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Toobuilder

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By "forever" I meant that the thermal capacity of the cooling system must exceed that of the engine. Said another way, the cooling system needs to be in charge, not the engine. Perhaps I should have said "as long as required".

And yes, im familiar with the boil off systems. I'll bet cross country planning is interesting!
 

gtae07

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My point is the "1000 hp" figures often quoted about drag racing engines are usually for a few seconds. The Endurance racers are using a lot of the same parts, but are tuned a bit more conservatively. ( but, amazingly, not that much )
Jet engines are like that too... it doesn't take much of a reduction in thrust (temperature is the big factor) to really see a huge change in engine life. A lot of things are like that, really, even people. I know on a bike, I have an "endurance" pace that I can ride for a reasonably long time. Speed up by about 15% or so and it cuts my endurance by 80%.

y23-0.gif
Note, that's a log scale along the bottom...
 

Swampyankee

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I suspect that an Unlimited racer could cruise at a low enough power setting so the spray bars aren't needed. A route planning question might be what sort of ground support it would need and what its runway requirements are. For some reason, I don't think Rare Bear or a similat Unlimited's operaror would be thrilled to fly into and out of a small grass strip.

The real problem with a new Unlimited racer is lack of money. Larry Ellison got interested in yacht racing. He could have gotten interested in air racing instead, which could have gotten enough money into the sport to get the old warbirds retired.
 

Tiger Tim

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IIRC there are a couple unfinished unlimited air racers out there which may or may not be going in the right direction. There was Shockwave which was basically a huge radial mated to a set of Sea Fury wings and Sabre tail feathers, and American Spirit(?) which was a similar idea but using the flying surfaces of a T-2 Buckeye.


Whether or not either one has any real potential remains to be seen but perhaps the retirement of all but one of the heavily modified all-out racers will make it look like the right time to pour some cash into one or both of them. I think Taunami has had an on-again, off-again rebuild happening as well but that may or may not ever be completed.
 

autoreply

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From an inside perspective it's hard to see what's wrong.

The days of piston-powered air racing are numbered.

I've been to airshows where all the pilots were wowed by a team of two P51's doing a low pass. The rest of the audience was way more impressed with two sailplanes doing a low pass. The sound of those V12's is what we relate to. Not that core of air racing.

Electric air racing is the future. It's affordable for starters. It's also feasible today.

Stock batteries do .2 kWh/kg.

For an F1 sized airframe, you need 80 kW for about 8 minutes, so about 120 lbs of batteries.

If we scale a similarly-sized airframe up in power, we need about 8 times as much energy and power to do 500 mph laps, or about a thousand pounds of batteries.

Standardize on one type of batteries (say 18650), leave motor, airframe and controller completely open and this makes it accessible to a new generation because it doesn't require millions (or equivalent sponsorships) and it would actually drive new developments in aero and electric that are directly applicable to homebuilt airplanes.

Or we could keep going with WWII designs and the current air racing population and a decade from now wonder why air racing has died.....
 

Swampyankee

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Of course I have another alternate class concept too. Take the Formula One rules and their race horse start and make an electric class. 70 Kw motors and whatever batteries you like. With the gigafactory there, maybe the air races could cash in on some of that Tesla money.

I know they would be quiet and not as exciting to the public, but the formula one fans may like the tech.

Many leading race car organizations are adding EV classes and I think it's because it draws in the next generation of fans.


Put a tight weight range on the aircraft and specify the motor. Formula 1 air racing rules specify engine (http://www.if1airracing.com/images/Documents/IF1_Technical_Rules_Rev2011.pdf); your F1EV class could specify a particular make and model of motor and otherwise just use a revised version of the F1 rules. Maybe you can convince Elon Musk this would be a good way to publicize electric vehicles.
 
