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  • Sometimes it was almost painful to watch this.The airplane sat out of racing for a year and a half. I've seen a picture of it covered in snow sitting outside at Stead. In 1985 they got it going and got to Bakersfield. So Lyle, a tired and REALLY cranky raceplane, and a few young dudes out there in the weather trying to keep the dream alive.

    But the airplane still ended up going really fast on Sunday...


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    Last edited by wingman; 04-20-2024, 09:36 PM.

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    • Originally posted by wingman View Post
      I was really pleased that I could help a little bit. I liked and admired the whole group of people and always loved the airplane.

      The gear door is not all the way up and the tailcone stinger is squishing. This may be at the start of the Gold race -- I was at home pylon. If so he was at warp speed.




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      This shot illustrates one of the things I have taken to doing when shooting the racers. I shoot looking for oil canning, gear hanging open, air flow patterns in the oil spray ect. Its always a plus for me when I can catch something that could potentially save someone's life, or make the plane go faster. A couple of the Unlimiteds and Sport guys have benefitted.

      Will

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        Have I mentioned that I like white raceplanes?

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        • The glory of big time air racing.

          Shafter was a pretty desolate place.

          That's Slack in the white shirt.


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          • A lot of moving parts...


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            • Facing off for the first time. There was a great turnout of racers for this event.



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              • More glory of big time Air Racing -- Zeuschel had TWO of those high tech work stands.



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                • Originally posted by wingman View Post

                  So how did you find the file title in this software, Mark? I've poked around and not been able to find it.

                  Actually Stiletto was an interesting possibilty that I had not thought of -- though I'm not sure numnutz ever got this close to Skip. I really like white raceplanes, and there have not been many white raceplanes over the years.

                  So Mark is correct -- well done on this rather obscure little quiz involving a one year phenomenon (Voodoo being white).

                  So, Mark -- Did you get the answer before or after checking for the file name??



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                  Actually, numnutz did get that close to Skip. I had to look back through the records but my guess referred to the Saturday Gold heat from 1986. Brickert finished first in Dreadnought at 416.787 mph. Lloyd Hamilton was 2nd in Furias at 415.293. Skip was 3rd in Stiletto at a leisurely 399.341 and Preston was 4th at 394.594.

                  I guess sleuthing is sleuthing but I didn't do that. I just looked at the photo and took a guess. The more tech savvy like Mark have an advantage.

                  Btw, some of you may not remember but Skip and Preston actually flew together fairly often for a time. The two pal'd around together a good bit as well, did business together and had some pretty sketchy adventures together. Skip told us about them. Good, if wacky, stories.

                  Hey Slack - Penney, the Bearcat, 1985.... I bet there's some good stories there....

                  And Lloyd.... Eric and I always had fun taking to him. Plus as youngsters we always lusted after his black 1988 or 89' Porsche 944 Turbo and bugged him about it. Sweet car....
                  Last edited by Jan; 04-22-2024, 01:38 AM.
                  Jan

                  http://www.AirRace.info = http://www.airrace.de

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                  • Originally posted by wingman View Post
                    I was really pleased that I could help a little bit. I liked and admired the whole group of people and always loved the airplane.

                    The gear door is not all the way up and the tailcone stinger is squishing. This may be at the start of the Gold race -- I was at home pylon. If so he was at warp speed.




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                    The pocket doors were always an issue. We had to source gears, we stoned the teeth on the gears, we had a couple custom set of gears made, the first high dollar set didn't last long, we finally met a guy on the ramp ar Reno that had a couple of sets of the gears that he just walked up, gave them to us and walked away. Finally We were looking at a stock Bearcat and realized there was a stock brace that didn't get put on Rare Bear in 1969 because it didn't fit and an old Navy Mechanic had told Lyle "Don't worry about it, if you don't use the drop tank your fine.". Wrong! We figured out a brace and things calmed down in the mid eighties..

                    You can also notice that when we took the large wing root fillets off there was a gap behind the pocket doors and we spent a couple of years running without that original small fillet that closed the gap.

                    We filled the tail cone with a fiberglass compound to get it to keep it's shape. Not concerned about the extra weight because we were always carrying some amount of extra weight towards the tail to make up for the additional weight we added forward of the firewall.

                    The early eighties were a period of great change for the airplane. Aircraft Cylinder had always supported the engine and still were, however they were tiring of the no great results and still having parts going out the door. AC&T started making suggestions that we would need to heed in a short amount of time. Bill Hickle was getting drawn back in. Lyle's day job was keeping him busier.

