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Hot Stuff: Wasabi Special Emerges From Mojave Group Effort

 

Wasabi
Plans are for the Wasabi Special to compete in the Formula 1 class at Reno this year.

Wasabi
The Wasabi Special is largely carbon fiber, powered by a Continental O-200 engine.

August 20, 2013 - At a tent talk session during AirVenture Oshkosh, Elliot Seguin of Scaled Composites led a team of DIYers from Mojave, California, in unveiling the Wasabi Special. The goal for the composite single-seater is to compete as Race 68 in the Formula One class at Reno next month.

The airplane was designed as a research and development platform/prototype, Seguin said. "Jenn (Whaley) and I had some ideas about aircraft design, manufacture, and test we wanted to try out."

Seguin and Whaley met while crewing for Jon Sharp's Team Nemesis NXT and were both into air racing. The Wasabi Special (Jenn calls it "The Siren") was designed to comply with the Reno F-1 class rules.

At the end of the day, they just like to build airplanes - typical EAA stuff, Seguin said. "So we built the airplane to be a technology demonstrator, a platform on which we could try stuff. Right now the push is to make Reno, after that who knows."

Seguin hinted that a kit could be in the plans at some point. "The airplane is almost entirely built from carbon fiber and is all tooled, so it could be kitted if there was interest," he said.

Power comes from a Continental O-200. The Formula class requires 66 square feet of wing area and a minimum empty weight of 500 pounds. Wasabi Special's wingspan is 23 feet.

"The FAA requires we demonstrate race environment before racing, so we took the airplane to 285 mph, 8g, and 4,200 rpm simultaneously," Seguin explained. "We decided this was a conservative top end to the envelope going into Reno."

A number of people from Scaled have been involved on the Wasabi Special project, including Justin Gillen, Ken Baker, Mike Melvill, Mark Bassett, Chris Higbee, Josh Lee, Rick Poe, Susan Fine, Rick Aldrich, and Cory Bird.

Sponsors include Nemesis Air Racing, Grove Aircraft, Experimental Aircraft Exhaust, MGL Avionics, Twisted Composites, Sierra Technical Services, and Aerochia.

Watch a video showing the Wasabi Special test flights, produced by Elliot's brother Logan Seguin. Follow the progress at the Wasabi Special website.

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