look at what to expect…  

Voodoo is back. Yes, after a year off, Bob Button decided to come back in a big way. He decided to put together his dream team and go for that elusive win. Stevo Hinton will be flying Voodoo this year. And Kerch is back as the team adviser, in what we are affectionately calling, “Yoda and the Kid.” They are having fun, they are focused on winning and they are the team to beat right now.

Button’s Voodoo is Back – with Yoda and the Kid (Anthony Taylor/Warbird

Rare Bear has made the trip to Texas and back for a tweaking by Nelson Ezell and his crew of warbird whisperers. A wave of their magic wand and maybe the Rare Bear will be back to her winning form? With Stewart Dawson in the seat and a hungry owner in Rod Lewis, is this their year?

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The Pylon Place - August 2013

Innovations in Air Racing

By Marilyn Dash

With all the drama surrounding the transition from the old unlimited class to the new, the fans are forgetting about the other five classes of racing. I’ve decided to focus this month’s column on the other classes, the innovators and racers who we don’t hear about on the forums. Who they are and what to look for this year – but let’s start with why the fans aren’t as enamored with these classes, and why maybe they should be.

Air racing through the years was always about technical advancements – especially for civil aviation. Among the first races in the 1910s, the draw was for inventers to show their wares and develop a name for themselves through their innovation. Thousands would flock to these events to watch the historic races and see how far aviation had changed since 1903 at Kitty Hawk.

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The Pylon Place - July 2013

What Does It All Mean…

By Marilyn Dash

Towing out for the Gold Race (Tim Adams)If you keep up with National Championship Air Racing (NCAR) news during the off-season, you probably have read several press releases about the Unlimited Division of the National Air-racing Group (UD-NAG) and a Safety Stand Down for the 2013 NCAR. This was followed quickly by the announcement of the new Unlimited & Warbird Racing Class (UWRC). My goal in this column is to present to you a little history and hopefully answer some questions about the future of Unlimited Racing at Reno.

History of NAG

The National Air-racing Group was founded in the 1970s by several Northern California air racing enthusiasts. Originally called the Northern Area Group of the Professional Race Pilots’ Association (PRPA), they later split off from PRPA and started their own group. This organization grew to be the largest and most active air race organization, with more than 2,000 members scattered throughout the world. A recognized member of the International Council of Air Shows, NAG is a non-profit California corporation.

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The Pylon Place - June 2013

Another Great Planes of Fame Airshow and PRS Preview

By Marilyn Dash

Five P-38 Lightnings in Formation – Amazing. (Rob “Phred” Miller)Ignoring the naysayers, Planes of Fame goes right ahead and puts on an amazing airshow – again. Nearly 40,000 people were in attendance to witness history and a terrific show.

This year, the airshow celebrated the history of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. There are only seven airworthy P-38s in the world today, and five of them were in the skies over the Chino Airport. Another P-38 on display, a photo-recon variant, made up the sixth P-38 at the show that weekend.

The formation of five was breathtaking. I don’t think we’ll ever see something like that again, sadly.

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