                    The team kept trying, Dave Cornell, Greg Shaw, Rich Donahue, started looking deeper in the weeds to fix airframe issues. George Bysrd introduced Dave Cornell and myself to the supercharger drive system of the R-3350-42. Unfortunately there was no way to get from here to there. The components just would not fit or work together. Using the -42 blower drive would not allow the use of the spinner injection fuel system that we used for the Bearcat. Instead the -42 required the fuel injection system that would not fit with the engine mount we had. One winter we had all kinds of components laid out on a bench in the hangar. Dave, Greg, Mel and myself were in the hangar and we were discussing the "adapter kit." The dimensions for the ring to go between the -26WC part of the engine, Which went behind the R-3350-36W part of the engine and was important because this was the front of the supercharger housing where the induction tubes headed out to take the pressurized mixture to the cylinders. Everything we looked at had no way to get there from where we were at. At one point before lunch Mel Gregoire said "Well if only we had the intermediate section of some bizarre R-3350 that was used in a few Constellations back in the fifties, it would go from there to there." So with that in mind we started calling all of the guys on Murderer's Row in San Fernando area. At this point ther were aviation junk dealers in the San Fernando Valley that could pretty much find anything. Within a few days a lead came in on two of these Rare Bizarre Engine Parts. However a deal could not be struck until Mel called the guy and asked him why he wouldn't let go of these parts, after their conversation the man who had the RBEPs said I'm going to need them to build some kind of aviation abortion he was working on. Mel told him don't use those a much netter part for you to use is this this case. AC&T sent the man the later better case and we got turned out three of RBEP. Well now we had an unbuilt highway that even though now you could see from here to there we didn't know how rough the road was going to be to get there. Money we were going to need money, lot's of money. and the money just wasn't there to be found. we had been credit card air racing for so long that we were still paying off race expenses from before. (Rare Bear sat out Reno 82, and 84 in this time period.)

                    Around this time a man from Wichita was looking to become involved in air racing as a media to promote his hotels. The sleek looking Mustangs had his interest, however a chance look at an aerial view of the pit area showed this man there was one pit where people were standing three to four rows deep to watch the action. Jack DeBoer called his people in and said I found the racer were going to support. And the money fountain started to drip.....

                    With Jack's funding the core group of us were able to build a highway across that desolate distance and te R-3350-77 was born. Dave Cornell and Pete Law worked out a system to theoretically get fuel down to the supercharger inlet using yet another 3350-32 casing. Dave had two adapter rings made up, Dave had Wire EDM used to replicate the pieces from which the fuel was injected through holes into the center of the impeller. There was a little part deep inside called a turbulator the injected engines didn't need it. a supercharger consultant said get rid of it those fat blades are for starting a taildragger at low RPM. Yes it changed the amount of prime it took to start Rare Bear, and forever the pilots never understood or remebered that part of the briefing, Not Lyle, Not Penney, Hevle got it. For Sure Ron Buccarelli didn't get. As a result most of the morning engine run-ups were done during the pilot briefing, you know because they were busy then. Cornell did those and I did those, neither Greg or Mel ever wanted to. After year one of Jack's support things were looking up. We had Ken Hamlin profile the wing to the point were even Kerch walked up and was amazed the finish. SMOOTH, Some didn;t like the Copperfrost paint that came with the DeBeor support, but to us it was the color of money.

                    Last edited by BellCobraIV; 04-22-2024, 10:19 AM.
                    John Slack

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                    • Originally posted by wingman View Post
                      Facing off for the first time. There was a great turnout of racers for this event.



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                      Butterknife was supposed to be Zeuschel's in house racer. He let Alan Preston get financially involved, as for everything Alan touched it became a farce of an operation. Zeuschel didn't want to support the racer with Alan. Dennis Schoenfelder told me once that "Z" had to support the racer or deal with Alan's attorneys.

                      Very fast airplane that I personally wish could have been developed by Matt Jackson and Ricky Shanholtzer to it's fullest. Somehow I still believe that Alan talking in David Prices ear shut it all down..
                      John Slack

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by BellCobraIV View Post

                        The pocket doors were always an issue. We had to source gears, we stoned the teeth on the gears, we had a couple custom set of gears made, the first high dollar set didn't last long, we finally met a guy on the ramp ar Reno that had a couple of sets of the gears that he just walked up, gave them to us and walked away. Finally We were looking at a stock Bearcat and realized there was a stock brace that didn't get put on Rare Bear in 1969 because it didn't fit and an old Navy Mechanic had told Lyle "Don't worry about it, if you don't use the drop tank your fine.". Wrong! We figured out a brace and things calmed down in the mid eighties..

