Julie Clark’s aerobatic routine and her own restored military trainer inspired me in 1990 to create Kate Eisen in my novel Ironwolf. An eccentric aviation nut gets Kate to race at Reno in his custom-built, Firestorm, sneeringly dubbed the “Machstang,” a Frankenstein-ish plane made of parts pirated from Mustangs and old Lear jets, supposedly capable of achieving Mach One, even though no one with a brain believes a piston-driven prop plane will ever break the sound barrier. Her nemesis: Ironwolf, a black P-51 Mustang, virtually unmodified, with fangs painted on the nose, piloted by Peter Wolfe. I’d have someone photoshop or draw that one for the cover, but how many planes will fit on one cover? Gotta “keep it simple, stupid.”
This is a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, but you get the idea (thanks to http://www.airventure.de/reno_races2002engl_06.htm for the imag).
The mighty Mustang is so cover-worthy, and the story of the Merlin engine can’t be told too often:
“The decision to re-engine the P-51 Mustang with the British-designed Rolls-Royce Merlin was one of the era’s great flashes of genius. The Merlin-powered Mustang is sometimes called the plane that won the war.” http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/p-51-mustangs-switch-to-merlin-engine-made-it-the-world-beater-of-world-war-ii/
But first, I need to trim down the word count *another* 30,000 words to reduce it to 100,000 words.
Trim. Somehow that reminds me of a line from http://www.strangemilitary.com/ –
“Airplanes can barely keep themselves in the air. How can they then carry any kind of load?”
– William Pickering, Astronomer (1908)
Lighten the load for the reader — trim out descriptions, scenes and words they won’t miss.
P.S. Click here for a video of race planes arriving at Reno. If the link should expire, check out youtube for all kinds of awesome air race and aerobatics videos, Julie Clark and Patty Wagstaff included.