Whilst talking of pushing the boundaries, word reaches us that General Aviation aircraft are still setting new records – long after most of us thought there was nothing new to aim for in the field.
Congratulations are due to Steve Hinton Jr and his team who have set a new record for piston-powered, propeller-driven aircraft by tearing around a 3km course in a highly-modified P-51 Mustang at an average speed of a fraction over 531mph, with the fastest of the four laps just topping 554mph. For those of a technical disposition, according to sponsors Aviation Partners Inc., aerodynamic wing modifications played a key role in the record attempt and they used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods to redesign the P51’s wing surface airfoils to reduce and eliminate the strong shock waves created at Mach number 0.75 and 0.80. This modification thereby delayed the drag rise Mach number, allowing the P-51 to achieve higher speeds. Hinton himself was quoted as saying “The airplane accelerated much faster to the high-speed realm.” Hinton also said he saw a much faster airplane at 100 inches manifold pressure than he had ever seen before – we bet he did.