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Thursday
Jun242010

Video: Some Very 'Precious Metal' From Reno 2006

 I was at Reno 2009, and interestingly, the last Reno I had been to before that was... 1970! So it's true, I missed a lot of the details of faster-than-fast air racing for a lot of years. But I'm trying hard to keep up with what's going on these days, and I'm loving it.

 I'll admit that all I knew about the P-51 racer called 'Precious Metal' was that it had green wings and looked pretty highly modified. This video really helped get me up to speed on this gorgeous airplane. Partly from what I saw, and partly from the journey searching for more info that it put me on.

 Ron Buccarelli raced the airplane at Reno from 2002 thru 2007, tho I don't see any record that it was raced in 2005. The green-wing P-51 never got tuned to be killer fast, but it had some features that make it very special. The biggest of them being that it was powered by the Rolls Royce Griffon engine. The Griffon was the last of the big V-12 engines from Rolls Royce, and it incorporated a lot of design improvements over the very popular Merlin. It was only slightly larger than the Merlin but it had 36% more displacement: 2,240 cubic inches. The engine was produced in many different variants with a range of horsepower from 1,730 hp to 2,420 hp. The last versions used in WWII aircraft were equipped with contra-rotating props that eliminated the torque experienced on take-off. This was especially important because the engine rotated opposite of the Merlin's rotation leading to difficulties for some pilots.

 So, Precious Metal was also equipped with the contra-rotating propellers. The engine prop combo made for some great sounds and sights! This video does a great job of sharing both with you. And thankfully, the video maker didn't put any music in there to mess up the beautiful airplane 'noises' : )

 Precious Metal still seems to be owned by Buccarelli, but I couldn't find any specifics on the current status of the airplane. Regardless, seeing her at Reno 2006 in the video is a really big treat. You might also want to check out this mustangsmustangs.net page on Precious Metal, it has more info and a boatload of great pix of the green winged, Griffon powered P-51!

 And, Reno 2010 is September 15-19... get there if you can!

 

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