Land Speed Record

1 January 2017

The land speed record (or absolute land speed record) is the highest speed achieved by a wheeled vehicle on land. There is no single body for validation and regulation; in practice the Category C (“Special Vehicles”) flying start regulations are used, officiated by regional or national organizations under the auspices of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. The record is standardized as the speed over a course of fixed length, averaged over two runs (commonly called “passes”).

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Two runs are required in opposite directions within one hour, and a new record mark must exceed the previous one by one percent to be validated. There are numerous other class records for cars; motorcycles fall into a separate class. What is the fastest speed at which anyone has ever travelled on Earth? The Thrust SSC (Super Sonic Car) is a British jet-propelled car developed by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers and Jeremy Bliss and it is also the fastest vehicle to ever travel on land.

The Thrust SSC holds the World Land Speed Record, set on 15 October 1997, when it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph) and became the first car to officially break the sound barrier at Mach 1. 02. The speed of sound is estimated to be roughly around 740 MPH, but varies depending on temperature and elevation. The car was driven by Royal Air Force fighter pilot Wing Commander Andy Green in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, United States.

It was powered by two afterburning Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, as used in the British version of the F-4 Phantom II jet fighter. The car was 16. 5 m (54 ft) long, 3. 7 m (12 ft) wide and weighed 10. 5 tons (10. 7 t), and the twin engines developed a net thrust of 223 kN (50,000 lbf), a power output of 110,000 bhp (82MW), burning around 18 litres per second (4. 0 Imperial gallons/s or 4. 8 US gallons/s).

Transformed into the usual terms for car mileages based on its maximum speed, the fuel consumption was about 5,500 l/100 km or 0. 4 mpg U. S. The record run in October 1997 was preceded by extensive test runs of the vehicle in Autumn 1996 and Spring 1997 in the Al-Jafr desert (located in Ma’an Governorate) in Jordan, a location unknown before for its capabilities as a test range for high speed land vehicles, with numerous advantages compared to the salt deserts of the Western United States. When did the concept of the land speed record first come into being?

The first regulators were the Automobile Club de France, who proclaimed themselves arbiters of he record in about 1902. Different clubs had different standards and did not always recognise the same world records until 1924, when the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) introduced new regulations: two passes in opposite directions (to negate the effects of wind) averaged with a maximum of 30 minutes (later more) between runs, average gradient of the racing surface not more than 1 percent, timing gear accurate within 0. 01 sec, and cars must be wheel-driven.

National or regional auto clubs (such as AAA and SCTA) had to be AIACR members to ensure records would be recognized. The AIACR became the FIA in 1947. Controversy arose in 1963: Spirit of America failed on being a three-wheeler (leading the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme to certify the record when the FIA refused) and not wheel-driven so the FIA introduced a special wheel-driven class. No holder of the absolute record since has been wheel-driven. Find out about one person who has devoted some of his/her life to challenging this record and succeeded.

It need not to be the current record holder. Richard Noble Richard Noble, OBE (born 6 March 1946) was the holder of the land speed record between 1983 and 1997, and was the project director of Thrust SSC, the vehicle which holds the current land speed record, set at Black Rock Desert, Nevada in 1997. Thrust 2, the record-breaking car driven by Noble, travelled at 633. 468 mph (1019 km/h). The accomplishment won Noble the 1983 Segrave Trophy. Thrust SSC, the supersonic car driven by Andy Green, broke the record at 763. 035 mph (1221 km/h) or Mach 1. 2.

Noble is planning another land speed record attempt to take place in 2011: Bloodhound SSC aims to pass the 1,000mph mark. Noble was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and educated at Winchester College and became a qualified pilot. In 1984 he exploited a production hiatus at Cessna aircraft to create a new all-British light aircraft, the ARV Super2. Only some 35 ARVs were made before the Isle of Wight factory closed; but production is planned to resume at Opus Aircraft in North Carolina. Noble’s next project was to develop a “Farnborough Air Taxi”, i. e. six-passenger single-engined turboprop low-wing aircraft (a sort of cut-down Pilatus PC-12) that could operate out of small airstrips.

The intended market was to provide transport for businessmen who found the existing air, rail and road networks too inflexible and expensive. Noble started Farnborough Aircraft in 1998, but after failing to find backing from any major financial institution, sold shares to small investors. A bitter dispute followed, and development stopped while new investment was found. The rights to the design were sold and design and development continues.

A prototype has been flying since 2006 but certification and production remain uncertain. In 2010 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Technology by the University of the West of England. Noble’s autobiography is entitled “Thrust”. What sort of vehicle did he/she use? What fuel did it use? The vehicle that Richard Noble drove was the Thrust 2. It is a British designed and built jet propelled car, designed by John Ackroyd and the vehicle held the world land speed record from 4 October 1983 to 25 September 1997.

