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Challenge: Beat Strega

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Tiger Tim

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With Rare Bear retired from racing (and maybe even from flying), Voodoo retired from racing, Precious Metal's fire that will take at least the lion's share of a decade to recover from, the only extreme Unlimited racer at Reno from here on out looks to be Strega. This year's Unlimited Gold race results showed Strega and Voodoo neck and neck with third place being sixty(!) knots slower so I would imagine barring some disaster Strega will be winning a lot and the class could lose interest in a big way.

But we don't want that, do we? The rules are easy enough, it has to be prop-driven with a piston engine and the minimum empty weight is 4500 pounds. The rest is wide open. Your airplane has to fly for about ten minutes. So the challenge then becomes this: if money was no object how would you put up a real contender in Unlimited air racing?
 

tspear

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With an unlimited budget, start with as the concept Lightning P-38
With this as a starting point, and already running close to 500 MPH, ran into flutter around 521 (based on Wikipedia).
So solve the flutter, make it stronger, and over charge the two engines...

This would give you a much faster starting point then a lot of the other planes.

Tim
 

rv6ejguy

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Discussed before. Take a 900 cubic inch Mountain motor, turbocharge it lightly to 3000hp and stick it in something the size of a stiffened Legacy, Glasair, NXT, Venture (all of which have gone over 400 mph on less than 850hp). Do the math, 550mph + assuming half decent prop efficiency and ignoring compressibility effects. A fraction of the cost of a clean sheet design. The only problem is it would not meet the weight limit for Unlimiteds.

Take a Yak and install 2 Mountain motors end to end?
 
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TFF

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If there was real prize money and advertising money like NASCAR, INDY, F1 NHRA the WW2 planes would have been dropped like a rock. as much as I love them. Unlimited is like trying to be an Americas Cup racer on your own dime. An Americas Cup boat costs up to $10,000,000 and it is really only a two year boat; it will be outdated in two years. The teams are $100,000,000 teams. Unlimited teams are flying planes that were bought in the 60's for $20,000 and have been modified for years. They might spend a couple of million a year when they are doing well, but there is no money in it, so it is private money. Unlimited has its days numbered. Sport Class will take it over in the next ten years. They might split it having super modified and restricted modified; 300 mph planes in one class and 400mph planes in another class. Once the Unlimited teams turn their money to that class it will be a run of new planes because they are "so cheap". At least for a little wile.
 

Victor Bravo

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Scale up the AR-6 Formula One racer to 200% scale, put retaractable tricycle gear (in the FUSELAGE like an F-104), and put a large electric motor in it with some sort of chemical fuel cell in it to drive the motor. The reaction of the fuel cell might be able to qualify as internal combustion.
 

Mad MAC

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Hmmm, there is DH hornet is being rebuilt to flying, so one use carbon fibre on the DH hornet molds & fit it with the RR griffons.
 

mcrae0104

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Discussed before. Take a 900 cubic inch Mountain motor, turbocharge it lightly to 3000hp and stick it in something the size of a stiffened Legacy, Glasair, NXT, Venture (all of which have gone over 400 mph on less than 850hp).
...and find/engineer a PSRU and make the poor Lancair/Glasair/NXT's gear three times as long for a prop that can deal with 3,000hp? I think a larger airframe is needed. Maybe one with a big wave on the tail.
 

mcrae0104

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Once the Unlimited teams turn their money to that class it will be a run of new planes because they are "so cheap". At least for a little wile.
The unlimited guys are different than the Sport guys. Sure, they all love racing planes of all kinds, but guys like Tiger, Lewis, the Sanders, etc. have warbirds in their blood. I don't think the Unlimited money will ever go over to Sport. Sport will undoubtedly eclipse Unlimited eventually, but it's too early to fill out the Unlimited death certificate.
 
