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Thread: Before it was Rare Bear

  1. #201

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by knot4u View Post
    BCIV complains that no one's interested in this thread and then he doesn't post? I still want to hear the story about Lyle letting it all hang out. That's a story I've never been privy to. Such a tease.
    Lief,
    I am sorry, I was busy with family from Christmas to the New Year.

    Back to business.
    John Slack

  2. #202

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer 18 View Post
    I recall seeing an engine sitting outside at AC Cylinder. Don't know if this was the engine first used? John may know. Cliff was the crew chief and had lots of R-3350/DC 7 experience. George from Los Alamitos NAS was I believe a P2V mechanic as well.

    We had to make almost everything fwf since it was a one off new installation. Lyle had acquired a stock new Bearcat QEC less engine that was parts were used if applicable. All the major work was done in Hangar F 8 at Compton. The initial engine runs, etc. accomplished at Compton. Then it was towed to LGB (airport mgr wouldn't approve flight due to Mike Carol P-39 crash) and ultimately SNA (engine runs to get the DC-7 prop to cycle) for first flight to Chino about a week before Reno 1969.

    Randy Difani (T6 Race 18 ret.)
    Randy has remembered a lot of the details. The first engine had been removed by the Navy and was in a surplus yard in or near San Ysidro. It was part of a group of engines and parts that George Byard had bought in a bid. I believe that I remember hearing that engine was a R-3350-26WC. George felt that with proper inspection and some ground runs it would make a great candidate for the first Bearcat engine.

    As Randy said the QEC parts in the background of the picture are part of the brand new QEC assembly that Lyle bought from Palley's Surplus. One of the things in the picture is an AD Skyraider engine mount, I believe that the engine showed up attached to that mount.

    Lyle had bought a Skyraider exhaust system as well and it used to be in the hangar for years in a large square box. I don't think any of that stuff fit anything with the Bearcat cowling installed. So Cliff Putnam started making an exhaust out of the Turbo-Comoound exhaust parts that were in big crates at Aircraft Cylinder and Turbine. It's possible that the engine Randy saw at AC&T was the same engine. I don't remember if Lyle went to San Ysidro or AC&T to pick the engine up.

    At this point in the life of the Wright/Bearcat program the engine was stock. Originally they were try to use the Skyraider ADI system for the racer. This would be used/tuned/used for several years until the Greg Shaw system was built up. Greg had become good friends with Pete Law and Pete advised Greg, and later on Greg/Dave Cornell with different systems until the tunable system that was built in the late eighties. When Dave Cornell left the team in late 1988 he took that system with him.

    At this point I can quickly respond to the cowling discussion. The airplane as shown in the first flight picture had stock F8F-2 cowling with a DC-7 spinner and an afterbody that I am not sure what it came from . The lower -2 cowling had a reverse shaped scoop that relieved any pressure that could have contributed to an effective pressure cowl. At speed the cowling would slightly balloon, as a result of too much air going in and not enough airflow managed properly reduce drag and cool the engine. Eventually Bill Prewitt in the post Reno '87 timeframe started with a clean piece of paper approach to using a DC-7 cowling with a new intermediate cowl section. This unit had an exhaust shield section that was fabricated from pieces of a S-2 tracker cowl acquired by AC&T.
    John Slack

  3. #203

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Mr. Slack, if you can divulge additional info, was the NO2 also injected into the eye of the supercharger as with the ADI? Did ADI flow have to be reduced with NO2 application?

    I'm also curious about the aforementioned T-33 brake modification.

    Thanks, really interesting stuff to this gearhead.

  4. #204

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by cragdweller View Post
    Mr. Slack, if you can divulge additional info, was the NO2 also injected into the eye of the supercharger as with the ADI? Did ADI flow have to be reduced with NO2 application?

    I'm also curious about the aforementioned T-33 brake modification.

