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Scaled Composites Model 158 "Pond Racer"

4,650 Aerofy  25 days ago
Auto Credit Based on Aerofy's Avtech 701 Evo

About

The Pond Racer was a twin-boom high performance air racer powered by two Nissan V6 engines. It was designed by Burt Rutan. The airplane features advanced aerodynamic qualities and modern automotive engines in an attempt to defeat the highly modified warbirds at the Reno Air Races. Besides winning the races there were also plans to break the world 3km speed record for piston engine airplanes.

The dimensions and specifications are near exact. Flight performance is as close as it gets to the real thing. The hardest part was getting the shape right, I spent a long time getting it to look clean and organic like it would be in real life. All things considered, I'm very happy with the end result!

History

During the 1980-1990's the Reno air races were very popular and air racing was a growing sport. The races were dominated by modified WWII aircraft performing under extreme conditions way over their original design limitations. Aircraft enthusiast and collector Bob Pond realized that if racing were to continue, many of these rare WWII aircraft will be lost. Not necessarily in crashes, but also through the customization of the airframe/engine.

Pond knew that the only way to stop this is to beat the warbirds at their own game, using modern technology. Over the next few months, he would sell all of his companies to invest in a project for an aircraft that would end the reign of warbirds for good.

That aircraft would become known as the Pond Racer.

Loss

The pond racer had great flying qualities. Dick Rutan, one of the pilots that flew the Pond, stated it felt like you were flying a jet fighter! At Reno, it qualified at 400 mph. Seems like alot, but it's not enough to even be competitive against the warbirds. It's anticipated top speed in level flight was 527 mph, but it would never reach that speed. The reason for that is the engines. Although they were state of the art racing engines, they were car engines, and adjusting them for use in an aircraft would prove very difficult.

The problems were further aggravated by the fact that the Pond Racer ran on methanol fuel. Because of the corrosive properties of methanol the engines had to be cleaned with gasoline after use to prevent internal damage. They could run it on gasoline instead, but the engines were incapable of developing sufficient power using this fuel. Because methanol burns at a relatively low temperature, cooling was not an issue. In some cases, the oil actually couldn't reach a high enough temperature to flow. As a result, the engines never made more than 600 HP per piece.

All of these issues would take the team a very long time to solve. It's no surprise that they were encountering this many problems. They were asking a CONTINUOUS 1000 hp from a car engine that was built for short bursts of power, and all of that had to be cramped into a tiny 2 ft tube...

During a qualifying session at reno in 1993, it went wrong. The pond racer experienced an engine failure caused by the same problems that plagued it from the start. The pilot, Rick Brickert, pulled up quickly and came in for an emergency landing. He tried to feather the dead engine's prop, but was unable to without oil pressure. The plane missed the runway and did a belly landing at well over 120 mph. It bounced once, then caught fire and disintegrated, killing the pilot. Rick Brickert was a great friend of Burt Rutan, the man who designed the aircraft.

Not surprisingly, Burt Rutan lost all interest in air racing and the project was never revived. An estimated total of 6 million dollars was spent on the aircraft.

Performance

Top speed (level): 527 mph
Engine(s): 2x Electromotive VG-30 V6 engines (1000 hp each)

Spotlights

General Characteristics

  • Predecessor Avtech 701 Evo
  • This plane has been featured
  • Created On Windows
  • Wingspan 25.2ft (7.7m)
  • Length 22.5ft (6.9m)
  • Height 8.3ft (2.5m)
  • Empty Weight 3,977lbs (1,803kg)
  • Loaded Weight 4,386lbs (1,989kg)

Performance

  • Horse Power/Weight Ratio 0.455
  • Wing Loading 34.8lbs/ft2 (170.0kg/m2)
  • Wing Area 125.9ft2 (11.7m2)
  • Drag Points 1138

Parts

  • Number of Parts 260
  • Control Surfaces 5
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  • Profile image

    This plane is an absolute joy to fly, but has a nasty habit of going into spins when slowing down.

