...But Can't Reach The Ultimate Goal
Bruce Bohannon set two more records in the Exxon Flyin' Tiger on
Saturday, November 13, but the one he really wanted once again
Flying out of his home airport in Angleton, Texas, Bohannon
piloted his highly modified RV-4 higher than it's ever been
before-47,530 feet. But that was about 380 feet lower than the
all-time piston altitude record of 47,910 set in 1946 by a US Air
Force B-29, and about 1,800 feet shy of what's required to exceed
the mark by 3 percent.
"You see the end of this runway?" he said after the flight.
"That's about what we missed it by."
But he broke two of his own world records, the airplane's 29th
and 30th, on the way up. Bohannon hit 12,000 meters in 20 minutes,
36 seconds, to establish new time-to-climb standards in the
Unlimited and C-1.b classes. The old record was 22:29.
"Everything went perfect, from the aircraft to cooperation with
the controllers (ATC)," he said. "We flew right on the numbers."
The airplane had 11.5 inches of manifold pressure and was running
about 10.5 gallons per hour, which Bohannon said translates to
about 125 HP. "It should have had plenty of climb left, but it just
would not go higher."
So what's left to tweak in order to capture the elusive
"We're starting to suspect the prop may be the problem,"
Bohannon said. "We'll talk to the Hartzell people this week and see
what we can come up with."
The Exxon Flyin' Tiger team will press on for the elusive
altitude mark. "We're not giving up. Everything worked as well as
we had hoped. If this were easy, we'd have done it a long time ago.
But it's so close now we can almost touch it."