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Thread: Before it was Rare Bear

  1. #211

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    NO2 adds additional oxygen to the combustion chambers increasing cylinder pressure and subsequent power. But additional oxygen requires additional gasoline to maintain the correct mixture, so when you introduce NO2 to any piston engine, you also need to introduce more gas. As more fuel/air is packed into the combustion chambers (whether by nitrous oxide or supercharger boost), the limiting factor becomes detonation.

    In the Bearcat, and in the German fighters that pioneered GM1 (as they called it), NO2 had the additional effect of cooling the air intake charge, in a similar way as ADI (water/methanol- again pioneered by the Germans). So I believe that as NO2 is introduced, ADI might need to be reduced, otherwise, some liquid would fall out of suspension and there would be water running down the intake runners. Not sure if that was ever an issue in Rare Bear but the WWII engine developers did run into that problem.

    Putting the NO2 spray bars in the Bear wing root intakes is really interesting. None of the WWII systems did it that way that I'm aware of. But on the Bear with the speeds it is capable of, air compression is already happening at those wing root intakes due to ram air effect? So introducing Nitrous there could help cool and condense the intake charge before it reaches the carb maybe?

    Meeting the assistant to Kurt Tank would have been a fascinating conversation. Focke Wulf was experimenting with Nitrous and water/methanol very early on, with the BMW radial and the Daimler and Jumo V12s. Very cool.

    Thanks to all for the fascinating descriptions.

  2. #212
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    8,625

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by BellCobraIV View Post
    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.
    Hey John, again, thankful to have you and crew back here! I too have had a huge response just basically disappear.. the messages have an auto save feature and sometimes, you can... I can't remember where or what to click but the option to restore saved content appears... I've not been totally successful at getting it to work for me though..

    I'd like to make a suggestion though, since I consider your input to this site absolutely priceless.. Maybe compile the message in microsoft notepad, then copy/cut paste into the message body and you've got a copy in the notepad document in case something goes.... *bink*.... you can recopy paste and all is well!

    The stuff you guys are putting out here are priceless to the history of the sport in a very detailed way that I do not think you get anywhere else.. maybe because we're not facebook and much more intimate here with far less visitors. Most of the folks who actually read these posts are interested in the content... not much reason to be here otherwise so coupled with the safeguards I've tried to put in place.. we don't have a lot of random spiteful type messages like elsewhere..

    Again, I'm SOOOO glad you're here! You know I loved your dad, I felt so very lucky to be a friend of a hero of mine.. I still have to pinch myself!!! Now that I'm friends and I feel pretty close to you John, I feel even luckier!

    I once was, "comically" accused of making this site aafo.rarebear.com well.. I'll accept that! That team accepted me on board as an equal, Lyle showed me respect that I would never have expected..

    To me, all of this is about remembering perhaps the best air race pilot EVER... Balls of STEEL, (hardened) and an absolutely uncanny lack of fear as we normal people feel it...

    I want to remember back then.. it makes me happy...

    Thanks!
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  3. #213
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    8,625

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Reever View Post
    This is a great thread. Thank you Mr.Slack.
    Ain't that the truth!
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  4. #214

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Yes, Wayne, I've been writing everything in Google Keep, cutting and pasting the last few posts.


    Cragdweller,
    I've talked with so many people who keep trying to make more horsepower with Nitrous Oxide by emulating "the max lean" power stage. I tell them that's stupid. Just add more nitrous oxide and the proper amount of gasoline enrichment fuel. Stay away from max lean that is how a cutting torch works.

    Yes meeting the #2 guy under Kurt Tank, who by the way had been a Lockheed employee since 1946 was an outstanding moment. The original conversation was regarding his information on MW50 (The German air ministry term for water injection.) This cat became so interested in the Bearcat that he brought his hand written notebook from the Focke Wulf FW190D/TA152 program with him to us. Dave and Greg were getting fantastic input from him on the MW50 system when I looked past what he was showing them and saw the notation GM1 on the next page. Dave and Greg were not familiar with the GM1 term at that point. I asked the man "what do you have there on GM1?" In his perfect little German American accent he looked over his shoulder with a sly look and asked me " you know the GM1?" I said "not as well as you do that's for sure!" Three hours later Dave, Greg and myself all knew more.....and we kept what we learned away from everyone else. It was a huge lesson in going faster.
    John Slack

  5. #215
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    1,977

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Was there ever any though given to using Methanol as the enrichment fuel for the Nitrous circuit?

