Pylon air races using light sport aircraft and based on the model used worldwide by Red Bull are set to begin April 1, 2015, in Deland, Florida. Deland is the home of Renegade Light Sport headed by Christopher "Doc" Bailey who is also the organizer of the new racing series. It is called Sport Pylon Air Races or SPAR.
The first race will include 12 pilots and will demonstrate the concept to the FAA. To ensure even competition, all aircraft will use the Lycoming 233 engine. As now planned the race will use three models of light sport aircraft. Two of the models are aircraft built by Renegade, the Renegade Lil Rascal biplane and the Renegade Falcon LS. A third model is the Panther experimental amateur built light sport aircraft from Sport Performance Aviation in Green Cove Springs, Florida. The races also serve as a marketing tool for the two airframe companies.
Once fully approved, the series is set to visit several states, starting in the winter when contestants who also have responsibilities on the summer airshow circuit will have time to participate.
Participant pilots began signing up for the competition during the recent International Council of Air Shows convention in Las Vegas. When fully approved the races are planned as a series of races in several states, including Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and California. The Discovery Channel also may base a series on preparations for the race.
Pylon racing involves a closed course where pilots fly individually through pylons and gates in an attempt to record the shortest course time. A website has been established for the races. Information will be uploaded as plans progress.