Voodoo (aircraft)

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Voodoo P 51 2014 Gold Champion photo D Ramey Logan.jpg
Pilot Steven Hinton, Jr. takes Voodoo to win the 2014 Gold Championship
Type North American P-51D-25-NA Mustang
Serial RCAF 9289

Voodoo is a highly modified North American P-51 Mustang that was the 2013, 2014 and 2016[1] Unlimited-class champion of the Reno Air Races. The pilot for these wins was Steven Hinton, Jr of Chino, California.[2][3]


The P-51D-25-NA (original s/n 44-73415) was built in 1944 by North American Aviation at Inglewood, California, for the United States Army. The aircraft was then transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Mustang IV with serial number 9289 in February 1951.[4]

In February 1951, it went down at Richmond, Virginia, and was badly damaged. Again, in February 1962, the aircraft crashed. In March 1977, the aircraft suffered yet another crash. According to the summarized National Transportation Safety Board narrative from report number SEA77FYE12:

There were 2 fatalities. Incident occurred at 13:46 hours. The airframe was destroyed. Incident occurred at Olympia Municipal Airport, Olympia, Washington. The aircraft Ground looped or water swerved during the takeoff run. Stalled or mushed during the initial climb. The factors included; unapproved modification. FAA examiner remarks include: Partially completed dual control modification.[4]

In 1980, the aircraft was sold to William A. Speer, of La Mesa, California, who restored it. In 1988, it made its first restored flight. It first raced as #45, then as #55 using the name Pegasus. The plane was sold at auction in December 1994.[4]

Bob Button of Button Transportation Inc., Wellington, Nevada, owned the plane from 1995 to 1998. He renamed it Voodoo Chile, and raced it as #55.[4] In 1998, the highly modified P-51 raced at the National Championship Air Races in Reno. In 2007, Bob Button retired from air racing after a malfunction.[5] In the 2011 Reno air races, Voodoo and The Galloping Ghost were running in second and third place, respectively, when the latter crashed. In 2013, Voodoo, still owned by Bob Button, was raced at Reno by Steven Hinton, Jr., who won the unlimited gold trophy and the national championship while reaching speeds of over 500 mph (800 km/h).[6] Hinton won again in 2014[6][7] and 2016.

After Voodoo underwent further modifications including removal of the aircraft's racer paint scheme, and sponsored by Aviation Partners, Hinton made an attempt to break the 3 km World Speed Record of 528.33 mph (850.26 km/h) set by Rare Bear on August 21, 1989. The record attempt was set to occur on August 27, 2017 at an undisclosed location in Idaho[8] but was delayed until the next day due to weather conditions.[9] The attempt was finally flown on 2 September 2017, with the fastest of four runs recorded as 554.69 mph (892.69 km/h) and an average speed of 531.53 mph (855.41 km/h). While this broke the C-1e record set by Will Whiteside in the Yak-3U Steadfast in 2012, due to changes in record measurement standards the Rare Bear record was not bettered as it had to be beaten by at least 1% (533.6 mph).[10]


"Voodoo" at the Reno Air Races, September 14, 2014
Pilot Steven Hinton, Jr with Voodoo at the 2014 Reno Air Races
  • February 8, 1951: BOC, RCAF 9289
  • August 14, 1959: SOC, RCAF 9289
  • 1958: N6526D, import, James Defuria / Intercontinental Airways, Canastota, New York
  • 1960: N6526D, sold to R. Ferrer, Patchoque, New York
  • 1962: N6526D, crashed, Virginia
  • 1966: N6526D, sold to Frank Guzman, Massapequa, Pennsylvania
  • 1968: N6526D, sold to Don Bateman, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 1969: N6526D, sold to Mike Coutches, Hayward, California; black w/ gold stripe
  • 1974: N6526D, sold to H. Matteri, State Line, Nevada
  • 1975: N6526D, sold to William Veatch, Olympia, Washington
  • 1977: N6526D, March 19, crashed, Olympia, Washington; major damage
  • 1980: N6526D, sold to Bill Speer, La Mesa, California; restored as Pegasus; modified for racing
  • 1996: N6526D, sold to Delbert Williams, Voodoo Chile
  • 1997: N551VC, sold to Bob Button, Dixon, California
  • 1997: Raced by Tiger Destefani; bare metal, #55 raced as Voodoo Chile
  • 2006: Raced each year at Reno; Bob Button assumes piloting in 2005
  • 2008: Will Whiteside became the race pilot for Team Voodoo
  • 2009: Turtle deck and race canopy reinstalled
  • 2010: Team Voodoo performed well, but the final race was cancelled due to high winds
  • 2011: The final was again cancelled
  • 2011: Offered for sale in November; not sold
  • 2013: Steven Hinton, Jr. and Voodoo Unlimited Gold Champion at Reno, Nevada
  • 2014: Steven Hinton, Jr. and Voodoo Unlimited Gold Champion at Reno, Nevada.[11]
  • 2015: Steven Hinton, Jr. and Voodoo did not finish the Unlimited Gold final due to engine issues[12]
  • 2016: Steven Hinton, Jr. and Voodoo Unlimited Gold Champion at Reno, Nevada with race average speed of 460.306 mph and winning time of 08:21.980[13]
  • 2 September 2017: Steven Hinton, Jr. and Voodoo break C-1e speed record at Challis, Idaho
  • 17 September 2017: Voodoo came in second to Strega flown by James Consalvi in the Unlimited Gold race at the Reno National Championship Air Races.[14]
  • 28 December 2017 Voodoo donated to Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California. Registration transfer change completed on 5 April, 2018.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2016 Unlimited Gold Results". Reno Air Racing Association. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  2. ^ "2014 Aircraft Report". Reports.airrace.org. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Hinton makes Reno magic in 'Voodoo'". Aopa.com. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "North American Mustang IV, s/n 9289 RCAF, c/n 122-39874, c/r N551VC". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  5. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yarNbC_ppts
  6. ^ a b Jansma, Lyle. "Inside the Cockpit: P-51 Mustang "Voodoo"". Air & Space/Smithsonian. National Air and Space Museum.
  7. ^ "National Championship Air Races: 2014 Race Winners".
  8. ^ "World Speed Record Attempt". Pursuit Aviation. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  9. ^ "UPDATE". Pursuit Aviation on Facebook. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Steve Hinton, Jr breaks Absolute Propeller-Driven Piston Powered 3-KM speed record". The Vintage Aviation Echo. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  11. ^ "P-51 Mustang Survivors - MustangsMustangs.com". Mustangsmustangs.com. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Reno Unlimited Gold Race 2015 with Voodoo mayday landing". Voodoo1650. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  13. ^ "2016 Unlimited Gold Results". Reno Air Racing Association. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Strega dethrones Voodoo". AOPA. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Voodoo airframe identity history". Mustangs Mustangs. Retrieved 17 September 2018.