In the Kalahari Desert of South Africa the Bloodhound LSC (Land Speed Car) screams across the Hakskeen Pan on a hand-cleared race track 12 miles long and two miles wide. As part of a complicated testing schedule, on Saturday, November 16, Andy Green squeezed into the cockpit and took the Bloodhound out for a planned 605 miles per hour run.
Land speed records are the rock stars of the automotive world; flashy cars, drivers with boat loads of courage and self-confidence and car owners with boat loads of cash, all seeking to make history. Green, already the fastest man on earth from a 1997 run in the Bloodhound SSC at 763 miles per hour, is looking to break his own record and catapult himself even further beyond land speed legends such as Craig Breedlove, Gary Gabelich and father and son record holders Mickey and Danny Thompson.
Green and the Bloodhound LSC started gently until reaching 50 miles per hour when he opened up the throttle on the Rolls Royce EJ200 jet engine, and 50 seconds later he reached their planned maximum velocity of 615 miles per hour, Green let up on the throttle to stabilize the rocket car and prepare to deploy the parachute when he noticed that at this speed there is a power carryover of about half a second. This pushed the speed of the Bloodhound to 628 miles per hour. The whole thing was over from start to stop in seven miles.
A post run inspection showed that the airflow beneath the car went supersonic and stripped the paint from under the vehicle just behind the front aluminum wheels. It is these test runs to predetermined speeds that help piece together the technology and engineering needed to remain stable at these ridiculous speeds.
The EJ200 jet engine was donated from a Eurofighter Typhoon that was bound for retirement at a museum. Further tests will be made with a needed hybrid rocket designed by Nammo that will enable the car to reach the kind of speeds the project is looking for.
Next up for the Bloodhound LSC is a return to the United Kingdom for a complete inspection and refit before returning to South Africa in 12 to 18 months for an assault on its own record. After that, plans will be made for obtaining the ultimate goal of breaking 1,000 miles per hour on dry land.
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