February 20, 2020
The team is focused on reconstruction projects to put Sawbones back in racing condition. Robin firmly committed to returning to Reno to reestablish the racing strategy that led to viable competition in the Unlimited Gold Class - consistency and persistence. We all feel we missed an opportunity last year, and intend not to miss another.
GOOD NEWS: Our friends from WAY down under in the land of Burt Munro's legacy will be making the trek to the American continent again in 2020. Full Noise just finished setting the first NZ 3 km speed record at 559 km/hr., and announced their intention to return to Reno in a Facebook posting on February 19. Our fervent hope is that they will once again become pit-mates, since they add a lot of energy to any party.
If you've missed it, Tom Lymburn has been busy in his writing den cranking out more aviation history stories, two having been added this month. Check them out on his blog on the Historiography page.
National Championship Air Races
2019 - DNR
2018 - 3rd Place Gold
2017 - 4th Place Gold
2016 - 4th Place Gold
2015 - 4th Place Gold
2014 - 4th Place Gold
2013 - 7th Place Gold
2012 - 4th Place Gold
Dear Sawbones fans, friends, and sponsors:
I write this short piece with some humility realizing that we had a significant “structural failure” during the Reno air races. Sunday I got a call from Curt Brown, our race pilot, that the canopy had blown off the airplane in flight and we were essentially out of the race. Believe me that is a lot to take in in a few seconds!! Amazingly Curt was not injured and safely landed the 400 mph convertible. The canopy essentially exploded, scattering itself over about a quarter mile of Reno desert around pylon 2. The canopy debris impacted the horizontal stabilizer also causing some damage to the leading edge.
Having been to the Reno national air races ten times, we were familiar with various “malfunction” problems but nothing this major. One year we blew off an exhaust stack, another year we had hydraulic failure of our tail wheel retraction mechanism. We have had primer pump failure and other ignition system problems. This however was sobering because it could easily have been fatal. The canopy blew off with significant force knocking Curt’s helmet and oxygen mask upward, the mask covering his eyes. In spite of deafening noise he was able to safely land the five ton racer
We were obviously missing many critical canopy parts. With the assistance of my amazing crew the desert was walked for many hours over several days. We were joined by other volunteers here at Reno, including some of our section 3 friends. Finally after eight multi hour walking sessions the final steel rail parts were found, which will make reconstruction much easier! Ed Ryan discovered the final missing piece in the dusty sagebrush. This damage can be fixed and we will fly another day.
I wish to thank all the members of the Reno air racing community. This includes friends and spectators who have followed us for years. Many have come forward donating funds to help with repair of the damage. Our sponsors have been extremely supportive. We have had many expert mechanics volunteer their services and machinists volunteer their shop facilities.
I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the racing community support, especially the unlimited air racing group who all want us to get our plane back and competing again!
One really realizes how many friends you have when facing some adversity. To all of you I give you my heartfelt thanks....,especially my sunburned desert walkers!
We will let you all know when our beloved “Sawbones “ takes to the air again.
With sincere and deep thanks,
Robin and Jackie Crandall
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