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TFF

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Unlimited is about excess. Excess money, horsepower, speed. The whole spectacle is loud fast airplanes, millionaire pilots, and spending as much as they can on an airplane that flys for one weekend a year. That is what most of the crowd is paying to see. It is what you pay for auto F1 race. It's not about the engineering; engineering is there to promote the excess. It's not an intellectual game for the crowd. It's about smashing butterflies with sledgehammers. A bunch of engineers wanting to be efficient are just as happy to not have a crowd. no one wants a Grey Ghost to happen again; they do want to see safe carnage. There is just not enough money in it. Air racing does not film well. TV money is not there because of that. When all sports were less professional Reno would make it on WWofS every year but WWofS was the place we saw Monaco. There was no world wide F1 tv at the time. Each sport still survived on ticket sales. If you have a atV audience you can keep your personal millions and have advertisers pay for your fun. That is pro auto racing,team
Sports to pay for crazy salaries, America's Cup. Reno as expensive as it is, is on par with club racing SCCA as a advertising portal. Same thing has happened to Unlimited Hydroplane racing. Still stuck in the 70's. Top Fuel drag racing is still there but slowly shrinking. They keep John Force coming back to keep the sport from collapsing.
 

Toobuilder

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From an inside perspective it's hard to see what's wrong.

The days of piston-powered air racing are numbered...

...Electric air racing is the future. It's affordable for starters. It's also feasible today.....

I think the explosion in popularity of the sport class contradicts that assertion (at least in the short term). Warbirds were used because they were cheap and fast. They are not cheap anymore. Today, L-39's can be had for the price you pay for a reasonably nice RV-10, they require almost no maintenance, and they go 500 MPH. These are the "warbirds" of the early 60's... But their days are numbered too. Those "cheap" engines that used to cost 25k 10 years ago are now 150+ and going up as the supply dwindles. But the sport class is where all those RV and Lancair guys can relate too. Innovation is starting to really take hold and the results are dramatic. Yes, they are already hitting the wall with engine technology, but more power is available with auto based powerplants. It wont be long before some start to dip their toes in that pool, and then the fun begins...
 

autoreply

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I think the explosion in popularity of the sport class contradicts that assertion (at least in the short term). Warbirds were used because they were cheap and fast. They are not cheap anymore. Today, L-39's can be had for the price you pay for a reasonably nice RV-10, they require almost no maintenance, and they go 500 MPH. These are the "warbirds" of the early 60's... But their days are numbered too. Those "cheap" engines that used to cost 25k 10 years ago are now 150+ and going up as the supply dwindles. But the sport class is where all those RV and Lancair guys can relate too. Innovation is starting to really take hold and the results are dramatic. Yes, they are already hitting the wall with engine technology, but more power is available with auto based powerplants. It wont be long before some start to dip their toes in that pool, and then the fun begins...
Perhaps to your surprise I agree with your assessment. In the short term, certainly the next half-decade.

For the next decade, less so. Maybe the best argument for that is F1. That's where (opinion, not fact) most development seems to take place. IMHO the affordability - for lack of a better cliché - plays a big role. Electric aircraft have the potential to be a lot more affordable for the average guy since you don't have to sink a ton of cash in a tuned engine and rebuilding it every so often. There's also an enormous sponsorship opportunity there. Look how much money the Perlan project has landed, solely because it provides a "green" aeronautical display for Airbus. Same for the solar races, formula student etc. Just think of the sponsorship possibilities for for example university teams.

Another thing is that Reno (sports, unlimited, maybe even top of F1) isn't terribly intense racing, you can pretty much draw up the placements (save the occasional engine failure). Close racing of any kind is way more exciting to an audience.
 

Topaz

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IMHO, another thing that would help the sport is to do more than one event per year. I'm just old enough to remember when a second weekend race series was held at Mojave Airport, with the same aircraft, a month or two prior to the "big" event at Reno. My dad took me to the last three years' events there, as it was a lot more accessible to us than Reno. I still remember the Griffon-powered P-51 "Red Baron" flying in that race.

So long as traditional air racing in the USA is confined to a single event in a single location, it will remain a dwindling "niche" sport. Look how well the Red Bull pylon races have done. There's market and interest in spreading air racing further than Reno-Stead. Seems like the promoters, however, have gotten too comfortable with their one cash cow, and don't really care what happens in the long-term.
 

Autodidact

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The days of piston-powered air racing are numbered.
So are the days of the Sun. I think the electric thing might happen, for aerobatics as well as racing (possibly), but it will be in addition to piston powered racing - certainly in the USA...
 

rv6ejguy

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For the next decade, less so. Maybe the best argument for that is F1. That's where (opinion, not fact) most development seems to take place.
Nah. Ray Cote was faster than 95% of the current F1 field back in 1985 and Jon Sharp still holds the race lap record from 21 years ago. Way more progress/ development in Sport Class, although mainly in the engine department sadly rather than the aerodynamic side. The well prepared innovators are well ahead of the rest of their respective competitors which is unfortunate from a racing standpoint but hardly their fault.

