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Death to Turbines!

(We gotta get rid of these turbines; they are ruining boat racing!)

We need to go back to big piston engines.

Anybody can start a turbine; you just set the throttle, push a button, add a little start fuel and wait. No drama. My PC is harder to start!

Starting a piston engine requires skill, finesse and style. Sometimes a driver can’t even start a piston engine. Then the crew chief (much better skilled at this type of task) needs to start the piston engine, warm it up and re-educate the driver for his next try.

Turbines start by whining for a while, then give a small lady-like poot and start whining louder.

Piston engines give a satisfying rattle-rattle, click-click, BANG, more rattles, fire out the exhaust stacks, another BANG, a big macho fart or two, a lot of smoke and finally a serious low pitched roar. Much better – it’s a guy thing.

When you start a piston engine, your mind is engaged and you have to concentrate on the task at hand and the upcoming race. Starting a turbine is like flicking on a ceiling fan: Useful, but hardly exciting.

Turbines don’t break often enough (with notable exceptions), leading to driver boredom, complacency and inattention. A piston engine at race power looks and sounds like it is going to blow at any minute. This helps concentrate the mind.

Turbines don’t have enough control levers to keep the driver’s attention. There is nothing like a mixture control to fine tune at the end of the straight to get the last little bit of power. Just right and you go really fast, too much and a great big BANG. Driver skill at its best or worst.

Turbines smell like a Boy Scout camp full of Coleman lanterns. Piston engines smell like God intended racing engines to smell.

Turbines whine ----- piston engines ROAR!

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The humorous piece "Death to Turbines" has been adapted from Bob McKellar's original aviation piece to boat racing by Dixon Smith. Mr. Smith was an engineering consultant for the Miss Budweiser team, focusing on development work with the team's T-55L7C turbine engines. Mr. Smith is also the owner of and engine builder for the vintage Miss Bardahl, a Rolls-Royce Merlin piston powered boat.

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Serious Low Pitch Roar!

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Ceiling Fan!

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