Edmonton pilot Scott Holmes placed fifth in the Silver Formula One race at the National Championship Air Races last weekend in Reno in his second outing at the world famous event. Holmes races a Cassutt III-M aircraft in the incubator of pylon racing. Formula One is the entry level of the event and Cassutts are the most popular airframe. They’re kit built aircraft but Holmes bought his complete in Florida a few years ago. “It’s quite inexpensive so anyone can do it,” said Holmes, an engineer and private pilot who learned to fly in Air Cadets. In Formula One, the tiny aircraft all have the same Continental 0-200 engines but because of their light weight and good aerodynamics they can reach speeds of 250 mph. Holmes averaged 180 mph in his race.

Holmes sought training from aerobatic champion Luke Penner and has consulted with Red Bull race pilot Pete McLeod. He described racing as “aggressive formation flying” and says it’s catching on with fans and a new generation of pilots. Holmes is one of 18 Reno racers who will compete in a pylon race in Thailand later this year. His aircraft went into a container immediately after the Reno race and is on its way across the Pacific. He said there is the possibility of a race in Canada in the future and more in North America.