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rv6ejguy

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...and find/engineer a PSRU and make the poor Lancair/Glasair/NXT's gear three times as long for a prop that can deal with 3,000hp? I think a larger airframe is needed. Maybe one with a big wave on the tail.
5 or 6 blade prop. The current fast Sport class airplanes have very short props, lots of room to go longer as we'd have geared engines now. Single speed PSRU with 16 cylinders driving it, minimal TV concerns and you'd have a big budget to hire the right folks to design and test it. Not a show stopper IMO given the design tools available today.
 

rv6ejguy

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The unlimited guys are different than the Sport guys. Sure, they all love racing planes of all kinds, but guys like Tiger, Lewis, the Sanders, etc. have warbirds in their blood. I don't think the Unlimited money will ever go over to Sport. Sport will undoubtedly eclipse Unlimited eventually, but it's too early to fill out the Unlimited death certificate.
Doesn't matter how much the people running Unlimiteds like Warbirds, when there is no race to watch any more like maybe next year with Voodoo gone, spectator interest will dwindle quickly I think. I was glad to watch in person what may be one of the last great duels between giants. It was awesome. I hope I'm wrong because I love these planes too. We need Rare Bear and Dago Red back flying again to make it a 3 horse race rather than a one horse race which won't last long for spectator appeal.

The Sport Class has quite a bit of interest but has also been a one horse race in the last few years with Jeff being way out in front. We finally have a trio of Legacys which are running better but they need to step up their game another 30+ mph to make it exciting.
 

TFF

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I'm sure they will always be welcome, but it becomes more of an airshow than an air race. T-6 is slowing. There were two of my locals in the T-6 race, but there use to be two more and one had won Gold a couple of times. They have been out for a while. Warbird people are different than the Sport, but once Sport becomes the top, the personalities that have to be the top will migrate. Less for the racing, more to be on top.
 

cluttonfred

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If the big warbirds are no longer the attraction they once were, maybe it's time for a new class altogether? Why the arbitrary minimum weight of 4,500 lb? Why not make the unlimited category truly...unlimited? Just have basic safety rules about cockpit crashworthiness, emergency egress, fuel reserve, definition of prop and piston engine, and then let folks bring whatever they want. If the field looks more like this (only half-joking, insert fantasy Rutan types instead), there will be a lot of new blood interested in the sport!

07025c7c740c79e6f91423f9a9cd70a7--star-wars-art-star-wars-stuff.jpg
 

rv6ejguy

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If the big warbirds are no longer the attraction they once were, maybe it's time for a new class altogether? Why the arbitrary minimum weight of 4,500 lb? Why not make the unlimited category truly...unlimited? Just have basic safety rules about cockpit crashworthiness, emergency egress, fuel reserve, definition of prop and piston engine, and then let folks bring whatever they want. If the field looks more like this (only half-joking, insert fantasy Rutan types instead), there will be a lot of new blood interested in the sport!

View attachment 66081
The big Warbirds ARE the attraction but there are a lack of competitive entries at the front to make for true racing. They are expensive to field, being made for one event per year. The minimum weight was to protect from truly innovative Sport type aircraft coming into Unlimited plus after the lightweight Pond racer ran with a bunch of 7000+ pound aircraft with their massive wakes and propwash, probably a wise safely consideration as well.

There is nothing in the current rules to prevent someone from fielding a composite, swept wing, clean sheet design- as long as it weighs over 4500 pounds and has a piston engine powering it.
 

nerobro

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With an unlimited budget, start with as the concept Lightning P-38
To much frontal area. And the mach effects aren't easy to solve with that plane.

I want to see an aircobra done up for this. It starts off 1000lbs lighter than the P51, and i'm sure more weight could be found.
 

tspear

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Actually, I think a new direction.
It says piston and prop. It does not say that is the only source of power. How installing a couple of JATO units...
Or a jet engine or two...

Tim
 

cvairwerks

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Bob Pond spent millions trying to do a scratch built Unlimited. Best speed they could ever get was 400 mph. It would have taken tens of millions of dollars more to ever make it competitive for the Gold, if ever.
 

rv6ejguy

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Bob Pond spent millions trying to do a scratch built Unlimited. Best speed they could ever get was 400 mph. It would have taken tens of millions of dollars more to ever make it competitive for the Gold, if ever.
Too much wetted area and too many intersections. The engines were never able to put out the power in the aircraft that they did very reliably in the IMSA cars. Wrong turbos. A bit more time spent with some different engine people could have seen it a mid field runner in Gold IMO.
 

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