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  • #46
    Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

    'Turtledeck SHUFFLE'.................

    There've been a few instances where Unlimited race plane owners have added a turtledeck/racing canopy, or ultra-low profile sliding bubble canopy mod to their aircraft, only to retro-fit back to their original canopy (or another version) to regain some better visibility, when drag reduction & sufficient increase in top airspeed wasn't realized. Bob Button's P-51D #5 Voodoo is a case example, and another T-deck swap is planned along w/other significant future airframe/system mods for this Mustang. From the round-engined contingent of the Unlimiteds- Super Sea Fury #15 FURIAS comes to mind, regarding T-deck mod trial & error adapation. However, most often, we see airframe racing mods stay with the plane during its' racing career.

    Here's a brief photo comparison review of one particular T-Deck modded P-51 from our racing roster, that's really done a- 'turtledeck shuffle': N79111.

    Arguably, over the course of Air Racing motorsport history, no other air racer evokes more alluring mystique than this extant P-51 Unlimited. Her story is the stuff of air racing legend - harking back even to the Post-WW2 Thompson Trophy days at Cleveland, racing as #77 Galloping Ghost - a reputation contested by aero historians in recent years. N79111's contemporary racing heritage remains undisputed. As #69 Miss Candace/Jeannie, #X/#44/#9 - Specter/Leeward Air Ranch Special, her 1980-81 National Championship Air Races back-to-back titles bless a long & hard-fought competitive career. She's endured more than any P-51's share of maydays & blown engines, runaway props, hard & gear-up forced landings in the hot barren desert & cob-filled cornfields at sundown. Her amazing 1980 4-day resurrection into a last-minute champ stands as one of air racing's all-time Cinderella stories.

    Off the circuit since 1989 - this old warhorse Mustang was living retired on a real- 'Air Ranch'! (How cool is that?!). To her devoted fans - she's like the fabled genie patiently awaiting the right rub from her owner for release from her magic lamp- to once again run wild & free back on the racecourse. This- 'Specter' will return as The Galloping Ghost again, according to reports, much to everyone's delight & a dream come true for some - This time around with yet a different turtledeck/racing canopy- from #6 Sumthin' Else, and scoopless, w/boil-off radiator system installed. Yee-Haw!!! DBD

    Photos (L-R) top row:

    1. Sun. 9/16/79 - "Gentlemen - START YOUR ENGINES!"...Start-ups for taxi-out to commence the Reno '79 Unlimited Gold final race. Good comparison of ultra-low profile racing canopy/turtledeck on Wiley Sanders' #69 Jeannie, being raced by Mac McClain, with standard D-model bubble canopy on Max Hoffman's #49 Boomer II (N335J - E. D. Weiner's old pylon racer) w/Bill Harrison in the cockpit. Miss Candace/Jeannie sported the lowest-profile racing canopy/T-deck ever fitted onto a P-51.

    2. Mon. 9/12/83 - 3/4 rear view angle of N79111 as Jimmy Leeward's Race #X (Officially entered as - Roman numeral - '10') - 'SPECTER', fitted w/a different canopy & turtledeck, and wearing bold new racing colors.

    3. Thur. 9/15/83 - Direct profile view of SPECTER. Reno '83 was a tough first year running for new owner Jimmy Leeward. A timer's error negated Race X's first qualifying run, & the motor got lunched during a second attempt. After a Mike Nixon engine swap - Jimmy raced Specter illegally as a 'phantom entry' (in lieu of his #9 Cloud Dancer) in Sat. Bronze Heat #2 & Sun. Bronze final.

    4. Thur. 9/6/84 - Jimmy Leeward arrives w/N79111 at Reno '84 - seen taxiing in at the E. end of the Stead ramp, and the P-51 totally naked of any paint or markings & the 'Specter'-style T-Deck and canopy shape is easy to see. Entered as #44 Leeward Air Ranch Special, Jimmy experienced a harrowing experience during the start of his qualifying run on Tues. 9/11 : Coming onto the course from the chute & doing about 410-mph - his turtledeck fairing ripped-off & severely damaged the racer's vert. stablizer. Then during his emergency landing, the canopy departed also, & Leeward had only his windscreen for protection from the fierce slipstream . Undaunted, Jimmy had a new tail piece flown-in & the original canopy/T-Deck from Miss Candace/Jeannie was used in replacement. The next day, #44 was successfully qualified in 6th place @ 425.543-mph, w/the top-ten qualifiers all in excess of 400-mph.