  6. #216

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Race5 View Post
    Was there ever any though given to using Methanol as the enrichment fuel for the Nitrous circuit?

    As with everything else, yes there was a very short lived consideration given to Methanol as an enrichment fuel.

    On Rare Bear we had modified the blower housing that we were using which was a R-3350-42/93 model housing to accept the R-3350-32 fuel system. This was because the -42/93 was a fuel injected engine and the injection pumps would not fit with our engine mount. As a result of this a couple of modifications were made that allowed the fuel to be injected through the impeller. It would take more time and room to outline those modifications than I'm going to do for this answer. The end result was all of the fuel went through a hose after being externally metered through the inside of the supercharger section down to a modified passage that allowed the fuel to be injected through the impeller.

    Now we could have put a plate under the carburetor for the enrichment fuel and more hoses that would have to be fitted in the accessory section of the airframe. The accessory section already had ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound sack. In addition to that each hose introduced two points of potential leakage along with the potential of hose failure per inch. (Meaning a 12 inch hose has 24 less inches of potential failure than a 36 inch hose. Due to potential abrasion.)

    Now we didn't carry straight methanol in any capacity, so a tank would need to be created, a hose to the pump, an methanol pump, (another source of potential failure) a hose to the backside of the cockpit, a bulkhead fitting, a hose to the valve inside the cockpit, a hose from the valve in the cockpit to the backside of the firewall, a junction fitting to feed a set of hoses that would have to be attached to the plate underneath the carburetor. Twenty approximately new hoses to be inspected after each flight, an additional tank to service on the checklist, an additional tank location to inform the crash crew about on the emergency tour. (The Bearcat was already complicated enough with everything else she carried that the fire/crash crew had us meet them with our crew truck on the ramp in case of a Mayday to be onsite to advise the fire crew chief.)

    So with all of that in mind we didn't feel like any benefit +/- was lost in the complexity of the additional hazards.
    John Slack

  7. #217

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by BellCobraIV View Post
    Yes, Wayne, I've been writing everything in Google Keep, cutting and pasting the last few posts.


    Cragdweller,
    I've talked with so many people who keep trying to make more horsepower with Nitrous Oxide by emulating "the max lean" power stage. I tell them that's stupid. Just add more nitrous oxide and the proper amount of gasoline enrichment fuel. Stay away from max lean that is how a cutting torch works.

    Yes meeting the #2 guy under Kurt Tank, who by the way had been a Lockheed employee since 1946 was an outstanding moment. The original conversation was regarding his information on MW50 (The German air ministry term for water injection.) This cat became so interested in the Bearcat that he brought his hand written notebook from the Focke Wulf FW190D/TA152 program with him to us. Dave and Greg were getting fantastic input from him on the MW50 system when I looked past what he was showing them and saw the notation GM1 on the next page. Dave and Greg were not familiar with the GM1 term at that point. I asked the man "what do you have there on GM1?" In his perfect little German American accent he looked over his shoulder with a sly look and asked me " you know the GM1?" I said "not as well as you do that's for sure!" Three hours later Dave, Greg and myself all knew more.....and we kept what we learned away from everyone else. It was a huge lesson in going faster.
    That's awesome! That's a great story. No doubt Lockheed used every bit of that man's knowledge!

