nter Chester Jurskis, Director of Sales for an aircraft charter company in Addison, Texas. We met concerning a photography project, and located right next to desktop photos of the family was a bright red and white model of a V-Tail Bonanza with yellow racing stripes. The model sparked a conversation and it turns out, it’s a replica of his 1965 S model 35, which also has a Continental 550 conversion and runs a Scimitar prop. Comparing notes on performance, he blew me away by saying he was getting around 217 mph when he races it, about 10 to 12 mph faster than the book says it should go. Needing more information about racing and what he is doing to go faster, we scheduled a meeting to see his plane and some of his racing buddies.
wind tunnels, no aerodynamic engineers; these guys are just using common sense and the new technologies available to lighten aircraft load, reduce drag and maximizing the performance of the engines.
Chester explains how the “Sport Racing League” is run. “There are about seven When I first saw these airplanes taxi up, I to fifteen races per season. Anyone can was a taken aback by how “regular” they enter with a prop driven plane in differlooked. Each had racing numbers and one ent categories of stock or experimental, had a very nice paint job, but other than fixed gear, retractable gear and horsepower. that, they seemed to be pretty much stock Three aircraft constitute a class with a $25 Bonanzas. My heart entry fee, which sank thinking I may includes lunch and have been a victim of No wind tunnels, no a thorough briefing a “hangar fish story.” aerodynamic engineers; of the race. Each Then they began to these guys are just using course is around show me some of the 125 miles long and common sense and the new little things that have shaped like a square been done to reduce technologies available to or triangle, with drag and get the most lighten aircraft load, reduce left and right turns out of these forty plus drag and maximizing the around VFR fixes year old airframes. (usually unconperformance of the engines. Speed slope windtrolled airports). shields, smaller and The start and finish are usually at the end fewer antennas, particularly on top of the of the runway, with the faster planes going plane. Smooth props, gap seals, fairings on first, at 30 second intervals between starts. openings, taped areas like the gas caps and Each turning point has an altitude restricseals around parts. The engines sounded tion (minimum and maximum) with spothealthy, like they are tuned to perfection ters taking photos, timing and making sure and the flaps, ailerons and elevators were there are no “pylon” cuts. “Typically we tight and aligned correctly. The air filters stay as low as possible (1,000 feet AGL) for are super clean and the engines have new maximum manifold pressure,” states Chesspark plug wires/harnesses, and the fastest ter “but if there’s a strong wind at three guy is even running fine wire plugs. No 72
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thousand feet for example, it may be worth it to climb for the advantage. Fastest time on the course wins, with trophies given in each category.” My mind is already buzzing about opportunities with my airplane and my first race. But before I start carving away, I felt compelled to confirm some of these theories with the experts. Who better to confirm some of these ideas than the “Speed Merchant” himself, Curt LoPresti,
senior engineer and CEO of LoPresti Fury and their chief pilot, Hollywood stunt and Warbird aerobatic ace, Corkey Fornof. “The most important thing is the rigging of the airplane,” states Curt right off the bat. “It’s amazing what people will get used to when it comes to the way their airplanes fly. Flaps all the way up, ailerons rigged correctly, elevator and rudder trim in the