Griffin-powered Mustangs (RaceplaneTech S.) Paperback – 1 Nov 2000
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First of a series that takes a look at aircraft designed and modified to race under one of the world's most demanding formats, the Reno Air Races - truly rich man's toys. It looks at Griffon-powered Mustangs, with the evolution of various models, engine development, and unlimited racing results.
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Quite a succession of modified warbirds have graced the Reno air racing circuit over the years. Perhaps the most extensively modified airframes have been the various Griffon powered P-51 Mustangs built for racing.
At this stage more than a few warbird enthusiasts are probably scratching their heads and thinking that only the Merlin and Allison engines have been seen in a P-51 airframe. Not so, however. Griffon engines stayed in continuous RAF service much later than the Merlin- the last Griffon engined Avro Shackeltons only retiring a few years ago- and this has lead to a windfall of spares and technical support for Rolls Royce’s awesome creation.
Griffon Powered Mustangs gives us an interesting insight into the Red Baron, the World Jet (now better known under the name Precious Metal), and the most developed airframe of them all, Miss Ashley II.
The first two aircraft where essentially modifications of existing P-51 airframes (I state this with some reservations, as that understates the huge amount of work involved with the conversion). The awesome Miss Ashley II, however, was something new entirely.
Miss Ashley II had a scratch built fuselage constructed along P-51 lines, and a P-51H style large tail. The sweptback wings and tailplane, however, originated on a Learjet! The whole aircraft was thus pretty new. The powerplant was a surplus Shackelton Griffon, complete with contra-rotating propellers. The aircraft debuted at Reno in 1997, to much adoring attention.
Sadly, Miss Ashley II was lost in a fatal accident a couple of years later. Hopefully we will see something like it again one day.
Grantham & Veroninco’s 100 page book has a chapter each on the Griffon P-51s, plus some technical information on the Griffon engine. I normally find engine descriptions to be the sort of dry stuff that sends me to sleep, but the engine chapter is written in a way that will still appeal to the layman who can’t change a spark plug. Other parts of the book plainly explain the workings of mysterious devices like NACA ducts, and why the Red Baron had huge stability problems in its early development (the revelation as to why that was so is pretty funny).
A nice feature within are a series of technical drawings that explain the various racers development through several years. My only regret is that this book doesn’t have more colour in it; I like to see brightly coloured air racers in large size pictures. But then plenty of websites carry that.
This is a good read and will make a nice addition to any warbird obsessive’s bookshelf.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A lot of nice pictures and technical explanation.