Sharp Nemesis

The Sharp DR 90 Nemesis is a Formula One racing aircraft designed by Jon Sharp and built at the Mojave Airport by the Nemesis Air Racing Team. The aircraft is powered by a modified Continental O-200 piston engine.

Sharp DR90 Nemesis
Sharp DR 90 Nemesis.jpg
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Role Racing aircraft
Manufacturer Sharp Air Racing
Designer Jon Sharp
First flight 1991
Status On display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Variants Sharp Nemesis NXT
Nemesis seen from above

The Nemesis originated as an attempt by Jon Sharp to build a Shoestring racer, with composite skins over a steel frame. Along the way, Dan Bond convinced him to use an airfoil with extensive laminar flow and finally, Steve Ericson helped Jon design a sleeker, all composite airframe. All that remains of the original “plastic Shoestring” is the horizontal tail. The steel space frame was sold to Dan Gilbert, who built on it his Shadow Formula One air racer. Although Shadow looks much like Nemesis it is fabricated differently and has a completely different wing.[1]

The success of the aircraft led Jon Sharp to design a follow-on type, the Nemesis NXT.[2]

Racing careerEdit

Between 1991 and 1999, the plane won 45 of the 48 race events in which it was entered, including nine consecutive Reno Gold National Championships. During each of the race seasons from 1994 through 1999, Nemesis finished as the International Formula One points champion. Nemesis was awarded the George Owl Trophy for its design in 1991, three Louis Blèriot Medals from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (1993, 1996 and 1998),[3] and four Pulitzer Trophies (1993, 1994, 1995 and 1999). The aircraft set 16 world speed records, and in one of those records, Nemesis flew at over 290 mph (467 km/h). Because of its successes, the National Air and Space Museum has described the plane as "the most successful aircraft in air racing history".[4] To put the Nemesis performance in perspective, most production O-200 equipped aircraft struggle to break 100mph. Very few, if any, can reach even half its maximum speed.


After the end of the 1999 racing season, Jon Sharp donated the aircraft to the National Air and Space Museum, and it is now on display at the NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m) [5]
  • Wingspan: 21 ft 3.2 in (6.482 m) [5]
  • Height: 3 ft 4 in (1.02 m)
  • Wing area: 66.6 sq ft (6.187 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 6.79
  • Airfoil: NLF-0414F mod
  • Empty weight: 520 lb (236 kg)
  • Gross weight: 770 lb (350 kg) [5]
  • Powerplant: × Continental O-200 piston engine, 100 hp (75 kW) Est. 135hp+ in race trim


  • Maximum speed: 290.074 mph (466.83 km/h, 252.067 kn)
  • Power/mass: 0.201
  • Fuel capacity: 5 US gal (18.9 liters)
  • Stall speed: 90 Kias (167 km/h)
  • G-Loading limits: +6, -4
  • Cabin height: 35 in (89 cm)


  1. ^ Lednicer, David A. "Fluid Dynamic Analysis of Nemesis and Shadow" EAA Sport Aviation, August 1997
  2. ^ Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, page 113. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
  3. ^ FAI list of Bleriot winners Archived 2009-01-08 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Sharp DR 90 "Nemesis"". Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum. Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  5. ^ a b c Display at National Air and Space Museum