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Upgraded Flight Panel Gives Race Pilot An Edge

Upgraded Flight Panel Gives Race Pilot An Edge


Name: Joe Coraggio
Industry: Aviation, Racing
BendixKing Solution: Integrated Flight Deck Solution

Background: Joe’s passion for aviation runs deep. As a second - generation Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagle, he has been active in the program for more than 20 years. Shortly after his first plane ride, he found a day camp at a general aviation airport close to his house. This is where he had his first “Young Eagle” ride. He credits the EAA Young Eagles program for much of the success he’s had in his aviation career. The local EAA chapters took Joe under their wing and encouraged his passion for flying. On his sixteenth birthday, Joe completed his first solo flight before heading to the DMV to get his driver’s license. On his seventeenth birthday, he earned his pilot’s license. From here, there was no turning back. His first job was at the airport, as a ground volunteer, driving around a fuel truck. This is where he earned his nickname, “Ramp Rat” because he was always hanging around the airport. Today, his race team name “Ramp Rat Racing” stems from these childhood joys. When he is not professionally flying or prepping for races, he serves as Vice Chairman of the Airventure Cup Race where he spends his time mentoring aspiring aviation professionals. He has flown more than 80 Young Eagle flights provided through the Airventure Cup Race.

Challenge: Joe’s dream of competing in the STIHL National Championship Reno Air Race, the fastest motorsport on Earth, is now coming true. When flying at speeds of 300 MPH, it’s essential for Joe Coraggio to be able to predict precisely what's coming next and to be able to react even before it happens. That’s why he engaged with BendixKing to upgrade his flight deck panel to help him qualify for the upcoming race.

Solution: Joe upgraded the entire panel on his Lancair Legacy aircraft with BendixKing’s Integrated Flight Deck solution. His new flight panel incorporates the xVue Touch, AeroNav GPS navigator, xCruze autopilot, AeroPoint 200, KT-74 transponder, KMA 30 audio panel, and the AeroFlight backup attitude indicator. Joe will be racing his BendixKing Lancair in the 2019 Reno Air Race. This sporting event is similar to NASCAR and Formula 1 racing, but in the skies.

Since the installation of his new flight panel, Joe’s aircraft is now 40 pounds lighter with BendixKing’s lightweight solution. “In the aviation racing industry, this is a big deal,” said Coraggio. “Every pound that we can get out of the airplane allows it to fly faster along the race course, while also improving the handling of the airplane.”

Once Coraggio completes a race, his team is able to easily analyze his flight data to determine if everything was working at optimal levels. Through the xVue Touch’s built-in Wi-Fi, the aircraft can upload information to databases and update software in a few minutes. This feature helps Joe and his mentor to decide if anything needs to be adjusted before the next race, allowing for continuous improvements over time. Joe's fellow race pilot and mentor, George Catalano, appreciated the fact that the products and solutions from BendixKing provide all the necessities to install a full flight panel in one location.

Results: BendixKing’s Integrated Flight Deck ensures that both the aircraft and the pilot are always connected to real-time data and people

When pilots race, they are often flying 50 feet above the ground at 300 miles per hour, which requires a pilot’s undivided attention and critical information available at their fingertips. “You need to be so proficient with your airplane. When you are flying you don’t have time to look and see where anything is, your hand just goes to it automatically,” says Coraggio. The xVue Touch provides the right combination of touch screen and physical knobs to accomplish what Coraggio needs quickly, and by muscle memory.

Ramp Rat Racing manager, Kevin Vernon- Harris said, “BendixKing really puts their customers first. They make sure technology, solutions, and products are exceptional, especially for the general aviation community.” And now, thanks to BendixKing products and solutions, Coraggio’s childhood dream of the ultimate freedom to fly and race aircraft remains alive and thriving.

Reno Air Races Results: In the Sport Class, Joe and Kevin won and averaged 272.65 MPH! 

Race result link:
The AirVenture Cup Race site: