Well, the Reno Air Races are over for 2018 and some thoughts are in order. I watch sitting on my dead ass as Mike Dudinyak meticulously cleans Sawbones after Curt flew it back from Reno. It’s the same feeling you can get by watching a White Castle fry cook working hard flipping burgers after the bars have closed. The big airplane is back at Anoka safe and sound. Tony remains on the road driving the semi, soon to arrive. It was just two weeks ago I left with Tony. We left in the rain, and now he returns in the rain.
I am so thankful to all of our crew and their supportive families. The amount of work and dedication to campaign an unlimited class racer is enormous and I bow to all of you
The generosity of our sponsors have made this venture financially possible. I thank all including Thomson Reuters, Building Restoration Corporation, 3M, Precision Lens, Mike Donatelle, Barry and Denise Knotts of TACSSI, John Bormes of Hangar 49, Bill Hirzel of Dei Fratelli, Thomas Pink of Pink Wealth Management, Air Capital Insurance, Blaine Brothers Trucking, Wagner nursery, Dave and Camy Etchell, Concorde Battery, and Aircraft Electronics. Oh, and thank you Pat Harker for letting us borrow your fantastic mechanic Rick Ranheim . Rick, thanks for a fantastic job as crew chief.
Our first trip to the winners circle was unbelievable. Capturing a third place finish among the best aircraft in the world is really mind blowing. It took us 10 Reno’s, but we made it! New exhaust stacks performed flawlessly and our R-3350 pounded out many laps under absolute full power without a hiccup and making no metal.
Curt Brown our shuttle commander race pilot did a perfect job guiding the 70 year old five ton Gorilla of a race plane around the pylons. Of the five sea fury aircraft competing in the final gold unlimited race we were the second fastest, bested only by Dreadnaught powered by the R-4360 “corncob”. Miss America got around us this time, but maybe not next time!
I look forward to our post race party and seeing all our “friends of Sawbones “ again. In a daze I dream of what we can improve on the airplane, the engine.
We start our checklist already for next year.......
Thanks to all again!
Robin and Jackie Crandall
Read daily behind-the-scenes stories from owner Robin Crandall on his road trip to Reno with Tony Wolter, our transportation king and semi driver, and from Tom Lymburn, our team historian and writer.
The Sawbones Team will be Live Casting from the Sawbones Pits daily starting Thursday, September 13. Check here for schedules and archives.
September 6, 2018
Sawbones arrived on the flight line at Reno Stead at 3:41 p.m. CDT, following a flawless flight from Anoka, with a stop in Casper for fuel. There is plenty of clean up work for the crew, with the Sea Fury sporting new oil sideburns.
September 5, 2018
Less than one week until Sawbones loads up with 115/145 racing fuel and ADI to qualify for the 2018 Unlimited championship air race.
That's after the flight from ANE to RTS. And after the equipment hauler makes the drive from Blaine to Reno. Owner Robin Crandall is making the three day trip with Tony, and says he'll be sharing some of his road experiences to the 2018 Race Chronicle on this site. Watch for that, and for Tom Lymburn's behind the scenes Chronicle posts during race week.
Also watch for our Facebook Live Casts. A schedule will be posted Tuesday, September 11.
See you in Reno!
August 20, 2018
After two successful air shows (Discover Aviation Days and Air Expo) and a few test flights, Sawbones is ready to go. Now it's all the packing - parts, tools, lubricants, merchandise, and other Sawbones equipment loaded into the hauler for the trip to Reno. Tony and Robin leave on the road September 5th to meet Curt and Rick at Stead airfield on the 7th of September. See our teaser video in the video page of this site for a little primer.
July 8, 2018
Sponsors have been confirmed for 2018. Almost all of last years sponsors are returning, including large corporate sponsors Building Restoration Corporation, Thomson Reuters, and 3M Company. Our fabulous friends at Donatelle, Dei Fratelli, Hangar 49. RC Avionics, and TACSSI also resigned after many years of continuing support. We're excited to announce that Precision Lens, a contributor from a few years ago, has rejoined the team as a new sponsor this year. We've also had a number of Friends of Sawbones contribute to help with team transportation and lodging expenses, as well as the expense of fuel and oil for Sawbones' annual migration to Reno. See the "Donate" page on this site for a list of those important contributors.
June 1, 2018
Commander Brown fired up Sawbones for a successful test flight today following installation of new exhaust stacks and baffles by Doug Weske of Air Investment Services. Sawbones will be flying during this weekend's Discover Aviation Days at Anoka County Airport.
May 2, 2018
In the first formal meeting of the Sawbones Air Racing Team this year, Robin Crandall, team owner, opened the season by sharing the commitment of key sponsors, cementing Sawbones participation in the 2018 National Championship Air Races. Sawbones should receive her new exhaust stacks this week, with annual inspection immediately to follow installation. The plan is to have everything up and running by Discover Aviation Days (DAD) the first weekend of June. The team also hopes to have a special sponsor and Friends of Sawbones event associated with the DAD show.
February 17, 2018
Robin Crandall hosted a winter party attended by around 160 fans who dined, drank, and danced to kick off the new race season and celebrate the 2017 season. About a third of the audience was new to Sawbones and air racing. Robin and race pilot Curt Brown made presentations sharing a bit about the airplane, team history, and what racing at Reno is like. They also thanked all the sponsors and team members for their support and dedication. A new video capturing the 2017 season was introduced at the end of the program, which you can view in the video section of this website.
September, 17, 2017
Starting in 4th, finishing in 4th. The battle up front in the Unlimited Gold race took the stage as Strega and VooDoo duked it out. Dreadnought saddled between them and whomever was chasing, in this case Sawbones of course, as Curt stayed close in the event Dreadnought cut a pylon. The line up remained as it started, with newcomer Full Noise, the Yak 3M from New Zealand taking up the rear in what had to be a battle to stay on course with all the heavy wake to navigate. With a performance that was as good as it could be, Sawbones will try to break 4th again next year.
September 17, 2017
After finishing fourth in qualifying time trials and the first and second Unlimited Gold Level heats at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, Sawbones prepares to compete in the final Gold race against Strega, VooDoo, Dreadnought, Argonaut, 924, and Full Noise.
September 11, 2017
Don't miss Tom Lymburn's daily Race Chronicles from Reno. Click the menu tag above.
September 10, 2017
Sawbones arrived in Reno at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 8 to get ready for inspections, practice, and time trials early in the week. Chief Mechanic Weske inspected oil screens and gave the Sea Fury a once over before submitting to the Class Aircraft Compliance Inspection Team for qualification, which Sawbones passed without issue. Ready to race, Commander Brown is taking the warbird through the paces in the course. Everything looks "nominal."
July 17 , 2017
Sponsor Thompson Reuters arranged with race pilot Curt Brown to give Harrison Smith, of the Minnesota Vikings, a war bird flight in Curt's T-6. A recently certified pilot, Harrison flew back seat and enjoyed Curt's demonstration of abnormal flight attitudes. See a compilation of the flight in the video section of this SawbonesAir.com site.
June 12, 2017
Tom Lymburn, Sawbones team member and renowned aviation historian, has been added to the Sawbones website with his own column called Lymburn's Historiography. In this column, he writes different views of aviation history all related to Sawbones and the Hawker Sea Fury. Look for it under the section listed at the top of this page.
National Championship Air Races
2017 - 4th Place Gold
2016 - 4th Place Gold
2015 - 4th Place Gold
2014 - 4th Place Gold
2013 - 7th Place Gold
2012 - 4th Place Gold
Download this brochure for details on becoming a sponsor of the SAWBONES air racing team.