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Hughes Racer Replica Photo Feature
Cottage Grove, OR.
Aug 08, 2002

Hughes Racer Replica UPDATE
Report by: Jimmy Leeward
Historic Hughes Racer Replica Test Flight Report
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The Hughes H-1 Replica Update

As the months tick off toward the annual pilgrimage of the fastest of the fast to the high desert skies of Nevada’s Reno-Stead Airport and the National Championship Air Races, we have been keeping a close watch on the progress of a most exciting aviation project: The Wright Machine Tool Co. Hughes Racer Replica.

To say that this year’s "Reno" was going to be one of the best in the modern history of the sport would be a vast understatement indeed.

In this rare view from the cockpit, our friend, veteran Reno Air Racer, Jimmy Leeward takes us along for a pilot’s eye view of the flight-testing progress being conducted at Cottage Grove, Oregon for this amazing historic recreation.

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The Hughes H-1 Replica Update
By: Jimmy Leeward

Recently, I had the honor and privilege to do eight chase flights in my P-51 to help with the In-Flight Evaluation of the exterior of the Hughes H-1 Replica, specifically the control systems, various operations of the gear and flaps, as well as the angle of the prop blades, relative to the position of the hub.

Overall, there have been very minor problems and those that have cropped have been normal teeth cutting items that happen to any newly constructed airplane with only fifteen hours of flight time. Although I would like to share those, I feel they are proprietary and should be released only by the owner and pilot, Jim Wright.

I can say that the airplane climbs like a homesick angel (about 4,000 feet per minute,) is very efficient in cruise (about 240 mph with very low power settings) and it comes downhill like most round-engined airplanes.

I watched through a complete stall series and the H-1 Replica seems completely controllable and apparently very docile. Clean, it stalls at about 80 mph and dirty at about 73 mph.

My impression of Jim Wright is that he is a very humble, unassuming person, but very affable. He likes people and enjoys exciting toys, which is evident by what he drives -- a red corvette; he also sports around Cottage Grove at times in a street- legal Race Car, with a Lola chassis and a full race Chevy engine capable of 160 mph.

Jim has been flying all his life, starting early with his father who was also a pilot. Jim’s personal airplane is a beautiful Glassair III. Wright has flown a number of different airplanes, from simple to complex, and he was/is the test pilot for his very own ultimate Air Racer, the Howard Hughes-designed, H-1 Replica.

Jim is not only capable of flying the Racer, but along with his wife Betty, conceived the idea, and has directed and worked on the construction of this perfect reproduction of the original H-1 in every conceivable way.

Wright is a self-taught engineer, who started, owns and runs, along with his wife, the Wright Machine Tool Company, ironically similar in name to Howard Hughes own Hughes Tool Company. Jim Wright even has the same, tall and lanky build as Hughes, but certainly not the same personality; however, he flies the Hughes Racer every bit as good as Howard obviously did in 1935.

About the Author
Jimmy Leeward: Throughout the modern history of the sport, pilot Extraordinaire, Jimmy Leeward’s name has become synonymous with Air Racing and classic flying. Over the course of his aviation career, Jimmy has exhibited his exceptional flying skills on the race course, as well as in the cockpit of a wide variety of airplanes. From the Ford Tri-Motor flown annually at Oshkosh to the fabulous aerial displays in his Mig-17, and just about anything in-between, Jimmy Leeward is one of the most trusted and skilled pilots currently flying.

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