RENO, NV -- L-39 Albatros jets prepared and crewed by Code 1 Aviation won trophies in Gold, Silver, and Bronze classes in the Reno National Championship Air Races this year. “Riff Raff,” racing under #10 and piloted by Pete Stavrides of Virginia Beach, VA, took first place in the Silver jet racing class. Vlad Silchuk was crew chief for this modified 1988 Aero Vodochody L-39C, which completed six laps of Reno’s 7.9 mile course in 06:00.580 at an average speed of 469.144 miles per hour, just edging out #4 Galeb G-2 “Soko O’no” by 0.228 seconds. #10’s win in the Silver class capped a week of back-and-forth battle with #4 inside a spread of less than one second in each of the three heats in which both jets competed.
Race #32, “Invictus,” a 1979 L-39C piloted by Zach McNeill of Corpus Christi, TX finished second place in Bronze class with a time of 06:35.360 and course average of 427.873MPH, behind the #107 Galeb G-2 “Wild Dreams”. 2017 marked the second year in a row #32 competed and took a trophy at Reno with its young crew chief, Nick Davis, 23 of Sycamore, IL. #107 had struggled all week, turning in heat race times between 06:37 and 07:17 and placing 15th in qualifying. For the class final, pilot Robert McCormack found some speed and turned in a blistering 06:14.632 to easily take first place in Bronze.
Race #8, “American Patriot” piloted by David Culler Jr. of Virginia Beach, VA with veteran crew chief Bruce Carlson, took third place in the Gold class after a 12-second penalty. The 1974 L-39C was heavily modified and quickly prepared for racing in less than six months, completed just before the start of competition on September 12.
“It was a herculean effort by every member of the organization across three Code 1 facilities in two states. I couldn’t be more proud of our team and what we accomplished in such a short time,” said Nathan Jones, President of Code 1 Aviation. “We are looking forward to returning next year and setting the bar even higher.”
#8 had finished the final race with a time of 05:51.770, good enough for second place, but a cut pylon in the final race incurred a 12-second penalty, enough to lower the Albatros to third place behind #44, “Stealth,” a DeHavilland Vampire, in second, and L-39C #5 “American Spirit” in first.
Complete results of the jet classes can be viewed here: http://reports.airrace.org/2017/2017.Jet.html