On January 5th, 2019 a very special plane took off around noon from the Chino airport in California and made several low passes above it pleasing the crowds gathered below. It was a part of the monthly Living History Flying Day event organized by the Planes of Fame Air Museum and featuring the world’s fastest piston engine aircraft, the heavily modified North American P-51D Mustang “Voodoo”.
The plane was piloted by Steven Hinton, a multiple Reno Air Races Champion and the youngest pilot to win the Reno Air Races Unlimited-class at the age of 22. He flew the “Voodoo” when he won in Reno in 2013, 2014 and 2016. In September 2017 Steve Hinton made the “Voodoo” the fastest piston engine aircraft when he broke the class C-1e speed record flying four laps with an average speed of 531.53mph over a course in Challis, ID.
Originally “Voodoo” was built in 1944 in Inglewood, CA, as a North American P-51D-25NA Mustang and after several years with the USAAF and Royal Canadian Air Force, it became privately owned in 1958. It was modified to participate in the Reno Air Races, with additional modifications added for the speed record attempt. This is when the plane changed its famous purple Reno paint to plain white to make it lighter. Other modifications include upgrades to its Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, new state of the art wing profile and a special anti-detonation system to cool down the fuel and air mixture with distilled water and methanol before it reaches the cylinders.
Before the aerial demonstration Mr. Hinton talked about his passion for flying and breaking speed record to a large audience in the museum’s main hangar. Check the museum’s calendar if you are interested in participating in future Living History Flying Day events. You can visit the “Voodoo” in the Planes of Fame museum as it became a part of its collection in 2018. Your next chance to see it fly will be during the annual Planes of Fame Air Show in May 2019.