Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thrift Store Find-- A Piece of Aviation History

Found in a thrift store today for less than a dollar, here is a piece of aviation history--one of the Champion Spark Plugs from the record-setting modified P-51 Mustang that broke the world record for speed for a piston-powered aircraft in 1979 flown by Steve Hinton.

One of the fun things about visiting thrift stores is you just never know what you're going to find.
Take today, for example. At one place, I found three Rolling Stones albums, including a first-pressing of Beggar's Banquet, plus The Who's 'Tommy' double-LP and Volume Two of 'The Best of Cream--LIVE".

But that's not likely to interest many aviation readers.

However, I also found this unique item--an original Champion Spark Plug from the specialized P-51 Mustang, actually called an RB-51, that was flown by legendary film stunt pilot and air racer Steve Hinton in 1979 to set the World's Record for piston-driven aircraft. Steve flew the modifed Mustang at 499.046 miles per hour in 1979 at Tonopah, Nevada.

This little plaque has one of the original spark plugs from the plane, called 'Red Baron', and a metal plaque that tells about the exploit.

I paid fifty cents for it.

A photo of Hinton and the modified Mustang setting the world speed record for piston aircraft in 1979.

A neat computer-simulated shot of the RB-51 setting the record.

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