Reno Sport Category

Here are some of my photos of aircraft focusing on the Sport category

“Yellow Fever” is Thomas Ishii’s Lancair 360, N11ZY

 

N542JV is Matt Beaubien’s RV-4 “Low Motion”

Beaubien is running neck-and-neck with Thomas Ishii

 

Vince Walker’s Lancair Legacy L2K. N41VR, “Modo Mio..

 

Ernie Sutter is “Jus Pass’n Thru” in Lancair Legacy N66EL

 

Meanwhile, Pete Zaccagnino’s Lancair Super Legacy, N105PZ, was “Coming in Hot”

 

Andrew Findlay was the surprise winner of the Sport Category in his Lancair Super Legacy, N115YP, “One Moment”

 

“Race 39”, Super Glasair III, N123AJ was flown by the reigning champ, Jeff LaVelle

 

Oliver Langeard flew the only TB30 Epsilon in the Race, N130KL “Zebulon”

 

N151CR, “Clas Thunder 1”, flown by Mathias Haid, was one of two Thunder Mustangs racing in the Sports Category

The other Thunder Mustang was “Swiss Thunder”, N167BP, flown by Peter Balmer

 

N158CF,”Taylor Maid” is Cheryl Frederick’s F-1 Rocket

 

“Sport36”, N164Q, is Paul Downing’s colorful Lancair Legacy 320

 

“GA 1”, Lancair Legacy RG, is N181KG flown by Karl Grove

 

My buddy Abe Gaskins flew “Underdog”, N272AG, a Lancair Legacy

 

Jon Flanagan’s Glasair II-S, N317RM, “Greenstreak”.

 

Lancair Legacy 320 N320HM, “Tenacity”, flown by Mark Frederickson

 

N385AS, “Havoc”, is Sean VanHatten’s Lancair Legacy

 

David Robinson’s Lancair Legacy L2K, “Desert Lightning”, N386DM.

 

N390WT, “Whisky Tango” Dan West’s RV-8

 

“General Lee”, N401GL, Lee Ulrich’s RV-7

 

Jim Rust flew N430R, “Race 24”, Glasair SH-3R

 

N477CM, Bob Mills’ Super Glasair III, “Mojo”

 

Dave Morss flew his Morse 320, N499DM “Martin’s Legacy”

 

Along with flying in the Jet category, Vicky Benzing flew Lancair Legacy N588S “Lucky Girl”

 

“Miss Ruby S”, N808SJ, is Skylor Piper’s RV-8

Piper and Paul Doning round Pylon 8

 

Neil Wischer’s RV-8 “Triple Eight” N888RX

 

F-1 Rocket “Phantom Rocket” N2691B is flown by Scott Prewitt

Reno Jets

I was particularly interested in the Jet category, since I know several of the pilots.

 

“The Devil’s Own,” the 96th Bomb Squadron “Red Devils” CO’s B-52H (60-059), makes a low “gear down” pass on Thursday.

 

00-221 (00221), F-16C performs several flybys on Friday

 

Nathan Harnagel rounds the turn in his L-39C, “Reality Czech”, N139UK.

 

N139PJ, “Race 37” is Alexandre Eckmann’s L-39. The bottom photo was taken on the morning of the 14th, just before he made contact with Harnagel’s plane

 

Nathan Harnagel and Alexandre Eckmann came very close to trading paint is this photo. Half a lap later, they did. While both planes were damaged, both pilots managed to land safely.

 

“Sluggo”, N50DG, is an L-29 flown by Joe Gano.

 

The Jet Gold Class winner was Mike Steiger in L-39 “American Spirit”, N139BJ

 

“Dash Force One” was probably the most easily identifiable L-39C on the field. N139LS was flown by Scott Farnsworth.

 

Arguably the most colorful L-39C at Reno was “Robin 1”, N139RM, flown by Jeff Turney

 

Pete Zaccagnino’s L-29 “Just Lucky”, N179EP

 

Honda Jet N422KT (msn 42000071) performed some demonstrations during the week

 

Pete Stavrides flew “American Patriot”, L-39 N544RC

 

L-39 “Athena”, N656DT, was flown by Bob McCormack

 

N757SF, “Darkstar II”. Is an L-39 flown by Vicky Benzing

 

N900HT, Embraer Phenom 300 (msn 50500061) was the pace plane for the jet heats

“Sarance”, N995X, is Larry Labriola’s L-39C

 

“Pokey”, NX81637, is an L-29 flown by James Beyer

 

NX39MX, “Invictus”, is Zach McNeill’s L-39C

 

The Planes of Fame Air Museum’s CT-133, NX377JP, was used as the pace plane for the Unlimited Class

 

VH-IJY, “Blue Ice” is Charlie Camilleri’s L-39C, which comes from Australia

 

Another jet from Down Under is VH-XET, L-29 “Miss Independence”, flown by Kevin Roll

 

 

Reno T-6s

There are enough T-6/SNJ entries that they have been given their own category at Reno.

