Friday, 15 September 2017

Johnny Kokshoorn Reno Racer.

I have received a note from one of our regular Blog readers mentioning that a New Zealander has previously raced at Reno.

Below is an extract that I have gleaned out of the Otago Daily Times.  


Monday, 21 April 2014

New Zealand has not seen the last of round-the-pylons jet racing, says John ''Johnny Rocket'' Kokshoorn.
He is the only New Zealander to have competed at Reno, Nevada - the home of what is described as the fastest form of motor-racing in the world.
He and five other pilots raced head-to-head in jets at the Wanaka Warbirds International Airshow over the weekend.
''If they want us back, we'll be back.
''And we'll be back bigger and better than ever.
''This is just step one,'' he told the Otago Daily Times.
Born in Christchurch and resident in Australia, Kokshoorn is in the process of building a house near Wanaka Airport, complete with hangar, and plans to bring to New Zealand his Aero L-29, Rolls Royce Viper-powered, jet-racing aircraft.
While the average speed during the three races at Wanaka was 635kmh, his Viper is capable of an average lap speed of 865kmh - probably unrealistic for the tight 11km Wanaka course.
Kokshoorn said the Viper was even too fast to be raced at Reno, where a speed limit of 828kmh for jet-racers had been set by the Reno Air Race Association.
Kokshoorn regards the speed limit as ''very frustrating''.
The issue is how much empty ''scatter radius'' there is around the aerial race course for pieces of aircraft to land in the event of a mid-air collision.
Kokshoorn assured the ODT the prospect of being part of that flying debris was far from his mind as he settled into the cockpit of his jet before each race.
''You put all that stuff to one side of your mind and just focus on the stuff you need to do when you are racing.
''As soon as I close the canopy I'm in my world.''
A one-time water skier at Sea World who left New Zealand 22 years ago, Kokshoorn funds his jet-racing ''addiction'' with his industrial and commercial building business in Queensland.
The pilot first went to ''pylon school'' in Reno in 2009 and initially was not sure he would be capable of the sort of flying required for jet-racing.
Racing at over 800kmh was a ''completely different kettle of fish'', he said.
''Those pylons are really coming at you.''
Kokshoorn has holidayed in Wanaka for many years and it was partly through that connection jet-racing has become part of the Warbirds show.
''It's a long way from Reno, but we'll bring [jet-racing] back here.''
The three-race series between ''Team New Zealand'' and ''Team Reno'' was won by New Zealand, which had use of the three faster planes.

This ODT article (with a photo of John) can be found HERE


The aircraft mentioned is now ZK-WDB of Jetflights Wanaka Ltd.
The first two pics below where taken at Wanaka on 13-11-2015.

 Lower photo at Wanaka on 10-02-2017.
Below is what the NZ Aviation News magazine said about it  following its registration here on 07-03-2016.

"An interesting arrival at Wanaka in late 2014 was an Aero L-29 Delfin. This one originally served as ‘54’ with the Romanian Air Force, who operated at least fifty one such aircraft which were all withdrawn by November 2005. Many made it to the States and this one became N2039S with Aero Enterprise Inc of Townsend Delaware in November 2008 with a change to Endeavir Inc of Dallas Texas in mid-2010. Along the way it has been re-engined with a Rolls Royce Viper engine giving it a heap more thrust and speed. It was named ‘Screamin Eagle’ and carries race number ‘11’. There has been a delay in certification due to an engine matter but it entered the NZ register as ZK-WBD on 07-03-2016 to Jetflights Wanaka Ltd. It was hoped to have it airborne for the jet races during Warbirds Over Wanaka but these were cancelled for other reasons."

Johnny I believe started hang gliding in the 1970's with Terry Delore here in NZ and became a well respected glider pilot.

Type his name in Google search and read about his other aviation adventures.

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