Northwest Speed Scoop

By Mike Hazel

Some old Jet Speed pictures from the "ZZ CL Speed" photo file: Above: On the table, an all-metal sport jet by Glenn Lee, photographed at the 2001 U.S. Nationals. On the dolly, a clockwise-flying jet, possibly from the late Charlie Davis, taken at the Northwest Regionals in Roseburg. Right: A pair of Jerry Thomas jet plane designs. The single-wing plane belonged to Jerry. The other plane is an Ironsides Too. Mike Hazel photos.

2007 season gets under way at Jim Walker Memorial

Our first speed meet of the Northwest took place on Friday, April 20, in Portland, Ore. That was the first day of the Jim Walker Memorial Spring Tune-up hosted by the Northwest Fireballs club in Portland's East Delta Park. The best weather of the weekend was on speed day, and it was great. The official results will be listed elsewhere in a full report for the contest. Following are a few miscellaneous and rambling comments regarding what happened on speed day.

Rich Salter flew his O.S. powered sport jet with some new tail feathers. He installed a larger stab and longer control horn on the elevator and says it flies much better now. He also discovered that the plane will skid off just fine, take-off dolly not required.

Ted Gritzmacher's Nelson powered Formula 40 is a good strong runner, and was initially hampered by a cantankerous fuel regulator. Regulator expert Dick Salter was quickly able to get it working good again, and a smooth 155+ mph flight was the payoff.

Bill Allen's lightweight Indy style Formula 40 also featured a strong Nelson engine. On his flight the plane torqued itself straight up about 20 feet on takeoff and then was brought back down to normal elevation. The 157+ mph flight probably would have been 160+ if not for that takeoff. Unfortunately after the timing run was complete there was a control failure apparantly at the elevator and the plane hit the deck. Neither the plane or engine was seriously damaged.

Ted Gritzmachers's sport jet had some starting problems, and some remedial work with the fuel bottle showed the importance of proper aircraft positioning during fueling to ensure a full tank. After this did not solve the problem, the flowjector was substituted with another and starting problem was instantly fixed.

Mike Hazel's 21 Sport Speed first attempt came off perfect, a nice smooth 148 mph flight and a personal best. On the second attempt the engine would not needle, and it was found that the fuel line had a hole in it (good to change those once in a while!). Upon replacement, then the tank would not deliver fuel, so the plane was parked for the day waiting for a fix in the shop.

Teddy G wanted to run his 'D,' however the control system appeared to be jammed. Turned out that the new venturi was interfering with the control unit horn, so that will have to be fixed.

Ken Kortness came out of temporary speed retirement to run his Big Red 'D' ship which features a hybrid .65 engine. (Parts by O.S., Nelson, Aloise, Boca, and self). His flight was just 165 mph, well below potential. Ken says he going to make it his mission to find out why the big block engines don't seem to perform well in the Northwest.

Hey, do you notice a theme in the previous descriptions? It all seems to be about getting things sorted out during the first time out of the season. A noted speed flier once remarked that speed flying is all about "getting things right". It would seem that this is very apparant during the initial session of the year.

OK guys, get your stuff "right" and we will see you on Memorial Day weekend in Eugene for some more action.


As already reported elsewhere, the proposal to change the NW Sport Jet wire size to .020 x 65 has passed. Pull test was changed to 40 G's, and maximum airplane weight was increased to 45 ounces so any of those old heavy planes are now legal. The .020 wire size makes that possible. If you read your recent issue of the NASS Speed Times, you will see that I also proposed that the membership consider this wire size, as there has been some discussion by some wanting longer wires. However, I doubt that it will go anywhere.

Also in that last issue was some more hashing on the concept of a vintage speed event. This sounds kind of fun, but the line sizes proposed for those old design little planes are just silly. The NASS executive seems to believe that if it's called a speed plane, regardless of the performance parameters, then the modern line specs have to be adhered to. Considering what many other events are using for line sizes, methinx there is some logic disconnect. I could cite some examples of the absurdity, but will just leave it at that.

The last couple of issues of ST have also carried some jet history by Bill Pardue. Bill was a top jet guy from way back that dropped out of the activity sometime ago. He recently exploded upon internet speed forum scene and has been diligently working on jet speed history. The stuff in ST has largely been copied out of articles he has posted. Anyway, take a look as you might find it interesting if you are into the jet stuff.

All for now, see you in Eugene!

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This page was upated April 26, 2007