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  • This is amazing!!!
    "CHARLIE DON'T SURF!!!"

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    • 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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      Lloyd came into the conversation because of the race I mentioned in which Preston finished behind Skip. Lloyd was 2nd in Furias to Rick in Dreadnought.

      And so I thought of him. Old gravely-voiced Lloyd was fun to talk to. Eric collected lots of stories from him that you may one day get to read about.

      He's another guy who wanted to do something and made it happen, literally. There quite a few stories like that in air racing. Obviously, Lyle made it happen too in his own way. And there are others.

      How about Anson Johnson.... Though his efforts were for Cleveland, not Reno, his story was fascinating. Another fellow who made things happen in his own way. And.... if things had gone differently, you might have seen him at Reno in the early 1970s. Plus, Johnson's Mustang, N13Y, can lead us right back to a conversation about Stiletto.
      Jan

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

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      • Originally posted by Jan View Post

        Lloyd came into the conversation because of the race I mentioned in which Preston finished behind Skip. Lloyd was 2nd in Furias to Rick in Dreadnought.

        And so I thought of him. Old gravely-voiced Lloyd was fun to talk to. Eric collected lots of stories from him that you may one day get to read about.

        He's another guy who wanted to do something and made it happen, literally. There quite a few stories like that in air racing. Obviously, Lyle made it happen too in his own way. And there are others.

        How about Anson Johnson.... Though his efforts were for Cleveland, not Reno, his story was fascinating. Another fellow who made things happen in his own way. And.... if things had gone differently, you might have seen him at Reno in the early 1970s. Plus, Johnson's Mustang, N13Y, can lead us right back to a conversation about Stiletto.
        Lyle and Richard Vartanian had discussed racing with N13Y after N66111 was done. Supe at Aero Sport and Lyle had gone and looked at the parts. Richard had bought the airplane so it was quite feasible. I remember sitting at Flo's Cafe listening to the plans. They all thought it would be a good idea. Privately Supe warned Lyle that if Lyle was going to be the guy to race it, Lyle needed to own the plane outright and not let anybody else have a financial stake in it. (Doc Cummins ended up owing Zeuschel a lot) As it worked out Lyle would spend 1967 and 1968 looking in other directions.....but you wrote that story.


        ​​​​​​
        John Slack

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        • Yes, I did write that story with some great input from you. Good stuff on N13Y as well.

          Vartanian is another interesting character. Obviously I'm aware of his dealings with Lyle to some degree but what was he like?

          Lyle basically cold-called Vartanian as he told it while trying to find a Mustang to race. Apparently Vartanian was buying and selling Mustangs at that point. Vartanian was one of the figures that helped Lyle get his Unlimited racing experience going.

          For those of you unfamiliar with Anson Johnson or N13Y, here's an image of his racer. He raced the airplane from 1947-49 at Cleveland and won the Thompson Trophy Race in 1948, mainly due to attrition. For some pretty obvious reasons given the competition he was up against, he knew he needed to modify his P-51 to compete for 1949. The result is what you see below.... Now have a look at Stiletto.

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          Jan

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

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          • Originally posted by Jan View Post
            Yes, I did write that story with some great input from you. Good stuff on N13Y as well.

            Vartanian is another interesting character. Obviously I'm aware of his dealings with Lyle to some degree but what was he like?

            Lyle basically cold-called Vartanian as he told it while trying to find a Mustang to race. Apparently Vartanian was buying and selling Mustangs at that point. Vartanian was one of the figures that helped Lyle get his Unlimited racing experience going.

            For those of you unfamiliar with Anson Johnson or N13Y, here's an image of his racer. He raced the airplane from 1947-49 at Cleveland and won the Thompson Trophy Race in 1948, mainly due to attrition. For some pretty obvious reasons given the competition he was up against, he knew he needed to modify his P-51 to compete for 1949. The result is what you see below.... Now have a look at Stiletto.

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            Anson Johnson was interesting individual. He also since he was attempting his record at Sea level decided to use a single stage Merlin on the theory that the engine would not have to use as much horsepower driving the two stage supercharger, in addition he believed that at Sea Level the engine would make plenty of boost to have enough horsepower.

            After the conversations with Supe and Lyle at Flo's Lyle decided that putting a Griffon on N13Y would be slick as could be. Lyle hadn't thought about the Contra Rotation engine because of the weight, he was going to find two stage engines and run the five bladed propeller and adjust the tail feathers accordingly.
            Last edited by BellCobraIV; 04-23-2024, 06:35 PM.
            John Slack

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            • A lovely airplane.

