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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 3 July 29, 2008     

Sharp hopes to break speed record
By Barbara A. Schmitz

Jon Sharp hopes to break a new speed record at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in his Nemesis NXT. The current 3 km record in the C1-b category is 331 mph. Photo by Barbara A. Schmitz

Later this week EAA member Jon Sharp is hoping for temperatures hovering around 65 degrees, a high, thin layer of clouds, and no winds.

He doesnít just want to be comfortable as he walks around EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008. Sharp knows those things will help him break a speed record.

Sharp aims to break the current 3 km record of 331 mph in the C1-b category with his Nemesis NXT. He will race sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, and he must make four passes through the timing gate while staying within the altitude limits set by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the worldwide keeper of aeronautical records.

To break the record, set in 1989 by Richard Gritter in a Venture aircraft, Sharp must exceed the current record by a minimum of 1 percent, or at least 334.31 mph, while on the 3 km course.

"Iíd first be happy to break the record, and Iíd like to get 350," Sharp said. "Iíd be ecstatic to get 360, and even more ecstatic to get 370 (mph)."

On racing days, Sharp said he prepares by going over the airplane and the route. While itís a straight-line course, Sharp said he will have to manage his turns and get back up to speed as quickly as possible.

The conditions on racing days could play a huge impact on his success. "Mojave is always hot and dry, while Oshkosh tends to be hot and humid. The air is thicker here, and that makes airplanes go slower."

Sharp said heís excited to make the record attempt in Oshkosh in front of so many aviation enthusiasts. "Itís a rare treat. This place is like heaven. There are airplanes everywhere, so itís a big deal for us to be here."

Brian Utley, member of the Contest & Records Board of the National Aeronautic Association, said he will be able to confirm if Sharp set the record within 1-1/2 hours of each race. "We used to use high-speed cameras and watches, but now we use high-speed precision GPS," he said. "One will be in the airplane and the other on the ground."

The devices allow you to give precise readings on the planeís speed, and they enable you to measure the planeís position within a few centimeters, said Utley, who also confirmed Steve Fossettís round-the-world trip and the Air Force B-1 speed records.

Sharp has broken the 3 km record twice before at AirVenture and once at Mojave in another weight category with the original Nemesis. This will be the first time he will attempt to break the record in this weight category and with the Nemesis NXT.

The Nemesis NXT is displayed on AeroShell Square when itís not racing.

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