                        You can also notice that when we took the large wing root fillets off there was a gap behind the pocket doors and we spent a couple of years running without that original small fillet that closed the gap.

                        We filled the tail cone with a fiberglass compound to get it to keep it's shape. Not concerned about the extra weight because we were always carrying some amount of extra weight towards the tail to make up for the additional weight we added forward of the firewall.

                        The early eighties were a period of great change for the airplane. Aircraft Cylinder had always supported the engine and still were, however they were tiring of the no great results and still having parts going out the door. AC&T started making suggestions that we would need to heed in a short amount of time. Bill Hickle was getting drawn back in. Lyle's day job was keeping him busier.

                        The team kept trying, Dave Cornell, Greg Shaw, Rich Donahue, started looking deeper in the weeds to fix airframe issues. George Bysrd introduced Dave Cornell and myself to the supercharger drive system of the R-3350-42. Unfortunately there was no way to get from here to there. The components just would not fit or work together. Using the -42 blower drive would not allow the use of the spinner injection fuel system that we used for the Bearcat. Instead the -42 required the fuel injection system that would not fit with the engine mount we had. One winter we had all kinds of components laid out on a bench in the hangar. Dave, Greg, Mel and myself were in the hangar and we were discussing the "adapter kit." The dimensions for the ring to go between the -26WC part of the engine, Which went behind the R-3350-36W part of the engine and was important because this was the front of the supercharger housing where the induction tubes headed out to take the pressurized mixture to the cylinders. Everything we looked at had no way to get there from where we were at. At one point before lunch Mel Gregoire said "Well if only we had the intermediate section of some bizarre R-3350 that was used in a few Constellations back in the fifties, it would go from there to there." So with that in mind we started calling all of the guys on Murderer's Row in San Fernando area. At this point ther were aviation junk dealers in the San Fernando Valley that could pretty much find anything. Within a few days a lead came in on two of these Rare Bizarre Engine Parts. However a deal could not be struck until Mel called the guy and asked him why he wouldn't let go of these parts, after their conversation the man who had the RBEPs said I'm going to need them to build some kind of aviation abortion he was working on. Mel told him don't use those a much netter part for you to use is this this case. AC&T sent the man the later better case and we got turned out three of RBEP. Well now we had an unbuilt highway that even though now you could see from here to there we didn't know how rough the road was going to be to get there. Money we were going to need money, lot's of money. and the money just wasn't there to be found. we had been credit card air racing for so long that we were still paying off race expenses from before. (Rare Bear sat out Reno 82, and 84 in this time period.)

                        Around this time a man from Wichita was looking to become involved in air racing as a media to promote his hotels. The sleek looking Mustangs had his interest, however a chance look at an aerial view of the pit area showed this man there was one pit where people were standing three to four rows deep to watch the action. Jack DeBoer called his people in and said I found the racer were going to support. And the money fountain started to drip.....

                        With Jack's funding the core group of us were able to build a highway across that desolate distance and te R-3350-77 was born. Dave Cornell and Pete Law worked out a system to theoretically get fuel down to the supercharger inlet using yet another 3350-32 casing. Dave had two adapter rings made up, Dave had Wire EDM used to replicate the pieces from which the fuel was injected through holes into the center of the impeller. There was a little part deep inside called a turbulator the injected engines didn't need it. a supercharger consultant said get rid of it those fat blades are for starting a taildragger at low RPM. Yes it changed the amount of prime it took to start Rare Bear, and forever the pilots never understood or remebered that part of the briefing, Not Lyle, Not Penney, Hevle got it. For Sure Ron Buccarelli didn't get. As a result most of the morning engine run-ups were done during the pilot briefing, you know because they were busy then. Cornell did those and I did those, neither Greg or Mel ever wanted to. After year one of Jack's support things were looking up. We had Ken Hamlin profile the wing to the point were even Kerch walked up and was amazed the finish. SMOOTH, Some didn;t like the Copperfrost paint that came with the DeBeor support, but to us it was the color of money.



                        A wonderful post, John. The fans, and even the real enthusiasts, never see this stuff. The sheer amount of work,discouragement, exhaustion, enthusiasm, hope, and agonizing decision making involved in a top notch racing effort is quite invisible to the rest of us. Then there is the money aspect. I think the term "credit card racing" says a lot about the personal sacrifice.

