Crew Report - 16 Oct 11

October 16, 2011 at 6:18 PM

There is a little good news that can be gleaned from the September air races and that is we won the only Sport Gold Race that was completed. The Thursday race was canceled when Mike Dacey had an engine failure on takeoff and put his Venture down in the infield. The good news is that Mike is back home in San Louis Obispo facing a long recovery. Thanks to many of you who donated to fly him back in a King Air arranged by Kevin Eldredge. As much as I would like to, of course, it is impossible to avoid touching on the unpredictable tragic event with our friend Jimmy Leeward that happened on Friday just after we won the Sport Gold. Our condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragic accident.

In the light of the unfortunate results of the September air race event, I think that a reviewing of the year and the successes would be beneficial for this report.
The report on the Golden West show is in the June 2011 Blue Report and some of the Blue II photos are posted on the Golden west web page and at


Immediately following the Golden West Show, we started flying at the PRS here in Reno. We were able to get in a little flight time practicing formation and the disciplines associated with racing on the pylon. A lady by the name of Margaret Watt took some pictures of Blue II while riding with some of the other participants of the formation. Many of her photographs are posted on the Sport Class web gallery.

The Oshkosh Show was covered in the August Blue Thunder report. The photo to the left taken at Oshkosh was a lucky shot of Blue II with the RARA banner in the background and one of our sponsors name written in the sky. The show was a big success and Aero Fusion signed up as another corporate partner.

Back home from Oshkosh, we put a new 800+HP engine in Blue II for the races.

In the picture here, Kevin Eldredge is flying Ron Deblack’s Thunder Mustang. Ron’s TM was flown in the races by Scott Nelson.


After what was left of the races, we put the old tried and true 650 HP transport engine back in Blue II in preparation for the Gathering of Mustangs at the Nut Tree Airport, October 8th.

During the Gathering of Mustangs, a few select members of the spectators were invited to sit in Blue II. Mike is on "slip and fall" duty. In the event she should slip off the wing, she would land on Mike.


The US Air Force has an excellent selection process. The ladies pictured with the old guy are active duty airmen stationed a Travis AFB. We thank them for their service to our country and Blue II crewman Steve Edmundson is stationed a Travis, has their names and unit numbers and is on active "follow up" duty.

There are more photos of the “gathering of mustangs” at the Vacaville, CA Nut Tree airport posted here.

At the risk of making this report too long, I would like to introduce Spencer Taw. He is a professional photographer in the Bay Area selling his pictures to magazines worldwide. He is a new and welcomed partial sponsor to the Blue Thunder Air Racing Team. For more information, click here to email Spenser.


The Blue Crew will now start signing up sponsors for the 2012 season and planning the show schedule. Regardless of what happens to the Reno Air Races, American Air Racing, the Blue Thunder Air Racing Team, and the Thunder Builders Group will still be here and will plan an event of our own if necessary.


With winter coming on, Blue II will be getting the traditional extensive conditional inspection. In the next Blue Report, I hope to have some maintenance news of general interest that should apply to most Thunder Mustangs.

The Blue Crew, Jan and I want to be the first to wish all of our sponsors, fans and supporters a Very Happy
Thanksgiving, and thanks so much for your continued support!

John Parker

Tags: Reno Air Races 2011 Pylon Racing Seminar 2011 Tempest Gathering of Mustangs Sponsors 2012
Category: Crew Reports

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