Crew Report - 30 Jun 13

June 30, 2013 at 5:45 AM


The week of June 8 – 15 saw the formation clinic and the pylon racing clinic take place here at the Stead airport here in Reno.  The week started out with some major briefings on formation flying from Bob Mills.  Lee Behel and Bob Mills scheduled two to three sorties per day for each attending aircraft in three to four separate flights all with separate practice areas.  My hat is off to Lee and Bob.

I was able to get in several sorties with the formation clinic for practice and review which was very beneficial.  The time on the race course worked out well for us because we were able to get some very valuable propeller test data in racing conditions that we have not been able to document before.  What the tests have shown is that Blue is faster at any given power setting up through a prop RPM of 1800.  We will try to get more data at higher RPMs during practice in September.  The photo of Blue Thunder II above is complements of

Tim Brand at put together a little video of some of the flying during the clinics. Some of the video was taken from cameras taped to Blue Thunder and there are a few frames of Blue as #3 in a four ship join up.  The video can be seen at

There were 12 new pilots certified for Sports Racing during the Pylon clinic and to date there 34 entries in the Sport Class racing this September.  The competition is going to be vicious.
All went extremely well for Blue the entire week during the PRS.  There was not a drop of oil on the belly of Blue II all week but when we came in Sunday morning, Blue II had left a major spill on the floor.  Investigation revealed that for some unknown reason the harmonic damper had rubbed against the cam drive gear cover and ground through it.

Measurements on the damaged harmonic damper revealed that the area of contact with the cam drive cover had expanded by as much as a tenth of an inch causing the contact.


After a considerable amount of time at the University of Google, I found the source of the damper at  After a very long chat on the phone with Fluidamper tech support, they assured me that what I had was their harmonic damper (pn 720121) and the one I had was junk and I should buy a new one.  So, four hundred and nine dollars later I had a new one form the local Summit speed shop.  The photo below shows that they are not exactly the same but tech support assures me that their function is the same.  We will find out.


The next Air Show Blue II will attend is the EAA convention in Oshkosh WI, July 29th to Aug. 4th.  If any of you are attending AirVenture, please come by for a meet and greet.  The next report will be about the AirVenture show and the preparations for the Reno Races.

Thanks again for everyone’s support.

John Parker

Tags: PRS 2013 Harmonic Damper AirVenture 2013
Category: Crew Reports

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