The vehicle reached a top speed of 650. 88 mph (1,047. 9 km/h) and broke the record at 633. 468 mph (1,019. 468 km/h) (average speed of two runs within one hour). This was achieved at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA. It is powered by a single Rolls-Royce Avon jet engine sourced from an English Electric Lightning, and has a configuration somewhat resembling that of the mid-1960s-era J79 turbojet-powered land speed record cars of Art Arfons, collectively known as the “Green Monster” cars. The vehicle used 250,000 gallons of fuel and they were asking if they could donate money to help pay for this amount of fuel and be a part of history.

The car burned about 4. 8 gallons of fuel per second. When the car was offered for sale at ? 90,000 in 1991, an extensive fundraising campaign was organised without government assistance to keep the car in Britain. The bid was successful, and today Thrust2 and its successor, Thrust SSC, are displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum in Coventry, England. What special features allowed this vehicle to attain such large speeds? The team building the car, on a computer, used finite element analysis to design the unique aluminium wheels, which had to withstand a G-force in excess of 35,000 G’s.

The wheels were forged by HDA Forgings and then machined by Dunlop Aviation, who tested them on a dynamometer at 9,500 rpm. SKF contributed special tungsten carbide roller wheel bearings, and Castrol developed the lubrication technology that would enable the bearings to reliably withstand 8,500 rpm. Arrows are made with weight at the front, so to provide stability, a forward centre of gravity was called for. Concern for the safety of the driver lead to the decision to use two jet engines, with one on either side of the driver.

At speed, this would make it easier for the driver to have a feel for what the car was doing. As a bonus, the two engines would also provide enough thrust to overcome tremendous aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance. To minimize the aerodynamic drag, the frontal area of the car naturally had to be kept to an absolute minimum. The front wheels were to be located under the inlet ducts for the engines. Since the carbon front brakes and independent front suspension had already spoken for all of the available space around the front wheels, this presented the problem of providing room for the front wheels to steer.

They theorized that the frontal area of the car could be kept to its ideal minimum if the rear wheels provided the steering. He proposed mounting one rear wheel ahead of the other, spaced apart laterally as was allowed by the narrow rear end of the car, with both steering. What environment is used as the arena for these record attempts? The environment used as the arena for land speed record attempts are wide open spaces usually deserts. One place used for land speed record attempts was Bonneville speedway.

Bonneville Speedway is an area of the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah, that is marked out for motor sports. It is particularly noted as the venue for numerous land speed records. The salt flats were first used for motor sports in 1912, but didn’t become truly popular until the 1930s when Ab Jenkins and Sir Malcolm Campbell competed to set land speed records. Another place used more recently for these attempts was the Black Rock Desert. The Black Rock Desert is an arid region in the northern Nevada section of the Great Basin with a lakebed that is a dry remnant of Pleistocene Lake Lahontan.

The region is notable for its palaeogeological features, as an area of 19th-century Emigrant Trails to California, and as a venue for rocketry, and as an alternative to the Bonneville Salt Flats in north western Utah, for land speed records. It hosted the world record attempts by Richard Noble in the ‘Thrust 2’ car on October 4th, 1983 and the more recent attempts by Andy Green in the ‘Thrust SSC’ on September 25th, 1997 and also on the October 15th, 1997. It is also the location for the annual Burning Man festival. What features make this arena suitable for use?

The features that make these arenas suitable for use at land speed records attempts, are there wide open spaces for miles and that they are easily accessible. The Bonneville Salt Flats are a great example of this. Historically, the speedway was marked out by the Utah Department of Transportation at the start of each summer. Originally, two tracks were prepared, a 10 mile long straightway for speed trials and an oval or circular track for distance runs, which was typically between 10 and 12 miles (16 and 19 km) long depending on the condition of the salt surface.

The Black Rock Desert is another great example of this. The Black Rock Desert region is in north western Nevada and the north western Great Basin. The playa extends for approximately 100 mi (160 km) northeast from the towns of Gerlach and Empire, between the Jackson Mountains to the east and the Calico Mountains to the west. The Black Rock Desert is separated into two arms by the Black Rock Range. It lies at an elevation of 3,907 ft (1,191 m) and has an area of about 1,000 sq mi (2,600 km2). Do you think the current record is likely to be broken in the near future?

Yes I believe the current record is likely to be broken in the near future almost as soon as next year. The same crew that built the ‘Thrust SSC’ are currently building a new car called the ‘Thrust Bloodhound SSC’. The Bloodhound SSC is the name of a project aiming to break the land speed record with a pencil-shaped car powered by a jet engine and a rocket designed to reach approximately 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km/h). It is being developed and built with the intention of breaking the land speed record by the largest ever margin. If ? 0 million of sponsorship funding is obtained the construction should be complete by the end of 2011 and the record attempts may happen in late 2011 or early 2012.

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