Reno Racer Beats Hughes Speed Record

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Flying at 407 mph, Will Whiteside on Monday shattered a three-kilometer speed record that had previously been set by Howard Hughes in 1935 in his H1 racer, and which had since been broken only by the H1 racer replica, in 2002. Whiteside's Yak model 3U, which has been continuously refined over the last six years, beat the H1 replica's speed by 102 mph. The flight for the record speed over a three-kilometer closed course by a piston aircraft under 6,600 pounds was monitored by a representative of the National Aeronautic Association, but the result won't be official until it's vetted and accepted by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

Whiteside flew the course at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The Yak, which was built in Romania in 2005, is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2000 7M2 piston engine. It was chosen for the record attempt, Whiteside said, because of its "significant power-to-weight design characteristics." Whiteside flew the airplane in this year's Reno Air Races.