Crew Report - 5 Mar 12

March 05, 2012 at 2:20 PM

It has been too long between this Blue Report and the last one. The last one was in October of 2011 just after the tragic event here at the Reno Air Races. The good news from the Reno Air Racing Association is that the races will continue starting with the Pylon Racing School held June 13 – 16 2012 and the races September 12th through the 16th 2012.


As usual, the instructors for the Sport Class will be holding a Formation And Safety Training (FAST) course on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning just prior to the PRS. As an added value to the FAST course, Rick Vandam has agreed to use this training time to sign off a BFR for those requesting one. In addition to the BFR value of the FAST course, American Air Racing will host another Thunder Mustang/Racer Support open house during the week. We are encouraging all Thunder Mustang owners and pilots to take advantage of this opportunity to maximize your proficiency by flying your TM one to three times a day for a week. The team work, friendship and comradely that develops between your fellow TM owners is a secondary but important benefit of your participation. Check out for more information.

The last event for Blue Thunder was the Gathering of Mustangs last October and she has not flown since then. We have had two potential sponsors ask us to do some scientific testing on their products which this crew could do with the 51 Aero data recording and telemeter systems installed in Blue. Unfortunately neither company came through with a check for the work. So, Blue has been sitting in its little corner of the hangar until we started the 2012 conditional inspection February 20th.

The conditional inspection has gone well and I will be signing that off today. During the inspection we found a couple of discrepancies. The first item was during an operational check the Ameri-King AK550-12 let all the smoke out so it had to be returned for repair. The second was the blow down bottle cable was extremely hard to pull. We replaced the knob on the cable with a T-handle for a better grip and changed the angularity on the cable to lever arm on the bottle for better leverage. The cable is still hard to pull but much easier than before.

An item showed up during the wheel and brake inspection that I cannot explain at this time. As you can see in the picture below, there is evidence of something rubbing on the inboard surface of the left brake disk outside the maximum radius of the brake pads. The brake pads are all .20” or better and quite secure. The backing plates and calipers in good condition an functioning normally. This is something we put in the unexplained file. If anyone has a comment as to how this could happen, please leave it in the comments section below.


OK, so what is in the future for Blue Thunder II?

The air show schedule for 2012 is still in the formulation stages at this time but I can say that we will be attending the:

NVAG open house June 9th
FAST course, PRS and the AAR open house June 10 – 16
AirVenture July 23 – 29
Reno Air Races and the AAR Thunder Storm September 10 – 15
Nut Tree Gathering of Mustangs in October.

We will be firming up Blue’s show schedule in the next couple of months and I will be able to add additional details in the next report. In the mean time we will make a few test flights and day trips.

Thanks again for everyone’s support.

John Parker

Tags: Gathering of Mustangs 51 Aero Ltd Reno Air Races 2012 Pylon Racing Seminar 2012 FAST Open House Conditional Inspection Wheel Brake Schedule
Category: Crew Reports

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