New pis­ton-en­gined world speed record

Pilot - - PILOT NOTES -

On 2 Septem­ber Steve Hinton Jr set a new world speed record for pi­s­to­nengined air­craft in the much mod­i­fied P-51 Mus­tang Voodoo. The flight took place at Clarks Ranch, Idaho, where Hinton made four runs which av­er­aged 531.53mph, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous record of 528.3mph set in 1989 by Lyle Shel­ton fly­ing Grum­man Bearcat Rare Bear. Hinton’s fastest run was mea­sured at 554.69mph. Steve’s fa­ther, also Steve, broke the same record in Au­gust 1979, reach­ing 499.018mph over the Ne­vada desert in the RR Grif­fon-en­gined, con­traro­tat­ing pro­pel­ler Mus­tang Red Baron. A month later he was se­ri­ously in­jured, and Red Baron de­stroyed, in a crash at Reno.

Steve Hinton Jr has flown Voodoo to three suc­ces­sive Un­lim­ited class ti­tles at the Reno Air Races, but for the world record at­tempt even more work was needed. Aero­dy­namic wing mod­i­fi­ca­tions were de­vel­oped by spon­sor Avi­a­tion Part­ners Inc us­ing com­pu­ta­tional fluid dy­nam­ics to re­design wing aero­foils to re­duce strong shock waves cre­ated at Mach 0.75-0.80. Hinton com­mented, “The air­plane ac­cel­er­ated much faster to the high-speed realm… (I) saw a much faster air­plane at 100 inches man­i­fold pres­sure than I had ever seen be­fore.” Avi­a­tion Part­ner’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Joe Clark added: “We agreed to spon­sor the record at­tempt be­cause we felt we could add sig­nif­i­cant value. That ap­pears to be the case. We used the same drag re­duc­tion method­ol­ogy on the Mus­tang as we have used on the Boe­ing jet­lin­ers and nu­mer­ous Fal­con, Hawker and Gulf­stream busi­ness jets to make them more ef­fi­cient.”

Hinton Jr was un­able to add a fourth win to Voodoo’s Reno ti­tles. In the Na­tional Cham­pi­onship Air Races Gold Un­lim­ited fi­nal on 17 Septem­ber, long time ri­val and many times for­mer win­ner P-51 Strega, flown by James Con­salvi, re­claimed the ti­tle, hav­ing last won in 2015 in the hands of ‘Hoot’ Gib­son. Strega cov­ered the eight-lap py­lon course at an av­er­age 481.34mph, less than half a sec­ond ahead of Voodoo which clocked 480.744mph. Both Mus­tangs lapped the rest of the field. Voodoo’s own­ers have de­cided to re­tire it from rac­ing, but have not ruled out fur­ther speed record at­tempts.

Speed record suc­cess but no Reno win for Voodoo

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