    5. Sun. 9/16/84 - Sunset marks the end of Reno '84 competition, and #44 LARS rests in her pit area after another tough year for the racer and her owner/pilot & crew. Her first two Gold Heats were DNFs (Out Lap-3 on Fri. w/broken throttle linkage & Out Lap-5 w/bad mag on Sat.). Leeward perservered & finished #44 in 5th-place in the Gold at 407.406-mph. Good photo angle showing the small t-deck and extreme Zeuschel wing clip of N79111.

    6-b. Mon. 9/11/89 - Given an overall yellow w/red trim paint scheme for Reno '85, Leeward entered N79111 as Race #9 - LARS, and he retained these racing colors for Reno '86 - '88 & '89 events. Each of these years, his Super Mustang qualified strong, but failed to hold up during the stress of the heat races and finals due to mechanical performance issues. On her last outing at Reno '89, N79111 failed to finish a single race, and went into retirement. Jimmy Leeward did as well for a spell, before returning w/his P-51 Cloud Dancer at Phoenix 500 in '95, to rejoin the ranks of the top Unlimited Class pilots still racing today, as one of the most seasoned & skilled veteran competitors. Best Wishes for GOOD LUCK & Fast Flyin' to Jimmy Leeward & Crew & THE GALLOPING GHOST!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by BuckyD; 03-22-2008, 07:15 PM.

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    • #47
      Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

      DBD,
      Thanks again for all these history lessons. Soaking this up.

      EB
      Cheers

      Comment


      • #48
        Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

        Originally posted by BuckyD
        Hi Peashooter - Your 'Peashooter' model is pretty cool. You guys got me diggin' through my old stacks of modeling mags...etc.,...
        DBD
        Hi Bucky: Sorry, I've been shoveling snow for the last couple of days! My model was (is) based on a 1/24th scale kit. I'm pretty sure it was a Revell, but I can't swear to it. I originally built it as a stock -D about 1972, painted in a black civie scheme, much like the long-time Canadian mount of (help, geeks! CF-FUZ?). Later, it went all yellow around the original white fuse to tail stripe with a black shadow around it.

        I was not taking any modeling mags then, other than all the R/C mags we got and Flying, Sport Aivation and Air Progress. So, the canopy mod occured to me after seeing pics of Roto Finish Special and Race #14. That's when I clipped the wings (band saw!), raised the tail and used trimmings from the clipped wing sections to make wing root fairings aft of the wing. And, of course the canopy. I had to trim the glare shield and also had to fill between the original canopy rail and the front of the sliding bubble. I used a balsa block to close out the rear. All of this was then painted overall black around the candy-apple red trim treatment. I wanted to do the spinner in a white pearl, but didn't consider my test transitions adequate to feature all those color transitions at that scale from the store-bought spray cans. Anyway, that's the story. I still imagine strapping in and getting a stack fire! Ack!

        Also, thanks for the AMAZING gallery of pictures complete with history. Tailwinds, Peas
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Peashooter; 03-10-2008, 07:06 PM.
        Rutan Long EZ, N-LONG
        World Speed Record Holder

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        • #49
          Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

          'Turtledeck SHUFFLE'.................'BIG ROUNDY Style'

          Moving this thread towards conclusion - Here's a simple photo comparison review of the T-Deck/canopy evolution - this time on a round-engined Unlimited: Tom Dwelle's Super Sea Fury- Race #10 CRITICAL MASS (N85SF), raced by Tom & veteran pilot Skip Holm.

          First-off- A BIG standing ovation goes out to The Dwelle Family & Crew for not only their amazing dedication & resolve in fielding this magnificent Unlimited & turning her into a top Gold trophy contender, but also for being one of the most fan-friendly air racing teams EVER (& they still are, thankfully!).

          As an Unlimited Class air racer- Sea Fury N85SF underwent nearly-continual development & refinement in an effort to reliably run in the upper speed envelope as a winner, alongside Rare Bear, Strega & Dago Red - and for the most-part following its' Levolor debut- all without the benefits of any serious bigtime sponsorship funding! I think it's safe to say that MANY of us quite expected ('hoped') to eventually see this Unlimited in the winner's circle at some point in the future.

