Bruce And Flyin' Tiger Break Record No. 25

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Bruce Bohannon and his Flyin' Tiger launched from Lakeland Linder at noon on Saturday and returned to Earth about a half-hour later. "We were aiming at 10 minutes, but we didn't quite hit that," he said. "We got 9 minutes and 51 seconds." That's time-to-climb to 9,000 meters, or almost 30,000 feet, a new record for piston-powered aircraft, the 25th record set by Flyin' Tiger. Over the winter, the team added about 30 hp to the Tiger's Mattituck engine, for a total of 380 hp. The airplane is now ready for its Oshkosh flight, Bohannon said, when he hopes to reach 50,000 feet -- breaking the absolute altitude record for piston aircraft, now held by the B-29. The airplane, a highly customized RV-4 homebuilt, now five years old, is approaching a 1-to-1 thrust-to-weight ratio, Bohannon said. Once he's reached the 50K level, he plans to start stripping it down to reduce weight, and go for sustained vertical climb.