  8. #218

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Not all of the modifications always worked. I remember word came down from on high that we needed an additional amount of ADI. BCIV built a very nice aluminum tank that I mounted in the hellhole (with approval and guidance from everyone involved, I swear I was just going to put a sleeping bag back there at one point). Lyle was taxiing out and someone taxiing behind him mentioned to him over the radio that he was leaking what looked like water. He turned around and taxied back and he was not happy, I remember him "gunning" the throttle as he came back and the airplane torquing over a bit. I pulled off the hellhole door and it looked like the fountains at the Bellagio, ADI was streaming everywhere. If memory serves we pulled the tank, had it repaired and after a mod or two to the mount we reinstalled it. Just another Bearcat deal. I don't know if John remembers but one of the things we would do as the guys that would pull the GPU and chocks was take a good look at the backside of the engine for any leaks through the wheelwells. As I've said I was not part of the original or even the record setting group that built that airplane into a legend. I remember on the ramp at Reno starting up for some reason and Bill Hickle was the point man. We got the airplane started and pulled the GPU and ignition exciter and started poking around the wheelwell looking for anything that might be an issue. I found a bunch of fluid running down one of the fuel hoses so I dropped to my knees and gave the finger across the throat universal "Shut It Off!" Signal to Bill but he either didn't notice or he didn't think I was serious. John and Fred were on the other side of the airplane so I went and grabbed John by the jacket and dragged him back underneath to my side and put a bit of fuel in his nose. He dropped to his knees and somehow he conveyed to Bill that the airplane shouldn't go flying right now. Bill told Penney to shut it down and we stopped until we figured out what was wrong. I think it was the gasket on the main fuel inlet to the carb that had failed. We got it repaired and continued on, but it always bothered me. Why was I even bothering to inspect it if no one was going to listen when I found an issue? Like I said, there was an inner circle that I was a part of, and then there was an inner, inner circle that I bounced around the edges of.

  9. #219

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by knot4u View Post
    Not all of the modifications always worked. I remember word came down from on high that we needed an additional amount of ADI. BCIV built a very nice aluminum tank that I mounted in the hellhole (with approval and guidance from everyone involved, I swear I was just going to put a sleeping bag back there at one point). Lyle was taxiing out and someone taxiing behind him mentioned to him over the radio that he was leaking what looked like water. He turned around and taxied back and he was not happy, I remember him "gunning" the throttle as he came back and the airplane torquing over a bit. I pulled off the hellhole door and it looked like the fountains at the Bellagio, ADI was streaming everywhere. If memory serves we pulled the tank, had it repaired and after a mod or two to the mount we reinstalled it. Just another Bearcat deal. I don't know if John remembers but one of the things we would do as the guys that would pull the GPU and chocks was take a good look at the backside of the engine for any leaks through the wheelwells. As I've said I was not part of the original or even the record setting group that built that airplane into a legend. I remember on the ramp at Reno starting up for some reason and Bill Hickle was the point man. We got the airplane started and pulled the GPU and ignition exciter and started poking around the wheelwell looking for anything that might be an issue. I found a bunch of fluid running down one of the fuel hoses so I dropped to my knees and gave the finger across the throat universal "Shut It Off!" Signal to Bill but he either didn't notice or he didn't think I was serious. John and Fred were on the other side of the airplane so I went and grabbed John by the jacket and dragged him back underneath to my side and put a bit of fuel in his nose. He dropped to his knees and somehow he conveyed to Bill that the airplane shouldn't go flying right now. Bill told Penney to shut it down and we stopped until we figured out what was wrong. I think it was the gasket on the main fuel inlet to the carb that had failed. We got it repaired and continued on, but it always bothered me. Why was I even bothering to inspect it if no one was going to listen when I found an issue? Like I said, there was an inner circle that I was a part of, and then there was an inner, inner circle that I bounced around the edges of.
    Similar story, after start up on one of John Penney's first couple of years we had briefed that there was a certain thing we were going to look at after the start up. Penny was anxious to get airborne for some practice, Lyle was somewhere between Van Nuys and Reno in his El Camino. We did the start up I had a huge hydraulic fluid leak on my side. I dropped and gave the cut sign. The point had already passed the airplane off to taxi out. I didn't pull my chock and the plane started forward with the right chock pulled and everyone else walking back to the pits. The airplane was coming around to the left as the left side wheel was chocked. The propeller was headed towards me. I knew that the propeller would never touch the gear strut so I hopped on the tow bar ring and hugged the gear door for dear life. One of the guys from another team ran up to the outside aileron, grabbed it and signalled John to stop. When the airplane stopped I jumped off the stru wiggled the left aileron and signalled John to shut the engine down. John was mad, but it was not his fault. We left the airplane on the ramp. I went back into the pit and we had a crew safety meeting. The result of that meeting was that nobody pulled a chock until establishing contact with the other person pulling a chock. The next step was that someone was to walk the wing tips until the airplane cleared where other planes and crew were. And never "fing" never clear the "fing" plane to taxi until both sides had given the all clear.