John Lomar flew his SN J-5 “Radial Velocity” (N3272G) to a first-place finish

N127VF, “Miss TNT”, was an AT-6C flown by Eric Woebling

Ralph Rina flew T-6G “Miss Humboldt Hunny” (N158JZ)

 

“Baby Boomer” was an AT-6 (N604R) flown by Gene McNeely

Mike Pfleger was extremely busy, flying both P-51D “Lady B” and AT-6C “Miss Informed” N620AC

David Vanhoy flies N717UP, a T-6G used as a pace plane

“Bare Essentials”, N1465, is a Harvard Mark IV flown by Chris LaFave

Chris LaFave and Mike Pfleger compete for position,

 

N2897G, “Six Cat” is Nick Macy’s T-6G

T-6G, N2983, was used as the second pace plane for the T-6 races

N3171P, AT-6D, is “Midnight Miss III”, flown by Dennis Buehn

“Eros” is AT-6D N3173L, flown by Lee Oman

Greg McNeely flies “Undecided”, T-6G N4269Q

“Abracadabra” is N4763, AT-6C, flown by Vitaly Pecherskyy, in RCAF markings.

N5199V, “Gotcha”, is Pete Stavrides’ SNJ-5

SNJ-5,N7296C, “Miss Ellaneous”, flown by Bill Muszala

“Big Red” is an SNJ-4, N7404C, flown by William Walker

 

N57418,”Baron’s Revenge” is Chris Rushing’s AT-6B

John Lomar leads Chris Rushing coming around Pylon 8

Ralph Rina leads a pack of T-6s

Reno biplanes

This year, I attended the Reno Air Races for the first time. It was a real thrill to be out by Pylon 5 Inner as the biplanes came ripping around, heading for home.

 

Robert Austen in Christen Eagle C-FRKY, “FReaKY”

 

Tommy Suell’s Christen Eagle N22XS, “PlaneJunkies”

 

Scott McDonald rounds the pylon in N24AL, “Christen Eagle”

 

N24TG, “The Yellow Bomber”, is Kevin Harper’s Pitts S-1S

 

“Black Hawk” is Anthony Oshinuga’s Pitts S-1S, N45SS

 

N101HR is “The Batplane”, Casey Erickson’s Pitts S-1S

 

Tony Higa flies “Tango Tango,” Pitts S-1S N180TT

 

Miss Diane is a Pitts S-1S, N230MP, flown by Jeffrey Lo.

 

“RB Special” is a Pitts S-1S, N515JD belonging to John D’Alessandris

 

David Roelofs flies “Purse Snatcher”, N720CB, a Pitts S-1

 

“Yellow Fever” is Eric Zane’s distinctive yellow Pitts S-1S, N767JW

 

N801MS is Alan Hoover’s Pitts S-1, “There Be Dragons”

 

Pitts S-1C, N966ES, is named “Second Hand” by owner Scott Thomson

 

My buddy Sam Swift rounds Pylon 5 Inner in his Pitts S-LHN, “Smokin’ Hot”, N2986G.

 

 

Biplane Action at Pylon 5 Inner

 

 

Reno Air Races – Tuesday

What a thrill to be able to check off one more item on my bucket list: the Reno Air Races! I’ve never been, but certainly wanted to. So when I applied for, and was awarded, media credentials for the event, I was elated! And here I am.

I arrived at Reno on Tuesday afternoon and headed up to the Reno/Stead Airport (RTS) to get checked in and receive my marching orders. After hitting the Media Check-in Center, I hung out with Abe Gaskins for a few minutes before making my way out to the media stand by the runway. It was fairly late in the day but I did manage a few photos before the end of practice.

Race 3 (N63SF) is a Hawker Sea Fury TMK20 flown by Dennis Sanders

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Jeff Turney’s L-39C, Race 54, (N139RM) was among the most colorful of the jets out on the course

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Here is Brent Hisey’s P-51D, “Miss America”, N991R, Race 11

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My buddy Larry Labriola took his L-39C Race 7 (N995X) for a spin around the block.

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Race 62 (NL151BP) is a red-tail P-51D belonging to Mark Moodie

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Wee Willy is P-51D NL7715C

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Appropriately numbered Race 63 is NX163BP, P-63C Kingcobra, flown by Jim Dale

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Race 32 (NX39MX) is Zach McNeill’s L-39C Invictus.