          Unfortunately, this promising racer, like many others, was dogged by a protracted & excessive teething phase during its' career, that included the usual big pile of failed engines & components, prop dings & even a forced gear-up landing upon her arrival to compete at Reno '90. Nonetheless, this big red bird racer thrilled alot of air racing fans during her days & will be fondly-remembered Unlimited Class icon for a long time to come. DBD

          Photos (L-R) top row:

          1. Sun. 9/13/87 - Hopeful rookie race pilot- Joann Osterud arrives w/Levolor-sponsored- Race #88 - BLIND MAN'S BLUFF (NX85SF). Direct profile view shows the radically-modified Sea Fury's turtledeck & v. low-profile sliding custom racing canopy to good vantage. Sporting the original clipped-wings from the Carroll/Cooper- #87 Sea Fury racer (N878M), clipped horiz. stab. & extended vert. tail, aft-located cockpit, A-26 cowling, optional methanol or avgas R-3350 powerplants, & other bells 'n whistle mods, plus a bold- 'Mystery Ship'-style paint job, - this new Unlimited instantly-captured most everyone's attention at the time of her advent.

          2. Wed. 9/15/93 - N85SF rests in her pit stall at Reno - resplendant in her new personna as Race #10 - CRITICAL MASS & tended-to by her new charges- The Dwelle Air Racing Team of T-6/SNJ Class fame. Following rebuild & refitting, after her gear-up landing - aside from her classy & sassy new racing color scheme, the airframe appears unchanged for the most part. Bright sun highlights accent the T-deck & closed canopy lines well.

          3. Thur. 9/12/96 - Morning sun on the Reno Stead ramp sidelights Race #10- showing-off her refined racing canopy/turtledeck mod. The archaic-style framed windscreen & canopy has been swapped for a more modern & less-confining bubble-style sliding unit.

          4. Sat. 9/8/01 - High-vantage quartering view of CRITICAL MASS, w/new-style canopy in the open position this time. Race #10 appears- 'every-inch-a-racer', and- rarin'-to-GO!

          5. Thur. 9/11/01 - Good ground-to-air pylon shot shows Race #10's racing canopy/turtledeck fairing design lines well, w/good pilot visibility. (Unltd. Heat 1-A, Lap-5 at Outer 4 Pylon - Finished 1st-place @ 438.840-av/mph for the 6-lap event)

          6-b. Mon. 9/18/00 - Kodachrome ASA-25 profile shot of Race #10 ready to depart Stead Field for home base, w/sliding canopy open. Compare this profile w/the same R/H profile view of the aircraft as Race #88 BLIND MAN'S BLUFF directly above, and just the comparative differences in exterior airframe refinement seem to portray completely different eras of air racing history- 'vintage' vs. modern!
          Attached Files
          Last edited by BuckyD; 03-11-2008, 12:19 AM.

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          • #50
            Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

            Originally posted by BKB
            What about Tsunami? Purpose built racer with the Turtledeck.Maybe not included because .................................?????

            Just asking.

            Great photos and as always great posts by folks.


            Thanks,

            Brian
            Hi Brian - Thanks for your kind kudos of appreciation, and sorry for being late in responding to your question.

            The direct answer obviously resides in this thread topic title - w/our primary focus directed towards T-Deck'd P-51 Air Racers in particular. However, your question provided the inspiration for a fitting photo wrap-up to put this thread to bed: a quick scan of other types of Unlimiteds which also incorporate racing canopies w/turtledeck.

            We led into this w/the last photo mini-gallery post on Super Sea Fury - Race #10 CRITICAL MASS, and here are the rest to close the curtain, beginning w/TSUNAMI!

            My sincere thanks to everyone for your viewing & posting participation here. (Though intended merely for general ref., I hope the thread might have possibly provided some helpful info for detail-minded air race fans, scale modelers, etc.) Don 'Bucky' Dawson

            Photos (L-R) top:

            1. Fri. 9/11/87- L/H-profile of John Sandberg's custom Unlimited- Race #18 TSUNAMI (NX39JR) after sundown. Bruce Boland's beautiful design work shows obvious P-51 racer airframe inspirations, including scaled-down wing planform, short turtledeck, low-profile bubble canopy & RB-51-style vert. stabilizer.

