posted 08-25-2006 04:04 AM
A group of men and women, from the United States and Canada, are building the world's fastest automobile. Their goal is to break the current world land speed record set on October 15, 1997 by UK RAF Pilot Andy Green driving the UK Thrust SSC to a new world record of 763 MPH (Mach 1.02). Their competitive vehicle is called ‘North American Eagle’ and has conducted at least 10 test runs to date. The fastest it's gone so far has been approximately 312mph in March of 2005.
More details about the North American Eagle (NAE) world land speed record challenger can be found at http://www.landspeed.com/Default.asp
An abandoed F-104 fuselage (Serial # 56-763) is used as the platform for the North American Eagle (NAE) vehicle. It was discovered that this aircraft was used as a chase plane for the X-15 project. Two famous pilots, Joe Walker (NASA's chief pilot who flew nearly every X-plane) flew 763 on 20th September 1960 and Bill Dana (X-15 and lifting body pilot) had two listings in his log for Jan 13, 1965 and June 20,1968. Since then it has been learned that several other X-15 pilots also flew ‘chase’ in this aircraft including Joe Engle, Pete Knight, Bill Dana, Scott Crossfield and Chuck Yeager.
There are other ‘space arena’ connections with North American Eagle in that the decelerating parachute manufacturer has a backup NASA Pioneer Venus drogue parachute canister which was manufactured from a solid billet of aluminum.
Also the NAE team is considering using an Xcor 2000 version of the LR-11 rocket engine that once powered the Bell X-1 and the X-15 rocket plane . The engine would be used for added boost during the acceleration phase of the land speed record attempt.
Its a bit ironic I should be posting this article since I pass the UK JCB factory every weekday where the diesel DieselMax world land speed record vehicle was built.
The British JCB team broke the world diesel landspeed record yesterday with a vehicle powered by two JCB digger engines fitted with twin turbos. Wing Commander Andy Green, RAF Harrier pilot drove the slender yellow JCB Dieselmax to an average speed of 328.767mph during two runs on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.