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VH-XET is Race 61, Kevin Roll’s L-29 Miss Independence

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I’m looking forward to much more photography, and meeting and greeting, on Wednesday

AirVenture 2018 – Day 6

Saturday, July 28, 2018, was Day 6 of AirVenture, and, in some ways, the most important photo shoot of the event for me. The seeds of this mission were sown when I was at the Great Lakes/Howell Formation clinic two weeks prior. I got to talking with Dan Schiffer, the only check pilot at the event and one of the very few in his region. Dan brought his T-34 to Howell, but somehow I managed to not take a single photo of it. When he ever so delicately pointed that out to me, I offered to photograph it if he brought it to Oshkosh. He responded, “I’m not bringing the T-34 to Oshkosh. I’m bringing the Corsair.” Of course, I HAD to respond, “Okay, I’ll be very happy to photograph the Corsair!”

That was the genesis of an idea that evolved into our photo shoot of Saturday morning. Just one week before AirVenture 2017, Vlado Lenoch, a talented and widely-admired warbird pilot, was killed in the crash of a P-51D. Schiffer and Lenoch had been good friends, and Vlado often flew the Corsair that is owned, in part, by the Schiffer family. Additionally, earlier this year, the Warbird Heritage Foundation acquired Lenoch’s old P-51D, “Moonbeam McSwine”, with the intention of flying it in memory of Lenoch under the new registration N51VL. So, Dan Schiffer suggested putting together a flight consisting of the Corsair and Mustang in Lenoch’s honor.

Needless to say, I certainly didn’t have the horsepower to organize such a high-profile flight, but Dan did. He spoke with his cousin Michael Schiffer about flying the Corsair, and then recruited Fred Bower to fly the Mustang. Ron Staley was scheduled to fly his L-39 as the photo ship. But with a grandchild due any minute, he suggested Mike Terfehr as a replacement. I’d flown with “Spanky” earlier in the week and was delighted that I was going to be flying with him again. As we began our briefing on Friday evening, Bill Culberson asked if he could join in with his MiG 17. I certainly wasn’t going to say “No” to the chance to take photos of his freshly painted MiG! One last question remained…what our call sign would be. I suggested “Vlado Flight”, and that settled that question.

I’m going to be honest. I had a mixture of nervousness and excitement that night, and didn’t get a lot of sleep. Vlado was one of the first warbird pilots I’d friended on Facebook and, God bless him, he always had time to say hello when I’d hit him up with a chat request. I finally had the pleasure of meeting him in Peru IL last year, less than two months before his untimely death. He was universally liked, admired, and respected, and his death sent shock waves through the warbird community. This flight was going to be a big deal…so big, in fact, that I understand Dan was trying to arrange for Vlado’s son Michael, a US Air Force pilot, to come to Oshkosh to fly in the back seat of Moonbeam. That, unfortunately, didn’t happen.

Before I knew it, Saturday morning had arrived, and we were off to the races. A lot of spectators at AirVenture listen to airband radios to hear what’s going on, myself included. As “Vlado Flight” echoed on radios around the airport, the very name caught the attention of a lot of people. The sight of a Corsair, Mustang, MiG 17, and L-39 certainly got the attention of others. By the time we’d taken position on the runway, I could feel a lot of eyes watching us.

As he did before, Spanky did a masterful job of organizing the flight through various formations and angles. He made my job fairly easy as he lined up the formation, then eased us into position. The only fly in the ointment was that Mike Schiffer in the Corsair lost all radio communication with us. Ever the professional, he stayed glued to the wing of Moonbean. That cut down some of our maneuvering options, but he did allow us to complete the mission.

We took plenty of photos of all three aircraft, then we got the MiG to back off so we could capture shots of just the Corsair and Mustang. Then we took some individual aircraft portraits. We wanted to get some shots of the MiG in afterburner, but it took two tries to realize that Culberson started accelerating well before the flame began to shoot out of the tailpipe. On the third try, he started off well behind us so I could catch the flame as he passed by. Man, he was really humming as he passed us, but I did get off a couple of pretty good shots.

We were probably up there close to an hour, and it was probably about the most exciting hour of photography I’ve had since I joined the warbird community. I felt pretty good about the photos, but it wasn’t until I looked at them on my laptop that I heaved a sigh of relief! Many thanks to everyone involved, especially Dan Schiffer, for having the vision as well as the wherewithal to get the right people on board. Also, kudos to Mike Terfehr, who is one of the best photo ship pilots I’ve ever flown with. Taking these photos as a tribute to the memory of Vlado Lenoch was truly a team effort, and I was blessed to be one part of a terrific team. Thanks again to Mike Schiffer, Fred Bower, and Bill Culberson.

