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World speed record rules?

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  • Stepwilk
    Rank 5 Registered User

    World speed record rules?

    I'm writing a piece on the Pulitzer Trophy winner and Naval aviator Al Williams, who set a world three-kilometer straightaway speed record in 1923 of 267 mph. The rules specified a maximum altitude of 50 meters between the starting gate and the finish timing line, one run upwind and one downwind. I was surprised t learn, however, that entrants were allowed to dive at the starting gate from whatever altitude they wished, at whatever speed they could achieve.

    When did the FAI rules change to disallow this technique?
    Last edited by Moggy C; 17th November 2018, 00:50.
  • AlphaEchoAlpha
    Rank 5 Registered User

    #2
    I touched on this when talking to Steve Hinton Jr regarding his most recent record in P51 Voodoo. An excerpt from the article I penned on the subject, with quotes directly from Steve Hinton Jr himself:

    "Another of the key things that the practice runs helped to prove out was the dive profile - a somewhat contentious point, mainly due to the ambiguous wording of the rules from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), which state that once the flight performance begins, you cannot exceed 500m (1640ft). That in itself is a very grey area does the flight performance include take-off? I called [the FAI] and asked that question. The answer was that it begins the first time that the aircraft crosses the entry gate onto the course, although Steve clarifies, That rule has not changed; people argue about it, but through the National Aeronautical Association's Rulebook it has been consistent no one took advantage of that. For the practice attempt, the run-in was entered from 3000ft AGL (above ground level), which gave a first pass of 540mph. Later attempts would use more height to edge the initial speed even higher."

    http://vintageaviationecho.com/voodoo-speed-record/

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    • Schneiderman
      Rank 5 Registered User

      #3
      It was changed for 1924 precisely as a result of Williams and Brow's antics. The NAA and Navy pushed for the change.

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      • Stepwilk
        Rank 5 Registered User

        #4
        What was the rule changed to?

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        • Schneiderman
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          At the January 1924 meeting of the FAI it was agreed that over the 3km run the aircraft had to be flying at a height of 50m above the marker points and also had to be flying at that height for 500m before and 500m after the run (I cannot remember how much leeway there was in that). The aircraft could not exceed 400m during the entire flight, so it was still possible to dive down from 400m to 50m prior to entering the 500m pre-course part. The rules were tweaked bit by bit over the following years as speeds increased, as seaplanes took the record and so on.
          Last edited by Schneiderman; 19th November 2018, 08:00. Reason: Corrected typing error in height

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