            2. Sat. 9/19/92- Pilot Rick Brickert test-runs the motors on the custom Unlimited - Race #21 POND RACER (N221BP) at sunset. The Rutan-designed experimental racing aircraft's design includes a turtledeck w/jettison-type canopy.

            3. Sat. 9/12/87- L/H-profile Lloyd Hamilton's big P&W R-4360-powered Hawker Super Sea Fury - Race #15 FURIAS, w/long turtledeck installation (another racer that underwent a T-Deck 'shuffle', before reverting-back to a more functional bubble-canopy configuration).

            4. Sun. 9/16/07- Reno '07 GOLD: Mike Brown's beautifully-prepared Super Sea Fury - Race #232 SEPTEMBER FURY (N232MB) turning Outer 4 Pylon chasing Rare Bear on Lap 8. The racer's low-profile racing canopy & mini-turtledeck fairing adds considerable airframe streamlining - reducing frontal drag & increasing top airspeed significantly.

            5. Mon. 9/18/00- L/H-profile of John Moore's P&W R-2800-powered Super Yak - Race #86 CZECH MATE (N5943). Bright sun highlights the expertly-designed racing canopy mod & turtledeck fairing assy. This Unlimited really has a 1930s-era retro look, especially w/it's original tail on, seen here.)

            Photos (L-R) bottom:

            1. Sun. 9/13/87- Steve Hinton taxis-in #18 TSUNAMI, displaying an opened 'Red Baron-style' sliding canopy design.

            2. Sun. 9/11/88- Skip Holm arrives at Reno w/Joe Kasperoff's mind-boggling Wright R-3350-powered Super-duper Yak- Race #97 MR. AWESOME, showing the racer's sliding-style racing canopy. Note: the canopy frame also constitutes a considerable portion of the airframe's turtledeck.

            3. Mon. 9/15/97- Pilot/owner- Lloyd Hamilton in the cockpit of his corncob Sea Fury - #15 FURIAS. When configured w/the turtledeck installed, Lloyd's racer featured a more archaic- 'throw-over'-style, side-hinged canopy design, (similar to that used on the Messerschmidt Bf-109 during WW2), seen here in the open position.

            4. Fri. 9/8/06- Mike Brown taxis-in on arrival at Stead w/#232 SEPTEMBER FURY. This R/H-profile shows the elegantly-designed sliding-style canopy to good vantage.

            5. Sun. 9/8/02- Sherm Smoot taxis-out for takeoff in S-Yak #86 CZECH MATE (w/it's newer modified tail), showing the sliding-style canopy in its' open position.

            So, whether you're simply looking at photos or walking the ramp at Reno's Stead Field during race week in September, it's easy to note that racing canopies/turtledecks, & many speed mod innovations are adapted for most types of high-mod Unlimited air racers AND on many race aircraft from other racing classes too (except mod-restricted stock classes). DBD
            Attached Files
            Last edited by BuckyD; 03-16-2008, 11:04 AM.

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            • #51
              Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

              DBD,
              You have a lot of info and history about all these racers... I hope you put it all in a book someday. Thanks again for sharing all this history.

              EB
              Cheers

              Comment


              • #52
                Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

                I agree with Ebutner, you should write a book, a CD or DVD, like a vade-mecum, with history, race result and mods of each unlimited along the years.
                Jim Larsen made one until 1970, dont know if another later.
                Thank you a lot DBD.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

                  Lon Moer kindly directed me to this thread when I was asking about the Jeannie clones and I figured it should be "bumped" because of the wealth of information and photographs contained therein.

                  Thank you Bucky!!
                  Zac in NZ

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

                    I think you posting in it bumps it up but because of its value and Bucky's, I stuck it...
                    Wayne Sagar
                    "Pusher of Electrons"

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

                      This is just one of the AAFO threads I have directly bookmarked for reference, a lot them Bucky D threads.
                      remember the Oogahonk!

                      old school enthusiast of Civiltary Warbirds and Air Racers

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                      • #56
                        Re: TURTLEDECK'D P-51 AIR RACERS

                        Originally posted by AAFO_WSagar View Post
                        I think you posting in it bumps it up but because of its value and Bucky's, I stuck it...
                        I was glad to see that, thanks Wayne.
                        Zac in NZ

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