This year, EAA Warbird President Connie Bowlin and Paul Wood dedicated the Warbird Youth Center building in Lenoch’s memory. This building houses the P-51 Mustang and Corsair Flight Simulators. I am proud to say that one of my photos will eventually be displayed in this building. It is an honor.

AirVenture 2018 – Day 5

Friday, July 27, 2018, was Day 5 of AirVenture, and was a “just for fun” sort of flight. When I posted a few of Sunday’s “pre-show” photos on Facebook, I got a note from Kevin Kearney that one of the planes I got shots of was a PT-26 belonging to Mark Howard. I’d met both Kevin and Mark through my photo shoot of the Berlin Airlift C-97. So…I was shortly on the phone with Mark to say hello and see if we could arrange for a little photo shoot of his PT-26.

In that same vein, I gave Hunter Reilly a shout to see if he was up for a flight. Hunter flies a BT-13, and I met him at Oshkosh last year, after previously friending both Hunter and his dad, Jeremy. We had a good photo shoot last year, but we were both happy for another opportunity. So, a plan was formed.

Early on Friday morning, we all met by the BT-13, a.k.a. the Vultee Vibrator, for our briefing. We decided to take off with me in the back of the Vibrator and fly to Appleton WI, (ATW) while I took pictures of Mark’s plane. In Appleton, I would switch over to the backseat of the PT-26 and photograph the BT-13. Howard’s friend Mark Phillips flew in the back of the opposite aircraft.

Hunter Reilly (L), Mark Howard (C), and Mark Phillips (R) go over the briefing items prior to our flight.

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We departed Oshkosh and turned north toward Appleton. Hunter kept the Vibrator to the east of Mark, and we had a nice little photo shoot as we headed out over Lake Winnebago. Despite the weak sunlight, the traditional blue and yellow colors of the Basic Trainer stood out vividly against the dark background. There were some challenges with airspeeds as the PT-26 was cranking high RPMs in order to keep up with the BT-13, which as flying as slowly as Hunter was comfortable with. But we made it work.

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Our arrival at ATW was routine, despite the higher-than usual traffic. This airport s typically a reliever airport for OSH and gets a lot of overflow from AirVenture. In fact, on the Saturday preceding AirVenture, when OSH was IFR only, a LOT of traffic diverted to ATW. So our arrival was not a stress on the tower and then professionally handled us in the air and on the ground.

After we played “Musical Airplanes”, we departed ATW and headed back over Lake Winnebago to take photos of Hunter’s BT-13. Then it was time to join the furball of arrivals at OSH. I constantly marvel as the professionalism of the controllers at OSH which is, for one week, the busiest airport in the world. They safely and efficiently handle nearly 20,000 operations during AirVenture. Due to the difference in airspeeds, we parted company, leaving Hunter to fly the Warbird Arrival, while we headed south to follow the railroadd tracks leading to a VFR arrival to Runway 27. Our landing was routine, and we taxied back to Warbird Parking. It was another successful photo mission.

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After these flights, I took time to seek out Mike “Blade” Filucci, one of the big movers and shakers in the Warbird Community. Blade, currently the Vice President of Flight Operations and Pilot Information Center at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, was the first President of what is now the Redstar Pilot’s Association.

He says, “In 1997, the Yak Pilots Club was a small and struggling association of pilots flying primarily Yak-52s. It was in critical enough shape that it was in danger of losing its accreditation under the Formation And Safety Training (F.A.S.T). I had recently bought a Nanchang CJ-6 so I was interested in growing the association beyond its boundaries. Along with two partners, we basically bought the assets of the Yak Flying Club and renamed it the Yak Flying Association, later renamed Redstar Pilots Association (RPA).” Blade was the Association’s first President.

When I caught up with Blade, he was showing John Shuttleworth his new airplane, a SOCATA TB30 Epsilon, a French built light military trainer. It sports a Lycoming O-540 flat-six piston engine. He says, “The performance of the Epsilon makes It a terrific formation aircraft. The controls are extremely responsive, and the engine produces plenty of power. Having said that, I will always be an RPA’er at heart.”

While we were chatting, current RPA President Hartley “Postal” Postlethwaite came by to visit. It was a terrific photo op.

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After visiting with these gentlemen, I took some time to catch my breath and watch some of the air show from Warbird Parking.

I was particularly pleased to see my RPA Comrades fly a couple of extremely tight formations.

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I also caught “Doc” making a tight turn overhead.

All in all, Friday was a good day to catch up with some people I’d wanted to see, and still take some pretty good photos. At the end of the day, I met with a special group of pilots to brief a very special flight for Saturday morning. More on that in the next blog installment.