Fastest Piston Engine

Discussion in 'Engines' started by engguy, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. engguy

    engguy Member

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    Just curious if anyone knows what engine powered the fastest vehicle?
    I have some ideas but just curious what others would have to say.
    I would say the first was a BMW.
    I'm not saying what I'm thinking the last and probably the fastest would be, don't want to get laughed at. :oops:
     
  2. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #2 Colin1, Mar 6, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
    I seriously doubt anyone's going to laugh at you
    At the risk of sounding pedantic, I'd only question your title: Fastest Piston Engine
    Most powerful piston engine possibly? You do go on to say fastest vehicle, which seems more appropriate and with good reason; at that end of the performance regime, the airframe is going to be the limiting factor. A classic example would be the Merlin 61 in the Spitfire IX; the same engine in the P-51 provided a platform that was some 25mph faster.

    Then there's power to weight. Staying on the P-51 theme, the P-51H had, I believe, less available horsepower in the -9 Merlin than the P-51D had with the -7, yet was capable of [email protected],000ft, some 50mph faster than its predecessor. Both empty and normal take-off weight for the H were some 600lb lighter than those for the D though.

    How did brutes like the late-variant R-2800/3350s compare with the late-variant Merlins and Allisons (who came good toward the end of the war)?

    Just some fuel for the debate, sorry I couldn't go into more depth, I've got a long drive ahead of me today and need to get ready. Hopefully, it will be in full swing for my return. :)
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A big qualifier would be when?

    The 1930s?
    end of WW II?
    Modern air racers?

    as far as vehicles goes, air speed, land speed or water speed?
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I belive it's the Wright R-3350 fitted into an F8F Bearcat named Rare Bear at 528mph.
     
  5. robwkamm

    robwkamm Member

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    ive read some were that the p47m did over 500 mph in level flight and was the fastest at the end of ww2. we need to nail down a time period for this list.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Officially this is the absolute world record speed for a recip aircraft.
     
  7. engguy

    engguy Member

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    Yes I'm reffering to recip engines, and reffering to what the fastest vehicle would be that one propelled.
    I'm thinking the first case was in the WWII era, and was a very unconventional craft, and probably not an offcial record.

    And if an R-3350 could make an old airframe like that scoot at those speeds imagine what a more aerodynamic airframe could do.
     
  8. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    A Spitfire XI Photo Recon plane was recorded doing 606 mph in a deliberate near vertical dive just before the propellor came off. Amazingly the pilot F/Lt Martindale managed to land

    [​IMG]
     
  9. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, the 606mph was recorded in a 45° dive and was to investigate aerodynamic behaviour at high mach numbers.

    It is no surprise that a highly modified WW2 era fighter, stripped of all its military equipment and having its engine tuned to around double the original's power and being smoothed and otherwise aerodynamically modified, would be faster in a straight line than a standard WW2 fighter (or in the case of the Spitfire XI, a PR aircraft).

    I, however, doubt that the "Dilly Mustang" would be able to scoot along in a 390mph cruise at 30,000ft+ for several hours.
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    With regard to post #7 above, Rare Bear is nowhere close to a stock airfame. It has radical modifications, completely different from stock wing and tail airfoils, and almost none of the original Grumman stuff inside. It is basically a custom airframe with systems largely designed and built by Dave Cornell. There are almost no stock controls anywhere in the cockpit with the exception of the control stick and throttle / mixture.

    The landing gear is a "one-shot" unit that will retract once, MAYBE twice before running out of compressed air. The oil cooler is a boil-off unit. The canopy is basically formula 1 style.

    The drag is MUCH lower than any close-to-stock Bearcat. Couple that with something like 4,400 HP and you get a world record. Rare Bear is very fast, but unfortunately is not optimized for turning at Reno's typical density altitude ... the aspect ratio is a bit low for that. In a straight line, though, it is VERY close to both Strega and Voodoo in speed capability.

    There is no system in Rare Bear that would be suitable for flying any military mission, let alone any normal military use. It is totally optimized for racing and is pretty much useless for anything else.
     
  11. CORSNING

    CORSNING Active Member

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    I like the idea of limiting a time frame. Someday a piston engine aircraft might exceed 600 mph.
    in level flight through a neutral atmosphere. Anything is possible. If you want the straight info from
    WW2 then this is your answer:
    The Republic P-47M, The Fastest Piston Engine Fighter Of The War.... There punch that in to Google.

    Well, that's just me, Jeff
     
  12. VALENGO

    VALENGO Member

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    Long time ago I´ve read that the limiting factor was the onset of supersonic speed in the propeller tips. Anyone can confirm this?.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  13. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    True. When the prop tips go supersonic, there is a huge increase in prop drag. So ... you need a prop that can get to very coarse blade angles. Don't think a prop-driven plane will ever go supersonic, but they COULD go faster if a concerted effort were to be made.

    The problem with that is the cost-to-benefit ratio is terrible. If you did it, you would never recoup the cost of doing so. At this point in time, I think Strega, Voodoo, and Rare Bear could all beat the existing record, but the cost is near $1M- US for an attempt and it's just not worth it.
     
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