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Formula 1 air racing is what I think the most exciting form of air racing Formerly called midgets the Formula 1 aircraft of today weigh about five-hundred pounds have a Continental O-200 engine They usually reach speeds of 250 knotsBefore I get into the high tech machines of today I will discuss some of the history of air racing and how it branch off to formula 1 Before world war II racing aircraft were all original designs that greatly advanced the field of aeronautics The aircraft used in racing usually outperformed military aircraft Aerodynamic innovations like the monoplane designs vs the traditional biplanes and the use of light weight metals instead of wood really advanced the aircraft After the war however a surplus of high powered mass production aircraft P-51-P39 existed which were introduced into air racing by rich people Racing enthusiasts with less wealth insisted that these aircraft were not in the spirit of the sport They argued that money used to acquire speed rather than aerodynamic and engine innovations hurt the whole aeronautical industry This lead to the midget class or formula 1 to surface The initial rules were that the aircraft had to have a wing area of sixty-six square feet fixed pitch propellers 500x5 in wheels fifteen gallons fuel capacity and the engine was limited to 190 cubic inches The aircraft also have to have good visibility and weigh at least five-hundred pounds These rules forced the pilots to concentrate on reducing weight and drag Sponsorship was initially contributed by Goodyear tire co The first competion for midget class was held in Cleveland in 1947 during the Labor Day National Air Races Thirteen aircraft competed in this first event By 1949 the field had expanded to twenty-five competitors for a purse of 25000 spread among the heat and championship racers Unfortunately a fiery crash involving a P-51 and a house that killed a young housewife and her baby almost
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