    Thanks, really interesting stuff to this gearhead.
    I'll reply to this with my limited knowledge. The nitrous was always stored as a liquid on board the airplane, that's why people would've occasionally seen a tin bath tub full of nitrous bottles and ice/dry ice/moving blankets in the pit. We'd cool the bottles to the point that the gas became a liquid and then turn the bottles upside down on special little stands and used a compressed gas air powered pump to fill the tanks in the hellhole. "Kachunk-Kachunk-Kachunk", sometimes the nitrous would start to warm up again and vent out of a little hole in the side of the fuselage. The whole thing made for great theater, but it was also very real. The nozzles for the nitrous were mounted in the wing root carb intakes, this accomplished a couple of things. First and foremost as it exited the nozzles as a liquid it would change to a gas drastically cooling the intake air and then of course it would act as an oxidizer for the fuel air mixture. I seem to remember the lever for the nitrous (there was never a button) was tied into the fuel system (pressure carb). If memory serves the ADI was based on manifold pressure exclusively. I worked with Greg on both systems but I suspect he probably kept a few cards up his sleeve. We would sometimes test the duration of the nitrous in the hangar. I would get the nod to jump in the cockpit and toss the lever, then I'd just have to sit there for a while in a big noisy fog bank until it petered out and then try to get out and not fall off of the airplane. Good times. As far as the T-33 brakes, that was John's solution to a couple of problems. The stock Bearcat wheels and brakes weren't ever up to the task and parts were becoming hard to find. John made the pieces to modify the airplane to use T-33 wheels and brakes. It was a huge improvement. Hopefully he'll tell us about it.
    Last edited by knot4u; 01-05-2022 at 12:28 AM.

  5. #205
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
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    69

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by knot4u View Post
    I'll reply to this with my limited knowledge. The nitrous was always stored as a liquid on board the airplane, that's why people would've occasionally seen a tin bath tub full of nitrous bottles and ice/dry ice/moving blankets in the pit. We'd cool the bottles to the point that the gas became a liquid and then turn the bottles upside down on special little stands and used a compressed gas air powered pump to fill the tanks in the hellhole. "Kachunk-Kachunk-Kachunk", sometimes the nitrous would start to warm up again and vent out of a little hole in the side of the fuselage. The whole thing made for great theater, but it was also very real. The nozzles for the nitrous were mounted in the wing root carb intakes, this accomplished a couple of things. First and foremost as it exited the nozzles as a liquid it would change to a gas drastically cooling the intake air and then of course it would act as an oxidizer for the fuel air mixture. I seem to remember the lever for the nitrous (there was never a button) was tied into the fuel system (pressure carb). If memory serves the ADI was based on manifold pressure exclusively. I worked with Greg on both systems but I suspect he probably kept a few cards up his sleeve. We would sometimes test the duration of the nitrous in the hangar. I would get the nod to jump in the cockpit and toss the lever, then I'd just have to sit there for a while in a big noisy fog bank until it petered out and then try to get out and not fall off of the airplane. Good times. As far as the T-33 brakes, that was Johns solution to a couple of problems. The stock Bearcat wheels and brakes weren't ever up to the task and parts were becoming hard to find. John made the pieces to modify the airplane to use T-33 wheels and brakes. It was a huge improvement. Hopefully he'll tell us about it.
    Another great and informative thread. How often was the NOS used in actual racing?

  6. #206

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by rforslund View Post
    Another great and informative thread. How often was the NOS used in actual racing?
    I honestly don't know. Even if you were a trusted member of the the crew some things were still held pretty close to the vest. I was never part of the inner, inner circle. I just bounced around the edges. I do know that the airplane carried enough nitrous, fuel, ADI and spraybar water to run an entire Gold race from "Gentlemen, You have a race" to the checkered flag with it all on if it needed to and still have enough left to cool down and land safely.
    Last edited by knot4u; 01-04-2022 at 09:52 PM.

  7. #207

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Nitrous Oxide, nobody, but nobody used the gas like we did. We had started using Nitrous back in 1971 or 1972. We couldn't make enough manifold pressure to blow the engine up. We had Ron Hammel of 10,000 RPM build the first system which was really only a 150 horsepower system with two sets of for/aft stainless steel bars going through the plate underneath the carburetor. We used that system for a few years, it would get us a half lap maybe three quarter and then all the liquid nitrous oxide was gone and that was that. We added three more bottles for a total of six. That got us a lap and a half. All of those bottles had to be removed and taken to an outside source to fill.

    Next Marvin Miller was brought in to build a system, Miller told us that the system that Ron Hammel had built was not doing the right delivery Miller's system had four long tubes that went directly down and shot the gas and fuel directly into the front of the impellers in the supercharger, the eye so to speak as to the original question. After a bunch of money was spent on the Marvin Miller system, it worked the same as the Ron Hammel system. Not being impressed Greg Shaw who at this time was a just out of high school kid that thanks to street racing and the incredible desire to experiment with anything....Greg tried injecting Hydrazine into an engine once. LOL. Different story for a different day.