    16 days ago
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    4,650 Aerofy

    @JohnnyBoythePilot Thanks! I never expected it to blow up like this. It's amazing.

    +1 19 days ago
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    Congrats on 1,000 downloads!

    +1 20 days ago
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    4,854 SakuraSaku

    so awesome!

    23 days ago
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    4,650 Aerofy

    @marcox43 You can see it in action here aswell:
    link. There's surprisingly little footage of it on youtube..

    +1 24 days ago
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    4,650 Aerofy

    @marcox43 Its looks so small compared to the other planes lol!

    24 days ago
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    @marcox43
    Ah yes I saw that Fw-190 in the Reno Air Race reports, which you can find the Reno Air Race reports over the years here.

    +1 24 days ago
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    20.2k marcox43

    @Aerofy, I just found a video of the Pond racer at Reno air races! click video

    24 days ago
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    20.2k marcox43

    @JohnnyBoythePilot the only Fw190 in reno air race to my knowledge is "What da Focke-Wulf" This Fw190 is a Flugwerk model, meaning it's a Post-production model, recreating as much of the original plane with the original blueprints and the addition of new component's or improvements (such as underwing radiators) here we can see this Fw190 with the Galloping ghost on his tail back in 2010 and here doing a lap in 2011

    +1 24 days ago
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    469 small1324

    This is an incredible plane design, and your accuracy in modeling it is mind-blowing! Almost looks like the cockpit is lunging forward with the propellers :)

    Upvoted.

    +2 24 days ago
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    @marcox43
    There are/were some racers like that such as Tsunami, Dreadnaught (Sea Fury that uses an American engine), Precious Metal, Critical Mass (highly modified Sea Fury), Shockwave air racer (based on a Sea Fury I think), Voodoo, Drago, Galloping Ghost, & Strega (highly modified P-51's), and Czech Mate, a highly modified Yak-11 trainer with a P&W radial. None of them are really replicas but are still awesome tricked-out aircraft. The only replica I know of that races at Reno is the Thunder Mustang, although it races in Sport Class.

    24 days ago
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    @Aerofy Probably one of the most recent modern air racer attemps were David Rose's Renegade/Mach Buster design and Wildfire Air Racing's "Wildfire" Racer, although it supposedly only flew once.

    25 days ago
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    @DeezDucks
    Maybe the design is cursed to always have problems, even in virtual reincarnations.

    25 days ago
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    4,650 Aerofy

    @EternalDarkness Thanks man.

    +1 25 days ago
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    4,650 Aerofy

    @JohnnyBoythePilot Agreed, there have been some attempts to build a modern day air racer though. But for some reason, none of them ever took off (literally).

    25 days ago
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    4,650 Aerofy

    @DeezDucks Thanks, I noticed but couldn't figure it out lol.

    25 days ago
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    6,553 AnoniMosu

    This design would have been normal for Germany in 1944.

    +3 25 days ago
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    20.2k marcox43

    @JohnnyBoythePilot a cool alternative would be replica planes, I just want to see a Flugwerk Fw190 D run in Reno with a modern engine, it would make a decent competitor I suppose.

    +1 25 days ago
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    72.8k DeezDucks

    The plane looks great, if you want to fix it for yourself though, the left horizontal stabilizer isn't attached correctly, if you attach the inside point to the body, it should fix the autoroll and shaky body problems.

    +1 25 days ago
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    I really enjoyed reading the description, place also food as good as it looks,
    deserves the upvotes!

    25 days ago
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    1,298 Carbonfox1

    You did a damn good job with this Rutan classic

    +1 25 days ago
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    Damn, you did a wonderful job on the Pond Racer! It would be cool of someone would resurrect the design or something like it IRL. Reno needs more modern air racers in unlimited class. Its a real shame the original crashed and Burt Rutan never pursued the design after that.

    +2 25 days ago
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    15.4k ThePrototype

    I've always loved this thing :)

    +2 25 days ago
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    9,396 Vidal99977

    Dang my eyes melt!

    25 days ago
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    This thing's beautiful...

    25 days ago
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