Our Story

I'm Louis Gabriel, owner of Blind Luck and the founder of Blind Luck Racing.

My family first visited the Reno Air Races in 2006 as spectators--since then, our involvement has grown every year.  By 2007, we had decided what hotels we liked most, but were still learning how to best view the races.  In 2008, we had figured out camping chairs and umbrellas.  In 2009, we found a house on the race course, and after seeing the Unlimited Class roar through pretty much the back yard, we all became Nevadans.

I have always had a passion for aviation.  As soon as I could talk, I was talking about airplanes...and in 2007, I started my lifelong dream job as a pilot in the United States Air Force.  

A few years down the line, I woke up partially blind in one eye--the result of a very rare medical condition most likely triggered by a common flu vaccine.  While fighting for my vision, it became clear my career as a military pilot was over.  Unwilling to give up aviation, I purchased a Lancair 360 with the goal of one day racing it at Reno.

Although I'm still recovering on a somewhat unknown road, it was impossible to stay away from the races while owning a race airplane hangared at Reno/Stead.  As a result, I've contracted my pilot training buddy, formation partner, and close friend Mike Carrera to race in my place.  You can read more about Mike further down on this page, but suffice it to say he is a phenomenal pilot!

We hope to be a continuous fixture in the races--but regardless of our participation, you can always find a large contingent of loud Air Force members (and possibly some representatives of the Navy) hanging around the Gabriel house in the Valley of Speed every September.

Louis Gabriel


Louis Gabriel is a former Air Force pilot with time in the T-38C, T-6A, and numerous competition sailplanes as part of the United States Air Force Academy's cross country soaring team.  He's been in the air since he was eight years old.

Rich Gabriel

Crew Chief

This team would be absolutely nowhere without the incredible expertise, patience, unending knowledge, and countless work hours of its Crew Chief, Rich Gabriel.  

Rich is a veteran commercial airline mechanic with a focus in avionics.  You never know what problems you're going to face with experimental aircraft, but one thing is for sure--without his support, this airplane would have been a very expensive lawn ornament from the very beginning.

Lily Gabriel

CFO / Chief of Stores

Lily Gabriel is the team's most indefatigable member, and the most important as the Keeper of Finances!  She is also the only one of any of us who can keep track of the myriad new, serviceable, and rubbish parts involved with rebuilding and operating a race airplane.  The hangar would be constantly out of beer, water, sunscreen, fire extinguishers, earplugs, food, nuts, bolts, relays, and lightbulbs without her continuous support.

Mike Carrera

Race Pilot

Mike Carrera flies A320s for Delta, C-130s for the USAF Reserve, and Lancair 360NGs for Team Blind Luck!  He hails from Dallas, TX and you can always find him boasting about his alma mater, University of Kansas.

Since their pilot training days, Mike and Louis have been friends and have always shared an almost unhealthy fascination with aviation.  Mike is a seasoned air racer, having first flown in both Pylon Racing Seminar and the Reno Air Races in 2012.

Chris Zavatson

Chief Engineer

Chris is the builder, owner, and pilot of N91CZ--an Oshkosh Champion Lancair 360.  His contribuitions to the Lancair community are paralleled only by his unending work for our team.  His engineering and composites expertise are absolutely critical to Blind Luck returning to the air, and we're beyond lucky to have his help!

Be sure to check out Chris' many detailed studies and innovations on his website, N91CZ.com.