    Greg started talking to Lyle and the team about Nitrous Oxide, but Greg was not a "Big Name" in the Nitrous Oxide business so the details didn't make it past the restaurant table. Time went along, Greg kept learning, the Bearcat ended up on it's belly and parked in a hangar at Mojave. Eventually the Bearcat ended up sneaking across the Kern County line on Silver Queen Rd. Finishing the trip to Van Nuys airport in the middle of the night.

    Bill Noctor and Chris Wood approached Lyle and soon a new team was being built in Van Nuys. One day Dave Cornell walked into the hangar and said the fateful words, "I have a machine shop is there anything I can do to help?" Life changing moment for all of us. Soon we were all spending more time on the Bearcat, discussing plans, we had, dreams we had, ideas we had. Greg finally had someone that listened when he talked about Nitrous Oxide. A quick ride up Balboa Blvd. in my Nitrous Oxide equipped Chevelle on the way to lunch at Lulu's. Greg and Dave became the ultimate Nitrous Oxide obsessed pair in the world. They had a plan to build things that would put the world on its ear. I weasled my way in and the three of us did a lot of work on Nitrous Oxide systems, just for the Bearcat at this point. The big secret became (a) how to carry enough? (b) how to keep it liquid. At this point we were still using electric solenoids, once we had more capacity and could keep it liquid we had the nightmare of finding out that if you got an electric solenoid cold enough it wouldn't close. So the fuel shuts off and the nitrous still flowed.

    Dave made a mechanically connected pair of valves that when one was opened so was the other, when one was closed so was the other. Problem solved. Ultimately there was a valve on the gasoline side that allowed fuel flow adjustment.

    At this point Dave and Greg had determined that by placing the nitrous oxide nozzles in the inlets of the wings they could help the transition of the air going into the ducts. Supercharger efficiency was increased. Thanks to a chance meeting with the one time second in command to Kurt Tank by the three of us we learned the secret to keeping Nitrous Oxide liquid for as long as we wanted. We tested the 450 horsepower system for a 15 minute flight, and once we discovered it was throttleable we tested the 450 horsepower system for 30 minutes. Rare Bear had a nitrous oxide system that was light years ahead of everything else anybody else had or ever would have.

    We could change the system to the 600 horsepower system for qualifying, do a quick fuel flow adjustment after take off. Land open the bottles, take off again and qualify. We could change to the 450/300 horsepower nozzles, since we were starting on the rich side dial down the fuel flow during the form up at part throttle and be ready to race.

    Actual race usage, surprisingly not that much for a system that had so much research time. But when we used it the effect was outstanding.

    Lyle got passed by "The Tige' in the Witch" during the Gold race in 1989 because of poor split time calling by the new Crew Chief Gordon Symon. Carl Schutte corrected the poor information telling Lyle he'd been passed. In less than the distance of two pylons on the hill the Bearcat took back the lead. Dwight Thorn spoke of this to me over a bottle of Cab Sav years later.

    Yeah, it worked great. I don't know how much Dave Cornell shared with Pete Law. I know as Lief said that we didn't talk about the Nitrous Oxide system with those that didn't need to know the details.
    John Slack

  8. #208

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by BellCobraIV View Post
    Nitrous Oxide, nobody, but nobody used the gas like we did. We had started using Nitrous back in 1971 or 1972. We couldn't make enough manifold pressure to blow the engine up. We had Ron Hammel of 10,000 RPM build the first system which was really only a 150 horsepower system with two sets of for/aft stainless steel bars going through the plate underneath the carburetor. We used that system for a few years, it would get us a half lap maybe three quarter and then all the liquid nitrous oxide was gone and that was that. We added three more bottles for a total of six. That got us a lap and a half. All of those bottles had to be removed and taken to an outside source to fill.

    Next Marvin Miller was brought in to build a system, Miller told us that the system that Ron Hammel had built was not doing the right delivery Miller's system had four long tubes that went directly down and shot the gas and fuel directly into the front of the impellers in the supercharger, the eye so to speak as to the original question. After a bunch of money was spent on the Marvin Miller system, it worked the same as the Ron Hammel system. Not being impressed Greg Shaw who at this time was a just out of high school kid that thanks to street racing and the incredible desire to experiment with anything....Greg tried injecting Hydrazine into an engine once. LOL. Different story for a different day.

