Crew Report - 24 Apr 13

April 24, 2013 at 9:36 PM

I must apologize for not having as much to report in this spring Blue Thunder report that I had hoped and promised in the last report. We do not have the dyno data we wanted due to our engine shop’s dyno being down.


As part of the 2013 conditional inspection we decided to do a valve job on the engine just for good measure. With the heads off, we started examining what we had. I checked the volume of all the combustion chambers and found that they were all 51cc plus or minus 1cc. I thought this plus or minus one cc was pretty consistent with other high performance heads. Adding the combustion chamber volume generated by the head gasket and deck height yielded a compression ratio right at 11:1.

The idea of CNC machining all the ports was intriguing to me so I started investigating. I quickly found that shops that specialize in this type of work could not do six cylinder heads because they were too long for their mills. One shop in Arkansas that does six cylinder Jeep engines could do a head as long as a Falconer V-12, but they had no fixtures to hold the heads or program as to what the ports should really look like. The cost and time required to build fixtures, generate the optimum shape of the ports and trace that shape into an electronic file for the mill was way beyond our budget for time frame.

Jim Horton has an engine shop in Minden, NV and agreed to do a flow test of the Falconer V-12 intake and exhaust ports just for the purpose of mining data. Jim and I now have a graph of the air flow rate through one intake and exhaust port as a base line for future development.

With the valve job complete, we put the engine back together, finished the conditional inspection and signed it off for 2013 just in time to make it to the Mojave Space Port for experimental aircraft fly-in on April 20th.  The weather for the Mojave show could not have been better. Temperatures were in the 70s and the wind never exceeded 5 Kts. The show is a low key event without much advertisement to the public but even so there were nearly 300 aircraft in attendance.


Wayne Richards attended the show with Cloud Chaser and the two Thunder Mustangs sitting side by side made the most popular display of the event.


On departure from Mojave, the engine started running rough so I returned for a precautionary landing. I was over confident going to Mojave without my laptop or any tools.


The gentleman on the right is Matthew Stinemetze, better know a Space Ship Matt at Scaled Composites--he came to my rescue. Matt had his crew formatted a data stick, downloaded the engine data from the airplane, and sent the engine files to 51Aero for analysis. Within an hour I had the cause of the rough running engine which was a fault with the B Ref connector. I pulled the connector off the Ref sensor and sure enough, there was a broken pin in the connector.

Andy Chiavetta was on hand to prove what a workaholic everyone knows he is. With Andy’s tools, we were able to make a presidential solution repair to the connector enabling an uneventful return to Stead Field.

The Mojave Air Show/Fly In/Airplane Get Together was organized by Elliot Sequin who was a very gracious host and supervisor of this cowl installation.


The Blue Crew and Blue Thunder II will be making several appearances here on the west coast, but the big event will be our attendance at the Oshkosh AirVenture this July 2013 to support our sponsors. Blue II will be parked on the west side on the Phillips 66 Plaza next to the Reno Air Races tent and the best place on the planet for watching the air show. I would like to invite all of our friends and fans to come by and meet the crew and have a photo opportunity with the crew and Blue Thunder II.

The 50th running of the Reno National Championship Air races is coming up in September. Everyone in the world that has even the slightest tingling for the need for speed must attend this event. As usual, American Air Racing will be holding our 13th annual open house during the event and we invite all Thunder Mustang owners, pilots, builders, mechanics, and those just interested in Thunder Mustangs to come by and share your interest and partake of a little food and drink after the races Monday through Saturday. It is not too soon to start planning for your attendance at the races and “Thunder Storm 2013”.

The Blue Crew, Jan and I wish to thank everyone for their continued support which makes our success possible.

Thanks again.

John Parker


Tags: Reno Air Races 2013 Mojave Experimental Fly-In Oshkosh 2013
Category: Crew Reports

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