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Author Topic: An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats  (Read 2109 times)

Offline Larry Hill

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An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats
« on: May 17, 2023, 08:28:15 PM »
If I remember correctly the founding members were Paul Tune, Marshall Busby, Mac Henry, Brian Smith and David Owen. Late arrivals were myself and Danny Driscoll. Marshall had two sons that we’re very good flyers until they discovered the opposite sex. Mac and David enjoyed Combat and drifted from racing. David schooled me on how to hit the shutoff, kill air speed , and put it on the pit line. For me it was delicate dance the we did every week weather permitting. Brian Smith went off to college and became a lawyer. Everyone contributed to make the team better.

Does anyone have a guess on how much nitromethane we would burn in a season?

More later
« Last Edit: May 18, 2023, 07:11:03 AM by Larry Hill »

Offline Larry Hill

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Re: An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2023, 08:33:23 AM »
Paul had a very well equipped toy airplane shop. Bridgeport mill, Clausing lathe, Sunnen hone, AG 300 with custom fixture to measure cylinder taper. By the time I arrived with the group most of the tooling for the engines was done. All the measurements were done to the .0001. We had no digital readouts, everything was dial indicator based. The rotary table was vertical and horizontal, that way we could cut the ports in the liner and use it to lighten the pistons. I think I’m correct in remembering Paul telling me that Brian Smith made the wrist pin boring fixture in a high school Industrial Arts machine shop class. It was great fixture it had the ability to raise or lower pin hight. I don’t remember the exact sequence in the production of the piston but the wrist pin hole was .177”. Drill the hole, bore hole three times, ream twice, cut pin lock groves for an .018” diameter lock wire. I found out real quick “big holes big problems- little holes bigger problems “


Offline Mike Hazel

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Re: An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2023, 05:28:26 PM »
Looking forward to hearing more.  I remember this group practicing with their fast rat planes at a Nats, was amazed how quick the planes were put on the ground for the pitman.

Offline Larry Hill

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Re: An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2023, 09:59:08 AM »
Marshall Busby built all of the Slow Rats with a Buck pocket knife. If you asked him to borrow his knife it always can with a warning “Be careful it’s sharp” it was razor sharp. Paul and I made the parts to convert the OS .40 to the  Tune Hill .34. The piece of tooling that eluded us was a reliable fixture to drill a .0315 hole in the top of pistons to limit the movement of the end gap of the dykes ring that Vic Garner supplied us. The difficult part was drilling the hole in a .021” ring land without hitting the ring land. We made a bunch of stuff that did not work and scrapped a few pistons. If the rings were not pinned the ports would clip the rings and increase end gap causing loss of power.
To pin the ring we used a roll pin pressed in the piston at the correct place. The correct place was in between the front exhaust port and the front side port. I think we ran all engines before we shipped.

Offline Larry Hill

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Re: An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2023, 07:48:18 PM »
We even made a fixture to check the engine location for up or down thrust. We tried shimming the engine toward the center of the circle. Sometimes the best ideas are put in the category of “ what were we thinking”. Busby built the planes, Paul fine tuned the engines, and I did the props. Our lines were 59’ 6 1/4” long. We practiced every week wether permitting. I practiced flying with an arch in my back to give us a little more speed. We believe in the rule book and using it. To the gentleman who ask me about props many years ago, the Nashville Rats philosophy was to win and have fun and not to help our competitors get better. I’m not apologizing for my answer but explaining why I answered like I did. While playing 20 questions sometimes the first question is the twenty-first question.

Offline Larry Hill

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Re: An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2023, 05:09:45 PM »
I typed a bunch of stuff this morning about props and pitting and forgot to post before I closed. A Stupid Old Man Trick. My apologies

Offline Larry Hill

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Re: An Inside Look At The Nashville Rats
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2023, 05:21:49 PM »
David Owen can supply more information on the Nashville Rats. I believe it was a play on the song Nashville Cats


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