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NEWS BULLETIN -- Precious Metal To Undergo Engine Change

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  • NEWS BULLETIN -- Precious Metal To Undergo Engine Change

    The news from Reno-Stead tonight is not good. Three of the aircraft we covered after R2K -- Critical Mass, Strega, and Czech Mate -- are back in their respective hangars awaiting repair...

    Critical Mass requires airframe repairs, engine overhaul, and propeller replacement.

    Strega and Czech Mate are sharing the same hangar as two years ago, both with engine problems again.

    Miss America, who made a crash landing in the sagebrush after blowing the engine, is almost unrecognizable. Her wings have been removed, along with vertical and horizontal features, plus her damaged Gold race engine. Imagine a P-51 Mustang airframe with only the canopy recognizable as belonging to a P-51. The hope is that Brent Hisey will be able to restore the aircraft back into flying condition, and perhaps racing condition as well.

    Until then, Miss America sits in front of the Aviation Classics hangar at Reno-Stead, awaiting transport home.

    But that's not's the latest news from Reno-Stead on this, the day after the 2002 National Championship Air Races have ended:

    Now, all four aircraft are joined by a fifth -- Precious Metal. The hybrid P-51, which is in the center of a controversial decision that may have cost the aircraft a win in the Silver Race, began making metal in her engine this morning, including large chunks and assorted parts, including cotter pins. The engine appears to have a "spun or burnt bearing" as the probable cause.

    The aircraft has been moved from the Flight Line to the RARA hangar for engine change, which will begin tomorrow. Despite the setback, and the angst that comes with installing the other race engine -- which was last overhauled eight years ago, but has been inspected inside and out ot the crew's satisfaction -- the crew was elated by how long and well the original engine has survived, basically operating from a week before Pylon Racing Seminar 2001, to this morning, over a year and three months.

    The crew is attempting to reschedule their return to Florida and their jobs, since everything they need is present at Reno-Stead, and all they need is three days to install, with the remaining four days given to breaking in the engine and flight test.

    Ron Buccarelli, pilot of Precious Metal, Race 38, indicates that they should accomplish the engine change in a timely manner, and if all goes well, they expect no cancellation of their schedule appearance at Aviation Nation 2002 at Nellis AFB, near Las Vegas, Nevada, where an Unlimited Class demonstration race has been scheduled in addition to the Air Show itself, which is expected to gather as many as 400,000 people between October 5th and 6th, 2002.

    In this image, we see the Precious Metal crew at work on the problem affecting their Rolls Royce Griffon Mk. 57 motor:
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Precious Metal Due For Engine Change

    The Rolls Royce Griffon Mk 57 powerplant of Precious Metal was emitting smoke from two points on the exhaust stacks. A quick inspection revealed that the two exhaust stacks and the aircraft motor's Spark Plugs were wet. Some followup work was conducted and adjustments made, before the engine was run once again:
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Precious Metal's Upcoming Engine Change

      The Precious Metal Air Racing crew consults on possible problems...the worst was yet to come:
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Precious Metal -- Preparing For An Engine Change...

        The moment of truth...Precious Metal runs her engine, but the events that followed weren't expected by the crew of this Racing Griffon:
        Attached Files