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Air Race News
Countdown To Reno 2003
New T-6 Takes The Air
Reno Air Racing Update
Aug. 22, 2003


Critical Mass Air Racing T-6 First Flight

Reno Air Races - Dwelle T-6 Racer Click Image To EnlargeBack in June, we showed you photos of a "new" T-6 pilot getting qualified for race week, 2003. (click here for PRS photo feature) What we could not show you, because it was not yet completed (the paint on Ken Dwelle’s hands bore proof of this fact) and was sitting in the Dwelle hangar in Auburn, CA.was the "new" T-6 raceplane that Ken Dwelle would fly this year.

Actually, our involvement with this project goes back even further, when we got our first look at the new bird, under construction, during our 2001 visit to the Dwelle hangar (click here for 2001 story, T-6 photos are near the bottom of the above linked page.)

It’s always wonderful when a new entry is completed, flying and race ready, and this year, as the clock ticks down to Reno ’03 qualifying day, we’re going to let Ken and his dad, Tom Dwelle tell the story of this new racer in their own words.

Reno Air Races - Dwelle T-6 Racer Click Image To EnlargeKen Dwelle:
"Flew the T-6 Yesterday after 3 1/2 year ground up restoration, first time the airplane has flown since it left the Navy in 1946, 57 years ago. I rigged all of the controls and trim tabs box stock neutral by the book. The T-6 has only ground adjustable aileron tabs, so I set them up neutral as well. The airplane flies hands off, and absolutely straight. We got lucky with those wings.

First flight was about 3:30 PM yesterday. (20 Aug) The DAR showed up at 1:00 to issue the Airworthiness Certificate. Then by 3:00 we couldn't think up anymore excuses so I strapped in and launched. Dad chased in the Bonanza with Tommy on board.

Orbited over auburn for about 20 min to be sure the motor was not going to come apart then proceeded to Lincoln, 12 miles away. En route I did some clean, then dirty stalls to verify the airspeed, and the gear and flap operation then landed at Lincoln to check the plane over. All was good.

Reno Air Races - Dwelle T-6 Racer Click Image To EnlargeLaunched for Auburn, and landed after another 30 minutes of testing. Got 3 landings and 1 hour on the plane yesterday, and 2 landings, 30 minutes today. Other than a fuel pressure adjustment, I have no squawks.

Really satisfying to spend so much time on a project, then have it all work perfectly, I've been grinning all day.

The Sea Fury is cowled up and ready to fly, we are just waiting on one more pump from RB. Probably fly this weekend. All the ground runs are complete and motor is running great."

Reno Air Races - Dwelle T-6 Racer Click Image To EnlargeTom Dwelle:
"Our T-6F flew yesterday for the first time in 40 years. It's name is "KITCHEN PASS." It's not too fast and uses lots of oil, but really fun.

Caution: When at Reno, do not, repeat, DO NOT come around in a white shirt or anything else you don't want to get ruined by black-ass 60 wt. AeroShell.

Ken bolted a bunch of old parts together out of our junk and it flies pretty good as a matter of fact. We think we can win the ‘slug race.’ "

Reno Air Races - Dwelle T-6 Racer Click Image To EnlargeWell there you have it.. The "sandbags" are already being filled, a new racer is ready for action and the competition in the T-6 ranks just grew by one more airplane…

See ya at Reno ’03!

Story By:
Wayne Sagar,
with much help from Tom and Ken Dwelle
Photos By: Ken Dwelle,
Tom Dwelle
and Brian O’Brien

 

 

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