Formula One pylon racing began in 1947 when the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company sponsored the event at the National Air Races. The sport quickly became a favorite of the fans because the two-mile rectangular closed course brought the action right in front of the spectators with the planes racing at 50 feet off the ground, often wing tip to wing tip. Planes were restricted by wing size, weight, and engine displacement so that all were evenly matched. Aircraft design was very important, and most planes were designed and constructed by individuals. Tom Cassutt, a pilot for Trans World Airlines, designed and built his racer in 1958. He quickly issued plans for it hoping that more people would build racers to expand the competition. Few Cassutt racers have been built exactly according to the plans, most incorporate some changes desired by the person building the plane. However, Cassutt based planes have been quite popular and successful in Formula One racing and more than 800 have been built. The Cassutt in the Pima Air & Space Museum collection was originally built and test flown by Roy H. Brandes in 1993. It was refurbished, repainted and donated to the Tucson Airport Authority for display at the Tucson International Airport by Jim and Kathy Haun. In June 2002, due to renovations at the airport terminal the aircraft had to be removed. The Tucson Airport Authority donated it along with another aircraft to the Pima Air & Space Museum.
Jim and Kathy Haun, 1997
Formula One Pylon Racer
Pima Air & Space Museum
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