Reno Air Racing: Thunder mustang Update!

"Thunder Mustang"  Update
Thunder Mustang #2 First Run-Up!


When we reported last September of the amazing effort by the crew at Papa 51 (and many volunteers) to get TM#2 ready in time for Reno '98, the goal was to go from this early stage (see image at right) to a flying airplane in way less than a month. In the end, flying to Reno '98 proved an unreachable goal. Looking quite fit and ready to fly, but arriving by truck mid week, the #2 airplane drew large crowds at Reno (as did #1 last year) proving that interest in this little "wonder plane" has not waned following the loss of the flying prototype last June. If anything interest continues to grow. A quick review of news group postings in rec.aviation.homebuilt proves that this project is far from forgotten. So just what is happening with he #2 airplane??......Good News!! First flight is near....

Company spokesperson, Charles Denny, tells us "We ran the engine for a while and have decided to get it painted before first flight"....... With this news can the first flight be far behind?...."The painting will take about 10 days then flight testing will be another week or so after that. After Dave Morss has put the airplane through our flight test program and is comfortable with the airplane, we will be ready to demonstrate the Thunder Mustang."

Indeed, this is good news for the project, and particularly good news for Air Racing (unless you're a competitor in the Sport Class and don't have one!).... The Thunder mustang project is a dream to be sure, but it is a dream that is coming true. Known to some as the "poor man's" Mustang ("poor" is *always* a relative term:) this airplane brings a unique aviation experience within a reachable price to many (at least many more than a genuine P-51) and provides a very exciting entry to the fray at the annual gathering of the fastest of the fast at Reno, Nevada!

This model under construction at the company's spotless Idaho facility will be a "normally aspirated" version, using the Ryan Falconer Engines beautiful V-12. Unless the Lancair Tigress project comes to fruition, (we'll have more on this soon!) these P-51 "look-alikes" could sweep the Sport Class at Reno...A supercharged version is slated to be the next airplane constructed and should prove to be a very intriguing challenger for Reno (projected speeds reach well into Unlimited territory!). Certainly the flavor of competition in the future is going to be very different than what we've become used to

Charles has promised to keep us abreast of developments and we will pass on whatever we get as soon as we get it!

Stay Tuned!

story by: Wayne Sagar

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