Nemesis Dominates Fox Field National Air Races (Again!)

Russ Erb

Originally published November 1997

Much to everybody's non-surprise, Team Nemesis, led by Chapter 1000 members Jon and Tricia Sharp, once again dominated the Formula 1 event at Fox Field for the second year running and in general for the last seven or eight years.

On both Saturday and Sunday, missing man formations were flown in memory of the tragic loss of Formula 1 racer Bill Nusz in a mid-air collision at Edwards AFB just one and a half weeks prior to the races. Saturday's formation consisted of a Bonanza and two T-34s. Sunday's formation consisted of three Formula 1 race planes immediately following the Silver Final race.

Also involved this year were Biplane races and model aircraft races. The Biplanes were primarily Pitts Specials, with one Mong and one Skybolt. The model aircraft were far from small, having wing spans of five to six feet. They put on a very interesting show, which left all of the military aircrew in the area feeling a foot shorter. Later discussions with the model pilots revealed measured g-loads of 36 g's (!) in the turns. That could hurt! The simple fact they could do that without stalling raises interesting questions about low Reynolds Number aerodynamics.

The event started Friday with Gary Aldrich, Bill Grahn, and George Gennuso setting up the chapter booth. Russ Erb showed up shortly thereafter with the goodies to stuff the booth with and the ever-popular Pedal Pitts. The chapter web site was back, along with videos on the TV (largely ignored) and full organic printing capability, which was primarily used for supporting Young Eagles flights. The Pedal Pitts would participate in an experiment that proved that enamel paint on a plastic football (specifically, the spinner) at reduced temperatures (40 to 50 F) would crack and flake off when the football was squeezed and deformed by passers-by. This, of course, was not a planned test program. Fortunately, the original football was a similar color to the paint such that this severe case of hangar rash was only moderately noticeable. Conditions improved significantly for encouraging the great unwashed to keep their mitts to themselves by relocating three of the stanchions from the aircraft display area and roping off a small area around the Pitts. (I wonder if Poly-Fiber has any sort of primer that would improve adhesion to a plastic football? Jon?)

Fly-in aircraft were few to non-existant on Friday, but started showing up on Saturday and Sunday. Under the direction of Air Boss Norm Howell, they were efficiently parked by a well trained team of Bob Waldmiller (filling in for parkmeister Ron Applegate, who said something about having to work that weekend), Gretchen Lund, Harry Richardson, Connie Farmer, George Gennuso, Bill Grahn, and a whole mess of well-trained CAP cadets. Also participating were Chapter 49 members Paul and Victoria Rosales. Heading up the registration booth was Quentin Toyloy. This same crew would again return later each day to launch the aircraft in another airport ballet. The FAA folks in the tower were extremely pleased--they had an easier job and handled far more aircraft while our crew was on duty than they did during a normal day.

Saturday's events started off with the playing of the National Anthem and a B-1 fly-by that was perfectly timed within a second--the afterburners started to obliterate the sound just as the last note was finishing.

Young Eagles flights were flown on both Saturday and Sunday, and were far more successful this year in number of kids flown than last year. See the report in this newsletter. Of note was the participation of new Chapter 1000 member Ed Dutreaux, who had come down from his base at San Carlos (San Francisco area) in his beautiful RV-4. George Heddy coordinated overall, and Dave Webber did a great job of filling in for Dave McAllister as ground operations coordinator.

Other Chapter 1000 and 49 members helping out in various capacities or seen around the ramp were Don Alderson, Joyce Mills, Ron Applegate (who finally made it out to see the last races), Miles Bowen, John Bush, Bryan Duke, Vance Jaqua (with the rebuilt KIS Cruiser on display), Keith Kelly, Brian Martinez, Arlene Martinez, Sten Martinez, Mike Meyer, Frank Roncelli, Jack Hakes, Jack Huffman, Dick and Rosan Monaghan, Jon King, Don Robinson, Con Oamek, Mike List, and probably a few other people I didn't see or forgot.

All those involved thought that this year's event was a rousing success, and we again learned things to keep or do better for next year. Many participants were raving about the outstanding job done by Air Boss Norm Howell in keeping the event safe and on schedule.

Complete race results will be are available on our web site shortly after Tricia gets them to me.

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Revised -- 25 April 1998