Reno 2017 Update
September 19, 2017 at 4:35 PM
After an excellent year of racing by all competitors at Reno, the Blue Thunder Crew has had a chance to look through the data for Tuesday’s event—we wanted to share a bit about what we learned.
Although the root cause is still unclear, the engine experienced an overspeed event shortly after takeoff. This resulted in valve float, causing a number of valves to come into contact with their respective pistons. The affected pistons failed, causing a rapid degradation of engine rotating components. The camshaft was broken, the crankshaft was damaged, and two connecting rods departed through the case—one of which impacted the primary electrical system’s battery, causing a loss of electrical power as well.
We’ll continue to analyze the remaining clues, but rest assured the team has a plan to return to Reno next year with a vengeance!
We’d also like to thank all of our fans and sponsors for their continued support—we’re all looking forward to another great season of airshows and racing ahead.
I’ll probably get in trouble for posting this, but I had to mention it! Despite a total loss of engine power, significant vibration, trailing smoke, and a crippled electrical system, John Parker executed an absolutely flawless recovery of the airplane—he made “the impossible turn” look like a casual afternoon stroll.