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Thread: Critical Mass - Blind Man's Bluff = SPLIT THREAD

  1. #1

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    Information regarding Sea Fury clipped wings is pretty accurate. Regarding my desire to obtain them from Frank Sanders, he told me that I really didn't want them, but when I told him I would just go back to Scottsdale and cut the ones I had, I thought he was going to faint! There was no doubt in his mind that I would really do such a thing to a perfectly good set of wing panels, so we did the deal. I am glad they are going on M.Browns racer. "Part of Blind Mans Bluff lives on"! It has been great following the Sea Fury progression since 1987 when we took BMB to Reno. There was another story regarding myself and Frank Sanders, When I told him I was going to do the 3350-26WD conversion he told me that it couldn't be done, something about motor mount triangulation, and also he said it wouldn't fit inside a Sea Fury cowling. Being hard headed and determined, I designed and built a motor mount, installed the 3350, mocked it up with a Sea Fury cowling, and sent Frank some photos of it, and the rest is history, lots of 3350 Sea Furys these days. I had a lot of help from Ralph Payne on the BMB project, as well as Frank, Dennis, and Brian Sanders and others. I even got the ride of my life when Dale Clarke took me for a spin in "Nothing Special". Larry Burton

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    The Canadian Rockies
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    1,528

    Default Re: Blind Man's Bluff

    Larry -- Is it true that the original plan was to have the airplane race in 1988, and that you hurried when you saw it could possibly make 1987?

    A couple of things I've been curious about, if you'd be willing to talk a bit:

    About how many hours were on the Racer when you got to Reno? Was the Arizona testing on gasoline, and did it fly on alcohol before Reno? Who did the flight testing in Arizona, and who ferried it to Reno?

    Blind Man's Bluff was really a heroic effort in many ways, even if the final result was disappointing to the crew (and to JoAnne). It was a great looking racer, and its life as Critical Mass proved its potential. Thanks for coming around and sharing a few of your memories.

    Neal Nurmi
    ---Wingman Photo---











  3. #3

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    What a fine looking racer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Napa Ca
    Posts
    739

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    What year were those pics taken?

    Will

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Cincy Guys Box @ 4SD
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    1,381

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    I love the helmet-hair! A true pilot in any "man's" book!
    Rutan Long EZ, N-LONG
    World Speed Record Holder

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    The Biggest Little City
    Posts
    697

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    Quote Originally Posted by 440_Magnum
    Yeah, its all physics. But that means more than *just* power/weight ratio. Its going to be very interesting to see how it plays out, precisely because the airplanes are so different in many ways.

    But I'm also going to be keeping my eyes on a purple Mustang, too

    All too true. I overlooked the fact that they are different airframes. I'll slap myself in the back of the head for that one.

    Many thanks for posting those great photos!!

    Lonnie

  7. #7

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    Wingman, you asked some good questions. The original plan was to race in1987. We got behind due to an accident where the wing center-section fell on me and I suffered significant injuries. I was taken to a hospital by paramedics and checked over by the docs, but I refused treatment, telling them "We've got a race to make". This happened on a Friday late afternoon, and I went back to work on Monday morning. I was suffering quite a bit but was trying to keep the crew working. Shortly thereafter the guys said, "We aren't going to work this week-end because we aren't going to make it to Reno anyway". There's a lot more to it, but at a point in time I called them all together and told them "I'm going to Reno with this airplane with or without you, the choice is yours". They all stayed. The deal is that in all my years in auto racing I was aware that the race will go on with or without you, they never held up the Indy 500 waiting for someone to arrive late. Your question as to how many hours on the racer, roughly 3 hours plus the flight time from Scottsdale to Reno. The flight testing was on gasoline, and never flew on alcohol until Reno, but we had ran engines on a dyno in Hondo, Texas on it for many hours. They performed great there, but like they say in auto racing, it isn't always the same when the engine is put in the car. We were confident that it was O.K. to try it at Reno, but it didn't start right away, and all the cranking over was allowing the fuel injection to keep on squirting lots of alcohol into the cylinders, and most of it went to the lower cylinders and hydrauliced them and caused some piston and probably rod damage. Skip did fly several laps though.Hard to keep this short, so will try to address your other questions.Flights in Arizona were done by Bill Norton, and Joanne Osterud, and Joanne ferried it to Reno and back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
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    1,528

    Default Re: Blind Man's Bluff

    Thank you for this, Sir! Don't worry on our account about keeping it short -- many of us have all the time in the world for untold history. Blind Man's Bluff is truly interesting and compelling history, and most of us have never been able to find out much about her other than what we saw on the ramp during Reno week (along with the many silly comments and snide remarks that floated around that week).

    So Captain O'Grady (and I hope I have the right name) never got to fly the airplane at all?

  9. #9

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    Wingman, you ask some good questions. Lt. Sheila O'Grady never got to fly BMB. She got checked out in a Sea Fury at Frank Sander's place. I got permission to use her from Gen.Welch, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and her squadron commander at Williams Air Force Base here in the Phoenix area where she was an instructor in T- 38's. My conversation with the General went like this: "What can I do for you young man?" I responded : "I want the best female pilot in the Air Force to fly an air racer at the Reno Air Races." He responded: You've got it." A couple of days later this beautiful young lady came marching into the Levolor hangar in a flight suit, and introduced heself to me. "Lt. O'Grady reporting for duty". The way that this came about was that Eric Lorentzen's father in law had gone through the acadamy with the General. Everything was going well until I got a phone call from a Colonel in San Antonio, Texas wanting to know what was going on. Air Training Command had not been notified as to what we were doing with Lt. O'Grady. Seems that they weren't pleased that we had cicumvented the "chain of command". The top of the chain and the bottom of the chain never sent any information from either end to the middle. We flew down and met with a room full of "Bird Colonels" and tried to straighten out the mess, and things were going well except for one "Bird". He was a real jerk, and for some reason felt severely harmed by the fact that we did not follow the chain of command. It came down to a vote, and they went into another room for a while, and when they came out the main guy said the vote was 11 to 1, and we lost because it required a unanimous decision. We wanted to pursue it further with a phone call to the General, but Sheila was concerned that if we coninued it could jeapordise her Air Force career. They did although tell us that they would let us use her the next year. That's the name of that tune!

  10. #10

    Default Re: September Pops Update

    Great Stuff Larry, keep it coming!

    Ken Dwelle

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