Gear Collapse Puts Nemesis NXT Out Of Running At Reno
An unfortunate incident earlier this week prior to the start of
the 41st National Championship Air Races and Air Show at Stead
Airport in Reno, Nevada, thwarted the highly anticipated appearance
of the Nemesis NXT. Owners Jon and Patricia Sharp had planned to
debut their new homebuilt airplane in the Sport Class. The original
Nemesis, which dominated Formula 1 racing for many years winning 47
of 51 starts, now hangs in the Smithsonian National Air and Space
Museum. That plane made its final flight at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
The Nemesis NXT is the kit version of that airplane, powered by
a Lycoming TI0-540-NXT, rumored to be capable of speeds exceeding
So what happened?
"We had a purchased part that failed in the landing gear
system," Jon Sharp told e-hotline on Thursday. "I won't go into
what (part) it was or where it came from, but the part was
subjected to a condition that it was not supposed to be in; we are
analyzing that right now."
Sharp, who didn't receive a scratch in the incident, explained
what happened shortly after touching down at Stead.
"Not too long after I touched down, I was just raising the tail
and heard a very loud bang from the left side. Then the left wing
just started heading toward the ground, but I was able to pick up
the wing and carry it for a little while until it wouldn't hold
anymore. The left wing went down and the airplane started heading
off the runway. Then the right wheel failed in the same manner the
left wheel did and I went skidding off the pavement sideways about
150 feet into the dirt."
Sharp estimated he was traveling about 80-85 mph when the bang
Damage consisted of a pretty badly scraped left wingtip, a
scraped belly right at the firewall, and a flat spot on the tail
wheel where it skidded from going sideways.
Sharp said the 72-inch prop feathered down to about 40 inches.
"It curled the propeller like a rolled-up piece of paper-like
someone took a screwdriver around the tip blade and wound it up,"
he said. Lycoming, a major Team Nemesis sponsor, has already
swapped out the engine for the test engine, and crewmembers are
focused on making the airplane run and fly again. The race engine
is already on its way back to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to be
taken apart and looked at. "We'll probably have it back in a
month," Sharp said.
"All things considered we're in pretty darn good shape and very
thankful," Sharp emphasized. "It's a very stout airplane. After
people saw what it went through, and then came down and looked at
it in the hangar, they're just amazed at how it went through all
that and is still flyable home.
"We're proud of the program and the project," he continued. "We
didn't have any design flaw issue or anything; it was just the
malfunction of a procured part."
Sharp was especially grateful to the EAA members who offered
their assistance. "There's a bunch of EAA people down here from the
local Chapter wanting to help and do anything they can," he said.
"It really exhibits the spirit of EAA; everyone jumps in to do the
job. We're so thankful to be members of EAA. EAA's just awesome. We
The 41st National Championship Air Races and Air Show officially
gets under way today through Sunday, September 19 at Stead Airport
in Reno, Nevada. Six classes of airplanes-Unlimited, Sport, T-6,
Formula One, Biplane, and Jet-are set to round the pylons at speeds
in excess of 350 mph.
Other events on the grounds include a world class air show with
Sean D. Tucker, Julie Clark, Kent Pietsch, Scott Hammack, Greg Poe,
Mike Goulian, and the Red Bull Air Racing World Series event. Also
participating in this year's air show are the U.S. Navy "Legacy
Flight" and the U.S. Air Force "Heritage Flight," each of which
teams modern front-line military aircraft with some of the greatest
fighters in history.