A View from Broadway

Blondie gets a speeding ticket

By Ken Burdick

Yes Folks, it's true.

Blondie finally broke through the 100 mph barrier at the 2016 Jim Walker Memorial Spring Tune-Up.

As I said, I would share anything good or bad on this project so here goes.

She got a 101.68 mph ticket, in a 96 mph zone. I have been stuck and bumping up against 100 mph for all of last summer. It seemed the harder I tried, the slower it went. This tells me that I don't know how it works. This is a sad commentary but at least I can be in charge of what I don't know, and make adjustments.


The same thing over and over again -- props. You'd think I would get tired of honking on about them, but I cannot. Before the contest, I went through the giant pile of props I have collected and measured them with a Prather pitch gauge. I selected one that was pretty close to a 7x7, but at the last two stations, it increased pitch to over 8”. I did what any other person who thinks he knows something would do -- I de-pitched it. I just “knew” this was the right thing to do and got a ground setting of 1,850 on Frankenstein 2. This engine has a very high RPM of 21,900 on the bench prop and is a good 900-1000 RPM faster than the other engines I have. OK -- so the 1,850 will unload a bit in the air and easily have RPM head room for 19,000-20,000. Well, it didn't exactly work that way. It turned in a very modest 94 mph at the contest. It sounded like it went 110, and felt good on the lines, but the watch she no lie. The two-line models were beating this speed. I changed props to an APC 7x7 and see what would happen on a store-bought prop.

Finally something went right. The prop loaded the engine just a bit as I could hear it accelerating through most of the run and I was rewarded with a pretty decent speed of close to 102 mph.


Last summer I was tired of watching my supply of K&B (expensive) plugs disappear and really bought them for the Louie-mobile (D speed). I was tooling around on Hobby King's website when I spotted glow plugs. In and amongst the usual was their house brand, made in Taiwan and with three ranges of heat, price around $2.80 each. I wanted hot but all that was in stock were cold, so I bought 10.Well, lil Geezers, they work great and I compared them to using the K&B with no decrease in RPM or seal issues. Just before the Portland contest, I was able to get the “hot” plug so I bought 20 of them. This is the plug I used in Portland. While it did not hold up as well to fast running as the cold one, it didn't come apart in there, but scrambled a bit.

So there you have it, lil' Geezers, dime store stuff made the difference between 98 mph and getting over the hump of 100 mph.


What is next, is to begin on the 110 mph assault. I'm reasonably sure that the fully cowled Lag Wagon (below) will hit 105-107 mph, but it's going to take some real prop work on my part. I'm not sure that I am up for the challenge -- BUT THE HIPPY IS! (Editor's note: That's Marty Higgs, the "fast hippie."

As always, I'll keep you informed on the successes and failures of my G-Speed (Northwest B Proto) project.


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This page was upated April 27, 2016