Nearly a year ago, on October 5, 2012, Arnold attempted to set another world record in the E-1. Some of you may have read about this in the EAA news. This record was for fuel efficiency.
When Arnold set the world distance record in the E-1 in 2010, his engine wasn’t really optimized for the job. At the time, his engine didn’t have a manual mixture control on it, so the engine consumed more fuel than it really needed. His fuel efficiency was around 36 nautical miles per gallon, which was enough to set the world record (I’ll talk more in later posts about how he achieved the efficiency he needed for the world record).
After setting the record, Arnold decided to tinker some more with the engine to see if he could make it better. He had optimized just about everything else on the airplane, such as fairings and the exhaust system, but other than swapping out carburetors, he had left the engine untouched. He bought an after-market mixture control for the engine and, after installing it, found that he should be able to exceed the old record of 42.68 nautical miles per gallon.
This flight didn’t require anywhere near the length of the distance flight — he only had to fly for about six hours, compared to more than eighteen, and he completed the entire flight within Washington State. When he landed, he had set an unofficial record of 48.95 nautical miles per gallon, which he submitted to FAI for verification. Unfortunately, the GPS portion failed in both of the barographs he carried to verify his altitude and location, and the FAI didn’t accept the record.
Arnold would like to make the record official, so he’s planning to try again. He bought another barograph that he hopes will be more reliable (it was also cheaper). Here’s a picture:
It’s hard to believe that this tiny thing (about 1-1/2 by 2 inches) holds a complete barograph for both altitude and position. The barographs that Arnold used in his ballooning days were about the size of a suitcase, and the only thing they measured was altitude; there was no provision for position.
Arnold has been busy the past couple of weeks installing the new barograph on the E-1 and making sure it’s working right. I’ll let you know when he tries again for the record!