2019 Air Race Results
Warbirds of Delaware wasn’t able to get its re-engined Race 77, the Viper ready in time to qualify for 2019. For next year, it will be our top priority to get our JT12 engine installed and qualified . Pete Zaccagnino won this year’s event in Race 24, another JT12 powered L-29 with a 495 MPH Gold race. The JT12/L-29 makes a reliable and inexpensive racer that Pete proved is highly competitive. It looks like this combination will become a popular Jet Class racer over the next several years.
So, once again for 2019, Joe Gano was forced to fall back on his reliable old beater, Race 6 SLUGGO, a stock L-29. SLUGGO was 13th of 14th fastest overall, but Joe was able to qualify 11th of 14, and finish 11th of 14, with a 407 MPH race, good for third in the Bronze race.
Warbirds of Delaware continues to fight to get both of its banned racers back in the game. The race officials and the FAA have indicated the new engine in the Viper will work for Race 77. Race 2, Pipsqueak, remains a work in progress.
2019 Reno Air Races
The outlook for 2019 started out looking bleak. First, Rolls Royce issued a modified inspection program for our Viper race engines. This effectively grounded Race 77.
Second, the genius behind our racing success, Dave Cannavo, passed away in December. Dave had led our domination of all Reno racing for 6 straight years, from 2005 to 2010. Reno finally beat him in the only way they knew: They concocted issues they used to ban his racers. Along with three other racers, these included our Race 77 Viper, which holds Reno’s absolute speed record at 544 MPH, and Race 2 Pipsqueak, which holds the record for L-39’s at 525 MPH. These records may never be broken.
Since then, things have brightened considerably. First, we elected to re-engine Race 77 with a Pratt and Whitney JT12D. This engine will give us essentially the same performance as the old Viper.
Second, we engaged Steve Picatti as our new race engineer. Steve is a rated mechanic and currently the Jet Class Tech inspector. Steve is also an experienced pilot with Reno race experience. Steve has procured the engine and hopes to have the conversion completed by October. Too late for this year, but in plenty of time to dial it in for next year.
Third, the FAA and the Reno race officials have responded very favorably to our initiative, and have stated that they will support our efforts to enter Race 77 as soon as it meets race standards.
In the meantime, SLUGGO performed as well as a stock L-29 can be expected at Pylon Racing School, and remains dialed in to race. As usual, SLUGGO’s goal is to not finish last. We hope to better last year’s effort, where we qualified 14th of 15 and worked our way up to 11th overall by the end of the week.
Steve Picatti, Jet Class Tech Inspector, Joe Gano and teammate Frank Kasparian at the Awards Dinner
Joe Gano an other Bronze Racers on the Podium