I do think the an electric class could draw some new sponsors and interest though. We need SOMETHING new at Reno.
 

bmcj

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I think the oval course favors raw power over anything else. I'd like to see a two-pylon race. It would test all out speed in the straights, and both pilot technique and the ability of the wing to grab and hold the air around the tight, high-g turns.

A side benefit to this is that the entire course could be in front of the spectators rather than miles across the desert.
 

BJC

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The Red Bull race scheme is more interesting than I originally thought that it would be. It would be fun to see IF1 airplanes run on a Red Bull course. Live on-board video would be a plus, ond the max g limit might need to be lowered. I have heard suggestions from a former participant, though, that the Red Bull racing rules enforcement "is not what the public thinks."


BJC
 

Aesquire

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Now that there's a thread for the electric motor fans, I can simply point out that 1500 hp electric motors and exotic batteries made from virgin blood and unicorn horns isn't going to be a factor in Unlimited but shoehorned into F1, maybe.

Oops I meant rare elements mined in countries that might on Tuesday decide to horde to put political pressure on others.... not virgin's blood. That's a myth. ;)

The sports class planes don't use spray bars on the way to Reno. ( again the difference between street cars used for track days vs. Serious race cars not legal on the street because the safety gear is wildly different ) I've been paying attention to those differences lately because I'm in the planning stage of a street legal "must drive 1000 miles in one week" class dragster. The roll cage for 300 mph crashes is a pain to crawl into. Also being able to convince a police officer by the side of the road you are legal is important but not relevant here.

The consensus seems to be that the weight limit is a hard one to beat, since you end up with a WW2 fighter plane size and power requirement. ( on purpose apparently, if it's to keep the racing WW2 fighters )

And that while the "availability" of 1000+ hp engines is argued, there are no highly public flying examples knocking off FAI records.
 

Toobuilder

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...And that while the "availability" of 1000+ hp engines is argued, there are no highly public flying examples knocking off FAI records...

Give it a minute or two. It will happen.


There was a time when I had dreams of building a car to compete in the then new "fastest street car" shootout. But back then (25+ years), a 9 second car was "king of the hill"... It took about 2 years and "street" cars were knocking on the door of 7's and I knew that I was hopelessly outclassed already. Now there are factory built cars knocking on the 9 second door...

There are airframes out there that carry a Lyc 720 around the race course today - GIII, Legacy, Nemesis NXT... If they can carry that lump on the nose (structurally) how long before someone goes to a relatively simple 1000 HP V-8 package of the same weight? Not long, I suspect. And yes, there will be teething problems but they will get solved. Probably simpler than trying to keep a $100,000 race aircraft engine from blowing a jug off the case. I hope the hot rod spirit will follow history and throw too large an engine into whatever is available and race the hell out of it, hit the wall technically, and inovate again.

And to counter Jarno's earlier comment - I sure expect that ride to take more than a decade to run its course.
 

mcrae0104

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Sounds a lot like a certain big airshow in Wisconsin....
Strange that those who don't participate in that organization can't see anything they do other than the convention. It's too bad, really.
 

wwalton

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I have thought a lot about an alternative race set up for Formula 1. With the red bull air show in mind. I don't mind that they call it a race but the Red Bull show is like drifting to me. You take a vehicle around a set of points in a controlled manner so speed isn't necessarily the goal. Still very fun to watch.

My idea is more like autocross in particular pro solo. Two mirror image courses where two planes can go head to head around pylons in opposite directions. This would allow the spectators to see who won immediately. The course could then include turns in both directions and ideally a turn around point that would allow for a vertical element. The last part of my plan is that this should be a course that 90% of the pilots flying F1 could do. No knife edge gates and 10g pulls and definetly no inverted stuff.

At reno they have T-6 head to head racing and it's fun to watch, but they still have to clear each other in and the course forces one to the outside. A dual with opposing courses would be too big for T-6s but for F1 it could fit in their area.
 

Toobuilder

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...but does that result in a 550 MPH aircraft? We are looking to go faster than anything out there today.
 
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