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World of Wings The Very Best in Aviation

Air Racing - Las Vegas Style!

Las Vegas, NV..
October 10,, 2002

World of Wings
Message From CEO Bob Avery
Las Vegas Air Racing

Dear Air Racing Fans,

click to enlarge image
Racers form up during practice
session at Nellis Air Force Base
Last weekend, October 5-6, 2002, World of Wings, Inc. (WoW) produced "Las Vegas Unlimited Air Racing" at the Aviation Nation 2002 Air Show for an estimated crowd of 350,000 to 400,000. Aviation Nation is the official air show of Nellis Air Force Base, located on the northern edge of Las Vegas. The entire air show, and especially the air races, was an overwhelming success. The lion’s share of credit for this huge success goes to the Aviation Nation air show committee and the strong and supportive leadership at Nellis AFB.

"Las Vegas Air Racing" was a demonstration of the world’s fastest motorsport. Several of the sport’s fastest and highest-profile air racers participated – Dago Red, Rare Bear, Voodoo, Riff Raff and as an added attraction, the Hughes H-1 Racer. The pace plane was the L-39 "Firecat" flown by Rich Perkins. Space Shuttle commander Curt Brown flew Bob Button’s L-39 jet as a safety observer for each race.

An actual air racing pit was set up at show center on the flight line. Besides the air racers and L-39’s, the pit housed the Fairey Firefly, a Corsair and a P-40. The air racing course was a five mile oval with the inside straightaway being located down the centerline of runway 21-03. Racers flew a left hand course that placed them up close and in full view of the crowd at all times. John Penney flying the F8F Bearcat "Rare Bear" was winner of the unlimited air race on Sunday. It was great to see Lyle Shelton’s Rare Bear back in the sky.

This race was conceived and advertised as a demonstration from day one. The purpose of the demonstration was to create new air racing fans and show the city of Las Vegas what they have been missing. The World of Wings team has been working for one year to sell the concept of full-blown air racing in Las Vegas and this demonstration moved us much closer to our goal. click to enlarge image
US Air Force Demonstration Team
The Thunderbirds at Nellis AFB

Boyd Gaming Corporation, one of the largest casino gaming companies in the world and owner of gaming properties across the U.S., stepped up as the title sponsor for Las Vegas Air Racing with a five-year agreement. Boyd Gaming officers were very pleased with what they saw and are serious about assisting World of Wings in making Las Vegas Air Racing a permanent fixture for the city. Other sponsors - Greenspun Media Group, JT3, DynCorp, Phillips 66, Rolls-Royce NA, Coke, Outback Steakhouse, Bonanza Beverage, Ricardo’s Restaurant, Nextel, Beringer Wine and Orvis made significant contributions to the event.

The World of Wings team believes that Las Vegas is the most logical place in the world to expand the sport. The city’s infrastructure, the wide-open space, favorable weather and a business community always on the lookout for the next big event make a powerful argument for a new air racing venue in this city. Discussions are ongoing with Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority, Las Vegas Events, local mayors, hotel and casino owners and other prominent business leaders and grassroots support of the project is swelling.

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Lyle Shelton's Rare Bear
flies again at Nellis AFB
World of Wings acknowledges that the sport can never flourish at Nellis Air Force Base because racing for prizes or money on a military installation is illegal. Full-up air racing at Nellis AFB was never the intent. The air base offers an ideal venue to demonstrate the sport to a large crowd and to potential sponsors and investors. A suitable location for full-blown Las Vegas Air Racing has been confirmed and that announcement will be made very soon.

World of Wings is operating as the promotional agent for Aviation Nation under a three year deal. Aviation Nation 2003 plans call for bringing the unlimited air racers back and expanding the demonstration to another class. It is planned that the Aviation Nation – Nellis AFB venue will be the temporary home for Las Vegas Air Racing until the new location is ready to support the full-up event.

Overall World of Wings efforts are on track with several major successes under our belt. It is important that we state that nothing is ever firm until the checks clear the bank. The only thing we are promising at this point is that the World of Wings team is working diligently to make this new air racing venue happen and we are committed to the eventual success of the project.

Everyone knows it takes a strong team and lots of external support to pull off a project like this. I want the world to know where the credit should go to for the successes to date:

Ken Baca was Director of the entire Aviation Nation 2002 project for World of Wings. WoW’s areas of responsibility at the event were sponsorship creation and activation, the event’s VIP hospitality chalet, media production and production of Las Vegas Unlimited Air racing.

Jim Pera was in charge of all air racing activity at Aviation Nation 2002 in Las Vegas. If you talk to any of the air racing teams, you will learn that we could not have done it without him.

The weekend races were called by Gordon Bowman-Jones who did a did an outstanding job getting the crowd’s juices flowing.

Special thanks go to Del "Sparky" Sparks who assisted Jim Pera running the air racing pit. Sparky was not planned for, he just fell out of the sky and landed in our laps. The fact that he did made our operation much smoother in numerous ways.

Other WoW staff playing key roles were Denise Buczek (Director of Marketing), Jon Taylor (Sponsorship Director), Paul Blanchard (Sales Director), Jeff Lee (Media Director), Wayne Sagar (Webmaster of ), Debbie Allen (hospitality chalet), Nancy Avery, Nicole Pera and Robert Paoli (guest services), Rick Harrison (photography), Amanda Avery, Janet Brower and George Groeber (merchandise sales). click to enlarge image
Members of the World of Wings
staff at Aviation Nation 2002

The biggest thanks of all go to the owners, pilots and teams who came to Las Vegas to support the birth of a new air racing venue. These teams have been underpaid and over-worked through the history of the sport and it was no different this year in Las Vegas. To the person, they gave the fans their best – just as they do year after year at Reno.

I can’t possibly mention everyone who assisted in putting this together. There were many and I am truly grateful for their trust, confidence and support.

click to enlarge image
Dago Red pilot Skip Holm spreads
"the word" to local Vegas media
I do want to give a very special commendation to Mark Kallio, webmaster of and Wayne Sagar, webmaster of AAFO.COM. Mark and Wayne should be thanked by all race fans for their mammoth efforts to keep fans informed every day of the year. This unselfish dedication, common throughout this sport, is one of the main ingredients that keep this sport alive today. My hat is off to both of you.

We are already planning Aviation Nation 2003 – the 50th anniversary of the Thunderbirds and the return of Las Vegas Air Racing. Every 2002 sponsor has already pledged to be back next year with a bigger package. Other companies, including several Las Vegas casinos, are contacting us about 2003 opportunities. Aviation Nation is now an annual event – the largest event the city of Las Vegas will host in the foreseeable future. My prediction is that this show will grow and prosper to become the premier air show of the western USA and most publicized air show in the world. Consider this insider’s information.

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Guests partake in the excellent fare
provided by Outback Steak House
in the WoW pavilion at Nellis AFB
Please follow our progress as we strive to elevate the sport of air racing to the next level. We are always interested in comments from true air racing fans so please speak up and help set the course for air racing in the 21st century. I encourage you to voice your opinion on these message boards so other air racing fans can stay informed and watch this opportunity unfold. We can’t possibly answer every email but we do read and religiously.

Bob Avery
President & CEO
World of Wings


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