Pilot/owner/builder John Parker, a Formula One air race champion and holder of several speed records at shorter distances in his earlier Thunder Mustang, Blue Thunder, took his successor machine, Blue Thunder II, to record speeds over a long course set up at the Golden West Fly-In last weekend in Marysville, California. Parker went fast enough to break the old record of 330 mph: He went 361 mph on Saturday and 363.9 on Sunday.
Blue Thunder II is powered by a Falconer V-12 engine of 600 cubic inches and 640 horsepower. The Thunder Mustang is a faithful rendering of a P-51 Mustang, in ¾ scale, built in composite materials. The fuel was 115 octane ERC racing gasoline. Nitrous oxide was also used during a portion of each run.
The record runs were made in accordance with international rules and were officially observed by Brian Utley, a representative of the National Aeronautics Association, the US arm of the international organization of record, the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). Parker’s class, C1c, is for piston-powered landplanes between 2,200 and 3,850 pounds.
Though the record is for a distance of 100 kilometers, the course was laid out at a total distance of 142km, out and back around an observer’s waypoint. The average speed over the course counts for the record.
Parker and “Blue II” will be attending AirVenture in Oshkosh, at the end of July. He also will be competing in the SuperSport class in the Reno Air Races in September.