              I always liked the look of N13Y. It had potential. I wonder what its weight was. Those guys started with a Mustang, made some radical changes aerodynamically, but it was still a Mustang. A stock Mustang is over 7000 pounds, and the fastest modern Mustang racers run 6200-6400 ponds. Stiletto was 5800 pounds.

              Stiletto was very carefully built up from parts, with weight very much in mind. She was very different from any other Mustang.



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              • Originally posted by wingman View Post
                A lovely airplane.

                I always liked the look of N13Y. It had potential. I wonder what its weight was. Those guys started with a Mustang, made some radical changes aerodynamically, but it was still a Mustang. A stock Mustang is over 7000 pounds, and the fastest modern Mustang racers run 6200-6400 ponds. Stiletto was 5800 pounds.

                Stiletto was very carefully built up from parts, with weight very much in mind. She was very different from any other Mustang.



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                They reskinned the fuselage in magnesium, and the gear doors Swiss Cheese. Initially it had no internal starter, they had an external starter so that they didn't carry the weight.
                John Slack

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                • Wow, I didn't know Stiletto was reskinned in magnesium. They really did go to the nth degree to make the plane light. Again, another reason its my favorite.

                  Will

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                  • I don't know about the magnesium skin -- I never heard or read that.

                    Neal

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                    • Neal, John, Jan, and all the others,

                      I just want to add my gratitude for the conversation happening here (and those that have come before.) As a longtime fan who knows way more than the average person on the street but knows only a small fraction of what those who were actually there do, this thread (and, again, those like it that have come before) is pure joy. Early life never allowed for the chance "to get involved" but reading your memories is a priceless gift to myself and those like me. Just know your words and pictures are so deeply appreciated. And John, your "credit card racing" post may be the single best "story" post I have ever read. True gold.

                      James

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                      • Being in a similar position; I want to second what Mr. Fawkes has said. The posts that you gentlemen are making are pure gold to a fan like myself, who prior to 1990 could only experience the sport through the aviation magazines. My on-site experience did not begin until the Texas event in 1990, and then happily in Reno from 1994-on. So these great posts, and the Brad Haskin videos of races-past, are very appreciated links to the history of the sport. My eternal thanks!

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                        • Originally posted by wingman View Post
                          I don't know about the magnesium skin -- I never heard or read that.

                          Neal
                          Yes, the airplane was reskinned in Zeuschel's shop in Sylmar. There used to be a huge picture file at Zeuschel Racing Engines that showed the building of the racer in great detail. I'm sure that Rick can verify that fact, also Pete Law was around the shop as his nephew Erik Law had just started working for "Z". In addition when the aircraft was converted to a TF-51D Pete Regina had to reskin it back to aluminum. From my time on Strega's team the removed magnesium skin was stored at his place, along with the turtle deck. Not all of the secrets of big time air racing have leaked through the cracks yet. The reason I was originally brought on to the Strega Team was to make the parts to change the wing incidence angle. We kept that secret for a long time until Tiger just flat out "Told someone this about that".

                          Not long after Tiger's wing angle change Dwight decided there would be an advantage to having me in house for any projects he wanted to do. I worked typically one week in Gilroy, then one week in my machine shop in Bakersfield, Gilroy then Bakersfield.
                          Last edited by BellCobraIV; 04-24-2024, 09:23 AM.
                          John Slack

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                          • Stiletto was my favorite Mustang. Since it was made up from parts and so custom it was ashame that they tore it down to make a TF. Johnson's airplane was pretty cool for the time. Prop blades that were short, home made exhaust stacks. The air exits for the radiators on top of the wing were fairly crude compared to Stiletto's, and it's still around.

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                            • Can you imagine how much it would COST (in the current economy)to run a program, or even attempt a program like Stiletto now?
                              Eddie's Airplane Patch-Birthplace of the "Sonic Boom".......and I'm reminded every friggin' day!

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                              • The original drawings for the wing modifications on Stiletto were in a drawer in the back section of the Zeuschel shop. In those drawings the flaps were.supposed to be ducted, with the exit air going straight through the flap and out the back. Stiletto was another airplane that should have been able to be preserved as it was supposed to be. Yes, it was turned into a TF, but big deal it's not a racer anymore. Very sad. Sometimes when your in the pits fighting your own monster and it's issues it is easy to look across the ramp and see/respect what the other guys have made. I always respected Stiletto it was a beautiful effort. "Clone This!" lettered on the wingtip up at "Z's during the build.
                                John Slack

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