by: Tom Giertz
|Miss Ashley II
Miss Ashley II was on hand. I spoke with her designer and builder, Bill Rogers. They have a new leading edge on the airplane. Instead of an aluminum leading edge, a new carbon fiber design is being used. He says it is easier to get a good [fast] leading edge that way. This flight to Oshkosh was the first time there for them. Bill commented about the new Sport Class: He believes it will be a welcome addition to the races, however Bill does not see the Unlimited Class ceasing to exist. He does believe that you will start seeing more planes like Miss Ashley being built. The cost to build your own competitive plane is about the same as making improvements to an existing P-51. Bill also said that they will will not holding back the engine this year. Last year was a test of the airframe and this year he expects to unleash the hounds. Miss Ashley will also spend some time in the wind tunnel after Reno. Their goal is reduce the drag in the scoop, spinner, and empannage fillet areas. She will be faster!
I also spent some time with Dave Morss. He was extremely excited about the new Sport Class. He said that the race organizers were going out of their way to make sure everyone was happy. He had not seen that kind of treatment in years. They told Dave that this class is expected to be their future. Dave believes that the Unlimiteds will soon be in the 500mph speeds and in a couple of years it will take 400mph to win in the Sport Class.
I spent quite a bit of time with Dan Denny and his crew. Dan is hoping to have enough customer Thunder Mustangs flying in 5 years to see a "spec class" for them. Back in Nampa the crew is working around the clock to have the 2nd prototype ready for Reno. Everyone at PaPa-51 feels like they will make it. This one will also have the normally aspirated engine on it. They expect to race in both the Unlimited and Sport Class. Charles Denney told me that they expect to have a final NTSB report late this week. All of the in-flight data and radar service data that was available, a quick and accurate report will be forthcoming.
Lancair's new Tigress is flying, but was unable to make the trip to Oshkosh due to an alternator bug. Don Goetz has flown it and is happy with it so far. It has the Orenda 600HP V-8 in it and is predicted to see 405mph at altitude. Unfortunately the price of the Orenda is very high, around $90,000 with no accessories. Lancair is not taking deposits on it at this time. If the Orenda is the only option, the Tigress may not see kit production. Lance is looking at other powerplant options. (recent develolpments at Orenda may change this prediction -ed)
Tom builds fast airplanes at Giertz Aviation Services, located at Houston Southwest Airport-KAXH 503 McKeever Road Arcola, Texas 77583. Tom is also Vice President of EAA Chapter 12 in Houston and writes their Wing-Tips monthly newsletter. http://members.tripod.com/~TomGiertz/giertzaviation.html
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