    Greg started talking to Lyle and the team about Nitrous Oxide, but Greg was not a "Big Name" in the Nitrous Oxide business so the details didn't make it past the restaurant table. Time went along, Greg kept learning, the Bearcat ended up on it's belly and parked in a hangar at Mojave. Eventually the Bearcat ended up sneaking across the Kern County line on Silver Queen Rd. Finishing the trip to Van Nuys airport in the middle of the night.

    Bill Noctor and Chris Wood approached Lyle and soon a new team was being built in Van Nuys. One day Dave Cornell walked into the hangar and said the fateful words, "I have a machine shop is there anything I can do to help?" Life changing moment for all of us. Soon we were all spending more time on the Bearcat, discussing plans, we had, dreams we had, ideas we had. Greg finally had someone that listened when he talked about Nitrous Oxide. A quick ride up Balboa Blvd. in my Nitrous Oxide equipped Chevelle on the way to lunch at Lulu's. Greg and Dave became the ultimate Nitrous Oxide obsessed pair in the world. They had a plan to build things that would put the world on its ear. I weasled my way in and the three of us did a lot of work on Nitrous Oxide systems, just for the Bearcat at this point. The big secret became (a) how to carry enough? (b) how to keep it liquid. At this point we were still using electric solenoids, once we had more capacity and could keep it liquid we had the nightmare of finding out that if you got an electric solenoid cold enough it wouldn't close. So the fuel shuts off and the nitrous still flowed.

    Dave made a mechanically connected pair of valves that when one was opened so was the other, when one was closed so was the other. Problem solved. Ultimately there was a valve on the gasoline side that allowed fuel flow adjustment.

    At this point Dave and Greg had determined that by placing the nitrous oxide nozzles in the inlets of the wings they could help the transition of the air going into the ducts. Supercharger efficiency was increased. Thanks to a chance meeting with the one time second in command to Kurt Tank by the three of us we learned the secret to keeping Nitrous Oxide liquid for as long as we wanted. We tested the 450 horsepower system for a 15 minute flight, and once we discovered it was throttleable we tested the 450 horsepower system for 30 minutes. Rare Bear had a nitrous oxide system that was light years ahead of everything else anybody else had or ever would have.

    We could change the system to the 600 horsepower system for qualifying, do a quick fuel flow adjustment after take off. Land open the bottles, take off again and qualify. We could change to the 450/300 horsepower nozzles, since we were starting on the rich side dial down the fuel flow during the form up at part throttle and be ready to race.

    Actual race usage, surprisingly not that much for a system that had so much research time. But when we used it the effect was outstanding.

    Lyle got passed by "The Tige' in the Witch" during the Gold race in 1989 because of poor split time calling by the new Crew Chief Gordon Symon. Carl Schutte corrected the poor information telling Lyle he'd been passed. In less than the distance of two pylons on the hill the Bearcat took back the lead. Dwight Thorn spoke of this to me over a bottle of Cab Sav years later.

    Yeah, it worked great. I don't know how much Dave Cornell shared with Pete Law. I know as Lief said that we didn't talk about the Nitrous Oxide system with those that didn't need to know the details.
    Thanks John, I hope I didn't speak a bit too much. Now about those brakes...

  9. #209

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by knot4u View Post
    Thanks John, I hope I didn't speak a bit too much. Now about those brakes...

    Lief,
    I don't know what happens when I post things on this website. Sometimes I write a really beautiful answer and push the "SUBMIT REPLY" button and everything just locks up. As you may have noticed I tend to get long in my answers. I wrote a great detailed post on the website to Neal's thread above. Even though we have since covered the material, I wanted to fill in the gaps. I also think that it is important to name some of the unknown folks on the shop floor at AC&T. Lyle ALWAYS after a record or a win went to AC&T to personally congratulate all of the workers on the floor. They noticed it as well. When I was over there working with Mel on engines those guys would set parts off the shelf and say "No! That part is not good enough for the Bearcat. We want to win." Lyle really was great with all the folks that followed him. So I've been trying to remember the people that I knew.
    John Slack

  10. #210
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    848

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Heard about nitros for a long time. Nitros is an oxidizer right? Over leaning the engine bad news. How delicate is that balance? Push the button to long and a spike in cylinder head temp?
    This is a great thread. Thank you Mr.Slack.

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