Hinton breaks world piston speed record

Hinton breaks world piston speed record

Steve Hinton Jr flew North American P-51D Mustang N551VC Voodoo to a new world piston-engined air speed record in the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) class C-1e — landplanes with a take-off weight of 3,000-6,000kg — at Challis, north-western Idaho on 2 September, with an average speed of 531.53mph (855.41km/h) over four runs of the 3km course. It is the first time a Rolls-Royce Merlinpowered aircraft has gained the record.

Multiple-times Reno Unlimited Gold champion Steve ‘Stevo’ Hinton Jr in the cockpit of Voodoo, which is run by a team from Dan Friedkin’s Pursuit Aviation. SCOTT GERMAIN
Sponsorship for Voodoo on the record-breaking flights came from Seattle-based Aviation Partners Inc, which specialises in performance-enhancing winglets for airliners and bizjets. The flights were made at company founder Joe Clark’s base at Challis, Nevada. PURSUIT AVIATION

The previous holder was Lyle Shelton and his Grumman F8F Bearcat Rare Bear, which made four runs over a 3km course in New Mexico in August 1989 at an average speed of 528.31mph (850.24km/h). The FAI subsequently ‘retired’ that 3km record due to changes in the sporting code, which categorised future contenders in sub-classes governed by take-off weight.

During Hinton’s first timed run on 2 September he got Voodoo up to a phenomenal 554.69mph (891.57km/h). The highly modified Mustang, which is owned by Bob Button of Wellington, Nevada, was flown to victory in the Unlimited Gold Trophy race at Reno by Hinton Jr in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Once the 2017 Reno races are completed on 17 September, it is said that Voodoo will be retired, and is rumoured to be heading for the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

The record-breaking run, with Voodoo hitting 554.69mph (891.57km/h). SCOTT GERMAIN

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