                        Your post will probably inspire a bunch of pictures -- and I quite liked the brown paint. The airplane went faster and finished more races with that paint. What's not to like?

                        Mel Gregoire was one of the great and mostly unheralded figures in radial engine history.

                        Neal
                        Last edited by wingman; 04-22-2024, 12:44 PM.

                        Comment



                        • I doubt that this photo is the one Jack saw, but the phenomenon of lookieloos clustering to the Bear was real. The fans always loved this airplane. The Bear is in the second row from the right.

                          Jerry McDonald had me where I wanted to be for this 1981 photo. You are never ever supposed to overfly the pit and ramp area. I asked Jerry about it, and he said he couldn't do it because they'd throw him out of the races and off the airport. Then, to my surprise he did it anyway. Nobody said anything, and I got my picture.

                          Neal




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                          Last edited by wingman; 04-22-2024, 12:36 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Jan;




                            Btw, some of you may not remember but Skip and Preston actually flew together fairly often for a time. The two pal'd around together a good bit as well, did business together and had some pretty sketchy adventures together. Skip told us about them. Good, if wacky, stories.

                            Hey Slack - Penney, the Bearcat, 1985.... I bet there's some good stories there....

                            And Lloyd.... Eric and I always had fun taking to him. Plus as youngsters we always lusted after his black 1988 or 89' Porsche 944 Turbo and bugged him about it. Sweet car....
                            Preston was a strange figure -- a truly toxic personality. But he did have friends. Bruce Lockwood always spoke well of him and thought he was a good person to work for, and as you said Skip generally got along well with him. in later years he was a respected instructor at PRS and RARA seemed to love him. But he always remained a big time asshole.

                            How did Lloyd come into the conversation -- I assume you mean Hamilton?

                            Here is Lloyd with Dave Zeuschel waiting for something at the Shafter race -- racing always seems to involve a lot of waiting. John Slack had a theory about Dave's hand position in this picture. He figured that Dave was indicating the size of the Hamburger Dave was planning on having once they got away from Shafter and back to civilization...

                            Neal



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                            • Originally posted by wingman View Post
                              I doubt that this photo is the one Jack saw, but the phenomenon of lookieloos clustering to the Bear was real. The fans always loved this airplane. The Bear is in the second row from the right.

                              Jerry McDonald had me where I wanted to be for this 1981 photo. You are never ever supposed to overfly the pit and ramp area. I asked Jerry about it, and he said he couldn't do it because they'd throw him out of the races and off the airport. Then, to my surprise he did it anyway. Nobody said anything, and I got my picture.

                              Neal




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                              One of Jack's guys brought the picture out to show us. It was taken when the airplane was right on the pit road end. We preferred that pit as it was out of the crowd of the end pits. Later on before we had cell phones and we had a landline installed in the trailer it was convenient for that as well.

                              Great picture.
                              Last edited by BellCobraIV; 04-22-2024, 01:47 PM.
                              John Slack

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by wingman View Post

                                Preston was a strange figure -- a truly toxic personality. But he did have friends. Bruce Lockwood always spoke well of him and thought he was a good person to work for, and as you said Skip generally got along well with him. in later years he was a respected instructor at PRS and RARA seemed to love him. But he always remained a big time asshole.

                                How did Lloyd come into the conversation -- I assume you mean Hamilton?

                                Here is Lloyd with Dave Zeuschel waiting for something at the Shafter race -- racing always seems to involve a lot of waiting. John Slack had a theory about Dave's hand position in this picture. He figured that Dave was indicating the size of the Hamburger Dave was planning on having once they got away from Shafter and back to civilization...

                                Neal



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                                Zeuschel's Cheeseburger picture!! That was classic. The Cheeseburger stand was right across the freeway off ramp from Shafter. I was dragging my butt one afternoon fighting with the Bear and "Z" came across and said to me, "being a motor guy isn't all the headlines and flashbulbs that you dreamed, right? I'm going over for a cheeseburger want me to bring you one back?" I said sure. He brought me one back.
                                he was and still is a mentor to me, along with Dwight, Mel Gregoire, Cornell, Shaw, Scoville, Nixon and a couple car guys most wouldn't know. Today all of my Mustangs have 8 cylinders. I still have a lot of friends that swim in that pond, however I don't have the desire to join them.

                                Tiger once told me that Lloyd Hamilton was the guy that convinced him that Da' Doc was the magician that he needed for Strega's Motor guy.
                                Last edited by BellCobraIV; 04-22-2024, 02:10 PM.
                                John Slack

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