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McLeod Wins First Red Bull Race

Pete McLeod, centre, is joined by second place Nigel Lamb, left, and third place Matthias Dolderer.
Pete McLeod, centre, is joined by second place Nigel Lamb, left, and third place Matthias Dolderer.

Red Lake, Ont. native Pete McLeod earned his first top finish in a Red Bull Air Race series race and he did it in a way that earned him more plaudits than a regular race win might have.

McLeod, who was the fastest in qualifying Saturday at the race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, stunned the crowd and race officials when he refused to take his first run in the Sunday finals. It was a decision that would ultimately see him crowned the winner of the Vegas event but it caused an hour of tense controversy.

As race time approached about noon on Sunday, the wind had picked up to a steady 15 knots with gusts to more than 20. Those are challenging conditions for aircraft that weigh less than 1,000 lbs and are naturally aerodynamically unstable but the race runs began. As the pole leader, McLeod raced last.

Most of the 11 racers preceding McLeod were assessed penalties for height, speed and pylon infractions and the wind became steadily stronger. As McLeod prepared for his run, two of the inflatable pylons that mark the course blew over. McLeod entered the circuit and landed.

The controversy that immediately ensued surrounded whether the McLeod should be considered a DNS (did not start), and therefore awarding the points for the race based on the results from the Sunday runs or whether the Sunday runs should be voided and McLeod given the victory based on his qualifying time.

McLeod said from the outset he didn’t care. “This was a question of safety. Safety first. Sport comes second,” McLeod told a television reporter a few minutes after climbing out of his plane. Race officials seemed undecided on what to do at first and after about a half hour said the race was being suspended for 15 minutes to assess conditions.

Meanwhile, pilot after pilot consulted with McLeod and several appeared on live television supporting McLeod’s decision to end the race.

In the end, race officials let the qualifying times stand and the Canadian flag was hoisted high.

McLeod said he would rather have won with a full race and will have one more chance to do that as the series moves to Spielberg, Austria for the final race Oct. 25-26.

Airline Sues Ottawa For Aircraft Damage

Trans State Airlines says Ottawa's runways aren't up to friction standards.
Trans State Airlines says Ottawa’s runways aren’t up to friction standards.

Trans States Airlines, which operates United Express flights to Ottawa International Airport is suing the airport for more than $10 million for damage to two of its aircraft involved in runway accidents there.

The airline is also suing Transport Canada and Nav Canada in connection with a runway overrun in June 2010 on Runway 07/25 and an incident in which an aircraft went off the side of 14/32  in September of 2011. Both accidents happened when the runways were wet.

In both suits, the airline is alleging the runway does not meet international standards for friction when wet. The Transportation Safety Board reports cited pilot error and weather as contributing factors.

In the 2010 overrun, Trans States said the Embraer 145 needed $5.4 million in repairs. The gear collapsed . The gear also collapsed in the 2011 incident and there was also extensive wing damage, amounting to a total of $6.5 million.

The TSB reports said that in both cases the aircraft were landing faster than normal and in the 2011 accident the pilots overrode the the anti-lock brakes by setting the parking brake which prolonged the skid.

Most Canadian runways are not groove to dissipate rainwater while most U.S. runways are.

P&WC Engines on New Gulfstreams

PW800 engines will power Gulfstream’s new large business jets.

Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW 800 series turbofans will power new Gulfstream business jets that were announced Tuesday.

Gulfstream surprised the business jet world with the unveiling of the G500 and G600 large-cabin aircraft that are bigger than the G550 but smaller than the flagship G650.

The G500 and G600 use technology and design features from the enormously popular G650 and are priced at $43.5 million and $54.5 million respectively. The G650 sells for $66.5 million.

The G500 will be powered by the 15,144-pound-thrust PW814GA  and the G600 will use the PW815GA, which has 15,680 pounds of thrust.

The engine series was essentially created for the Cessna Columbus, the Wichita planemaker’s cancelled entry to the big bizjet market.

The engine series is expected to be certified by the end of this year.

Fundraiser To Fix Broken Tiger Moth

Tiger Moth damaged in takeoff accident is undergoing repairs.
Tiger Moth damaged in takeoff accident is undergoing repairs.

The Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley, B.C. is asking for donations to fix its prized Tiger Moth, which was extensively damaged in a takeoff accident in August.

The bright yellow biplane will essentially need rebuilding, to the tune of $85,000, after a wind gust sent it off the grass runway at Delta Air Park near Vancouver on Aug. 24. The pilot and passenger were not seriously hurt.

Metasoft Systems has donated $10,000 toward the effort, bringing the total to more than $20,000 and volunteers have already removed the engine and landing gear and are getting ready to carry out repairs.

Information on the project is at