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 3)
  

That promptly ended the radio program. Returning to the hanger, Buzz was greeted by a furious Bob who asked, "now you little son of a gun, the rest of us would like to know just what these surprises are, or are you planning on keeping them all to yourself?"

The Tinnerman Trophy Race was run Saturday, September 4th and was a crowd pleaser from the start. Bob took the lead immediately and held it until M. W. Fairbrother passed him on the second lap. Then it was Fairbrother, Bob in second and Bruce Raymond in number 77, "Galloping Ghost" a close third. Fairbrother suffered a propeller failure on lap five and Bob in race 55 regained the lead with Bruce right behind him. Bob was unable to pull away and Bruce was unable to pass. As they rounded the last pylon of the last lap, Bob was a little high and Bruce had climbed a bit above him. Just before they reached the finish line, Bruce put the Galloping Ghost into a shallow dive and won the race literally by inches. Race speeds for the two were Raymond at 362.245 miles per hour and Eucker at 362.093 miles per hour.

Sunday, September 5th, was Sohio Handicap Trophy Race day. The Sohio entrants were assigned a takeoff time based upon their qualifying time. Anyone running the race faster than his qualifying time was disqualified. Bob was assigned the sixth takeoff slot, as his handicap was 137.5 seconds. Seven laps of the fifteen mile course later he was the winner with a speed of 320.220 miles per hour including the handicap. With the Sohio Handicap Trophy Race victory, race 55 became the only P-63 airplane to ever win a major open class race.

To air racing historians, Monday, September 6th, 1948, will forever be known as "Black Monday." This was the day that only three of the twelve starters in the Thompson Trophy Race were flying at the end of the 20-lap event. Race 55 was not one of the three.

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Rollout on race day, Sunday, September 5, 1948. This was the day of the Sohio race, which Bob won in race 55. In this photo Henry Rzeszot is in the foreground, Hank Frieg in the background, and Frank Holt on the tow bar. Hallein collection

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Russ had an entire box of seats at the races. L to R is: unknown, Russ Hosler, Herb Krause, Phil Krause, and Vivian Krause. Hallein collection

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Bob Eucker in race 55, the "Spirit of Tick" leads Bruce Raymond in race 77, the "Galloping Ghost" around the pylons in the early stages of the Tinnerman race. This race was held Saturday, September 4, 1948. Eucker collection

Two laps into the race that had started well for Bob, the cooling system began to fail. He reduced power but the coolant temperature kept climbing. Wisely, on lap six with the engine overheating badly, he decided to call it a day while he still had power to land on the runway. After all, the race 55 crew had not done too badly. They had a second place and a win, their best year ever. Despite the disappointment of not being able to finish the Thompson, they had earned almost $5000.

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Frank Holt, who was just having fun and never expected to make any money, found that he had made enough to buy his girlfriend a diamond engagement ring! He is still married to the same girl and she still has the same ring. Frank is proud of his role in the race 55 story and of all his friends of those long ago days.

Bob Eucker had an interesting confession to make after the races. The first test flight he made in the airplane after the maintenance was completed was also the first time he had ever flown any airplane bigger or more powerful than the PT-17 he used in his AERO-AD banner towing business. A World War II Stinson L-5 instructor with about 4500 hours of flight time in his pilot's logbook, one of his life long dreams was to fly in the National Air Races. He brought to the race 55 group the skill, determination, competitiveness and sense of fair play that marked his entire life. Sadly, he was killed in the crash of a Globe Swift in 1974.

Waiting for the start of the Sohio race, the crew polish and check. Foreground with his back to the camera is Henry Rzeszot, Frank Holt's brother in law. This was the first air race Henry had ever seen, he came on a good day for race 55. John Saum's P-38, race 64 is in the background. HJ Krause photo

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Discussing strategy for the upcoming race are Russ Hosler and Bob Eucker. Waiting is always harder than racing. HJ Krause photo

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

Alice and Bob Eucker look very happy at the conclusion of the Sohio Trophy race. Could those smiles be because Bob won? Eucker collection

A very happy Bob Eucker on the wing of race 55 in the winner's circle after just winning the Sohio race in 1948. Bob smiled a lot that year. Eucker collection

On the podium, Bob (left) is interviewed after the Sohio race. Russ Hosler, aircraft owner in on the right. Eucker collection


Authors note: In preparing research data for a biography of Russ Hosler I needed some information on the P-63 that Russ owned. I spent two fruitless years searching for anyone who crewed the airplane or knew anything about it. During a Society of Air Racing Historians annual symposium in Cleveland one year I was talking to Dick Becker about some photos and subsequently mailed him a package of prints for his collection. Dick had raced one of Cook Cleland's big Corsair fighters in the Cleveland races. I received a note from Dick some time later thanking me for the photos and adding that he would like to give a few to Alice Eucker (Bob's widow). This excited me no end, as Alice was one of the people I had been searching for without success. Dick gave me her phone number and I subsequently contacted Alice. She very kindly supplied me with more crewmembers names and addresses. Contacting those people led to others and in the space of a few days I had contacted all the surviving crewmembers of Race 55. We all had a reunion during the Society of Air Racing Historians 1994 annual symposium. This is the first time that all the fellows had been together since 1948. We had a grand time. I visited Alice Eucker and had a very enjoyable afternoon talking about old times. Alice and the crew still exchange Christmas cards and notes with me. Alice signs her card "aunt Alice". Meeting, as an adult these people who I watched work on the airplane, as a child so many years ago, is still one of the highlights of my lifetime.

Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Russ Hosler and R. J. Monroe at home, Rocky River, Ohio, during Christmas of 1948. Those were the salad days for Russ. Sadly, they ended a few short years later.
HJ Krause photo

 
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

The Hosler home as it appears today, in the center. The house hasn't changed much. It sure brings back memories to the author.
PA Krause photo

Phil Krause - Huntington, Indiana
25 March 2001
Russell A. Hosler's Greatest Triumph

Members of the race 55 crew at Cleveland in May of 1994. Left to right are Hank Frieg, Ken Kleinknecht, Mark Nelsen, and Dick Payne. All except Hank worked for NACA (later renamed NASA). After the race 55 days Ken continued with NACA and was one of the key men in the United States manned space program. His biography is most impressive. PA Krause photo

 
[ 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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