    In one of my last weeks on the team we were doing a night run I noticed that there was oil on the left side pocket door I went under the wing the leakage was big. I came out and gave Bill Hickle the cut sign. Lyle was mad that I had stopped the ground run before the mag check. I defended my position with Lyle still at the top of his lungs. Hickle climbed down looked at the leak, we realized that there was a threaded fitting that was no longer even hand tight. Bill told Lyle it was a good thing to shut it down. Lyle went down to the hangar, Bill asked me when was I going to tell Lyle off. I just responded it's Lyle's toy, he decides who gets to play.

    I still loved racing with him, I always will however Da' Doc was already having other ideas. Strega and Dago we're in my future.

    Except for a few hours in 2003 when Team Rare Bear realized that since Hickle had not arrived yet that the team didn't have anyone there to pull a cylinder off for a change, Lyle asked Kerch if they could let me get everything ready for Hickle's arrival by starting to pull the cylinders until Bill could be there. That was the last time I would ever directly work on the airplane. Lyle asked me to consult after 2004, which I did but as for crewing...... I had done everything I ever wanted.
    Last edited by BellCobraIV; 01-06-2022 at 03:21 PM.
    John Slack

  10. #220

    Default Re: Before it was Rare Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by BellCobraIV View Post
    Similar story, after start up on one of John Penney's first couple of years we had briefed that there was a certain thing we were going to look at after the start up. Penny was anxious to get airborne for some practice, Lyle was somewhere between Van Nuys and Reno in his El Camino. We did the start up I had a huge hydraulic fluid leak on my side. I dropped and gave the cut sign. The point had already passed the airplane off to taxi out. I didn't pull my chock and the plane started forward with the right chock pulled and everyone else walking back to the pits. The airplane was coming around to the left as the left side wheel was chocked. The propeller was headed towards me. I knew that the propeller would never touch the gear strut so I hopped on the tow bar ring and hugged the gear door for dear life. One of the guys from another team ran up to the outside aileron, grabbed it and signalled John to stop. When the airplane stopped I jumped off the stru wiggled the left aileron and signalled John to shut the engine down. John was mad, but it was not his fault. We left the airplane on the ramp. I went back into the pit and we had a crew safety meeting. The result of that meeting was that nobody pulled a chock until establishing contact with the other person pulling a chock. The next step was that someone was to walk the wing tips until the airplane cleared where other planes and crew were. And never "fing" never clear the "fing" plane to taxi until both sides had given the all clear.

    In one of my last weeks on the team we were doing a night run I noticed that there was oil on the left side pocket door I went under the wing the leakage was big. I came out and gave Bill Hickle the cut sign. Lyle was mad that I had stopped the ground run before the mag check. I defended my position with Lyle still at the top of his lungs. Hickle climbed down looked at the leak, we realized that there was a threaded fitting that was no longer even hand tight. Bill told Lyle it was a good thing to shut it down. Lyle went down to the hangar, Bill asked me when was I going to tell Lyle off. I just responded it's Lyle's toy, he decides who gets to play.

    I still loved racing with him, I always will however Da' Doc was already having other ideas. Strega and Dago we're in my future.

    Except for a few hours in 2003 when Team Rare Bear realized that since Hickle had not arrived yet that the team didn't have anyone there to pull a cylinder off for a change, Lyle asked Kerch if they could let me get everything ready for Hickle's arrival by starting to pull the cylinders until Bill could be there. That was the last time I would ever directly work on the airplane. Lyle asked me to consult after 2004, which I did but as for crewing...... I had done everything I ever wanted.
    I hope you didn't consider my post as an attempted insult, that wasn't my intention, it was just my experience with big time air racing. If we want to insult someone we could talk about the guy that discharged a fire extinguisher at flames coming out of the stacks. I'll bet he regrets that. It was a time, mostly good with a couple of bummers, I choose to remember fondly. You mentioned Gordon. I'd sit on a hot plate for his rub recipes these days. My mom asked me the other day if I still have any of that "rub your buddy made", I had to remind her that was almost 30 years ago and Gordon passed away over a decade ago. Gordon might've been a lot of things but I know for sure he was a great cook, aircraft electrician and mechanic. I learned a lot from him, a lot from Greg, a lot from Mel, a lot from Hickle, a lot from Gil, a lot from Fred, a lot from you and a lot from Lyle. How he kept the circus running on a shoestring and exceeding all expectations is a mystery. I'm glad I was able to play my small part.
    Last edited by knot4u; 01-06-2022 at 03:40 PM.

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