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Reno racer and aircraft builder John Parker died in a crash on Tuesday evening at Reno-Stead Airport. He was 80 years old.
Parker’s business, American Air Racing, specialized in the Thunder Mustang scale P-51 replica and popular Sport Class entrant. It was a Thunder Mustang that Parker was flying when it flipped over on the runway. The cause of the accident has yet to be determined. The NTSB is investigating the accident.
Parker won the Sport Class at the National Air Races four times and the Formula One class three times in the 1970s. He was a retired airline pilot and well known in the Reno area and the air racing community.
The Thunder Mustang is a kitbuilt, all-composite Mustang replica that costs just under $300,000. The plane is powered by a Falconer V-12 engine that produces 640 horsepower. The max weight of the airplane is 3,200 pounds, giving it a very high power to weight ratio giving it a maximum level speed of 340 knots, according to the company that produces the kits.