Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury
Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury
Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury

Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury

 HOSLER'S GREATEST TRIUMPH
(Page 2)
  

Tuesday, 31 August 1948, was the first day of qualifying for the races. It was very windy most of the day with frequent gusts of 30 miles per hour or more. Several pilots attempted to qualify but aborted their runs due to high winds blowing the airplanes off the racecourse. Late in the afternoon, the winds abated somewhat and Bob decided to make a qualification attempt. The airplane had been lightly fueled to save weight. The fuel load was split between wing and nose tanks with the former being used for take off and landing. The nose tank was used only for the full power qualifying laps. Full power fuel consumption could then be measured by dip sticking just the nose tank. After making a couple of laps to bring the engine to operating temperature and get his mind set for the task at hand, Bob Eucker signaled for the start of his two timed laps. The speed on lap one was very good. Lap two began well but on the backstretch of the course, witnesses on the ground saw the airplane suddenly zoom skyward.

Soon the crew spotted Bob in the distance making a series of odd maneuvers in the sky. He then approached the airport and proceeded to make a very unusual landing, dragging the airplane down final approach with full flaps, nose up and carrying much more power than normal. As he was taxiing in they saw that the right door was missing. Bob had forgotten to switch fuel tanks when he began his timed run and the engine died of fuel starvation. When the engine quit, he pulled back on the stick to gain altitude and jettisoned the door and got ready to bail out of the racer. The sudden change in air pressure when the door released tore off his helmet and glasses, jamming them in the aft canopy. With his arms on the door sill and his right leg on the wing, it suddenly came to Bob just what had caused the engine to quit. Falling back into the cockpit he moved the fuel tank selector switch and the engine immediately started. Regaining the pilot seat was a very nearsighted man who was now without eyeglasses. The strange maneuvers were Bob making a few practice landing approaches to handy cloud tops before trying the real thing. Frank Holt recovered the errant helmet and glasses from the aft canopy and the crew went out to find the door.

Bob Eucker and a few of the boys jumped into his car and drove to the spot where he felt the door must have landed. After a short search, Bob recovered the door, somewhat bent and with a broken window, but otherwise intact. Holt took it home and worked all night straightening and repainting the bent sheet metal. Then he fabricated and installed a new Plexiglas window. Frank got little sleep that night but the next day crewmembers that had not seen the door after it was recovered never knew it had been damaged!

Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Russ Hosler sitting in the cockpit of race 55. Age and an arm injury kept Russ from flying the ship himself. HJ Krause photo

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Phil Krause inspects race 55. Although he applied for the job as pilot, he was turned down on the basis of age, height, and experience. HJ Krause photo

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Russ Hosler, Phil, and Mary Ellen Krause pose with race 55 as the crew work to prepare the ship for the 1948 National Air Races at Cleveland, Ohio. HJ Krause photo

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

George Glawe, who would become a prominent NASA scientist, helped change and clean parts on race 55 in 1948. George Glawe photo

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Wednesday, 1 September, the weather improved and with no further problems Bob qualified for the 1948 National Air Races with a speed of 368.485 miles per hour. This speed handily qualified him for the Sohio Handicap Trophy Race as well as the Tinnerman and Thompson trophy races. Shortly before the start of the races the fellows were working on the airplane when a representative approached them from one of the local radio stations. The station was going to interview people from various race teams and asked the crew of race 55 if they would send a man for the broadcast. Everyone else was busy so Bob designated his younger brother Ralph "Buzz" Eucker to represent the crew.

Buzz went to the designated place and was met by people from the radio station and members of several other race crews. As Buzz recalls, 

"They put me at the end of this line of people and started at the other end asking if everyone was ready to race, asking for comments about the races in general and just making small talk. I had no idea of what I would say when they got to me. 

Race 55 poses with some of her servants in this photo. Left to right are Frank Holt, Bob Eucker, Hank Frieg, Mark Nelsen, and Al Eaton. Hank owned the filling station where most of the NACA crewmembers worked on their cars. Bob Hallein collection

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Another view of race 55 and crewmembers. Here are (left to right): Ralph (Buzz) Eucker, Bob Eucker, Hank Frieg, Bob Hallein, Mark Nelsen, and Al Eaton. Bob Hallein collection

I just couldn't think of anything to say. Then suddenly they were there asking me for my comments on the coming events. I opened my mouth and what came out was . . . 'I think that when these races start we may just have a few surprises for some of these gentlemen.'"


Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Russ Hosler poses with his sister Cleo (l) and friend in front of race 55 in those heady days. HJ Krause photo

Putting all the bits back together after painting the airplane. Looks like break time in this photo, it was a heck of a job to put the airplane back together. Eucker collection

 
[ Introduction ] [ Hosler Fury 1 ] [ Hosler Fury 2 ] [Hosler Fury 3 ]

[ Greatest Triumph 1 ] [ Greatest Triumph 2 ] [ Greatest Triumph 3 ]

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Russell Hosler and the Hosler Fury

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