The piston-powered world speed record can be considered the ultimate aviation test - this family is trying to break it with a Mustang.
If you're interested in seeing an unlimited class P-51 flying at around 70ft up at over 500mph, find 20 minutes, grab a coffee and watch this film.
"To say the Hintons love World War II-era fighter planes would be an understatement. The family runs a museum dedicated to these victorious war machines—handbuilt with slide rule, pencil and paper—and raised their kids around the planes. Back in the day, Steve, Sr., held the world record for the fastest speed ever accomplished in a propeller-driven, piston-engine aircraft. He broke his back and legs in crashes along the way, but that hasn’t stopped him and his wife from encouraging their son towards his own racing dreams. Today, Steve, Jr., is vying to get the family name back on top—pushing to reach 535-mph in an aircraft whose days are numbered."
The C-1e class speed record was broken by Steve Hinton Jr in 2017 whilst piloting his airplane, Voodoo, a highly modified P-51 Mustang on the 2nd September 2017. This broke the C-1e class of 318mph set by Will Whiteside Jr but missed the mark on the overall official 528mph Absolute Propeller-Driven Piston Powered 3-Km speed record.
This P-51 Mustang, named Voodoo, has raced in the sky for nearly three decades. It has won big and won several times.
The striking departure from the equally striking original bright livery for this record attempt was the result of a partnership with Aviation Partners Inc.
528mph was the speed to beat but, unfortunately, the team couldn't better this speed originally set by a modified Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat flown by Lyle Shelton back in 1989.
However, the Mustang did fly faster than any piston-powered plane witnessed from the ground (in excess of 550mph). So, "how did he not get the record then?" you ask. It is to do with way official runs are recorded by the FIA governing body.
The requirements state that a record has to be bettered by at least 1%. The final speed, as with many world speed records, is an average of multiple 'runs'. This record requires four runs back and forth at a set altitude over the runway. For Steve to best the record, he needed to reach a speed of over 533.6mph. Sadly, he took his P-51 to 531mph, 2.6mph too slow.
Although the attempt didn't achieve a new world record, the speed still stands as a bold achievement. The Hintons are still working to one day return to the airstrip for another look at that so far untouchable 533.6mph.
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Article by James Whomsley
Editor of FliteTest.com
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/projectairaviation