1280km/h Bloodhound Super Sonic Car set for October test
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A new timeline for the Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) land speed record will push the starting date for trial runs into October.
Shakedown runs on the 2.7km runway at Cornwall Airport Newquay are scheduled for October 26 when the EJ200 jet engine - sourced from a Eurofighter Typhoon - is set to take the car up to 320km/h.
The delay in the runway trials from earlier this year means the record attempts at the Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa won't begin until next year.
RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, who steered Thrust SSC to the current record of 763.035mph (1228km/h) on October 15, 1997, will be at the wheel of Bloodhound SSC for the runway trials to test the car's steering, brakes, suspension and data systems.
Before that, the jet engine will be run up with the car chained to the ground to test the performance of the air intake, fuel, and electrical systems. If those checks are successful, the dynamic testing will follow.
Those tests will measure the low-speed capability of the jet engine intake - positioned above the cockpit - and designed to work best at speeds above 800mph (1280km/h).
Project engineers need to determine how the engine performs at low speeds and how soon full power can be applied. This "real world" acceleration data will enable chief aerodynamicist Ron Ayers to plan the sequence of runs in South Africa to break the record.
The Newquay trials will be Green's first opportunity to experience Bloodhound's steering, noise, vibration, throttle and brake action. It is also the first opportunity to train the support crew and develop the car's operating procedures, safety protocols, and practise radio communications; all vital to a record attempt.
At Newquay, the car will be powered by the jet engine alone and run on wheels shod with Dunlop pneumatic tyres from an English Electric Lightning fighter. Because the runway wheels are slightly thicker than the solid aluminium wheels that will be used in the desert, some sections of carbon fibre bodywork will not be fitted.
"The runway trials at Cornwall Airport Newquay will be the biggest milestone in the history of the project so far," says Richard Noble, Bloodhound project director. "They will provide important data on the performance of the car and give us a first opportunity to rehearse the procedures we'll use when we go record breaking."
The world land speed record of 763.035mph (1228km/h) was set by Thrust SSC; a UK team led by Noble and driven by Green. That record was set at Nevada's Black Rock Desert. For the Bloodhound project, a perfectly flat, longer course, at least 19km long and 3km wide is required.
The Hakskeen Pan in South Africa was selected and 317 people from the local community were employed to clear the desert. They have shifted 15,800 tonnes of stones by hand, from an area of 22 million square metres, the equivalent of clearing three lanes of a motorway from Bristol to Moscow.
The team will aim to raise the record above 800mph (1280km/h) before setting out to reach Bloodhound SSC's ultimate goal of 1000mph (1600km/h) . To achieve that, the car will accelerate from 0-1000mph in 55 seconds and back to zero in 65 seconds, during which time it will cover 19km.
Bloodhound SSC has three power plants -- the Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet, a cluster of Nammo hybrid rockets and a 550bhp supercharged Jaguar V8 engine that drives the rocket oxidiser pump. Between them they generate 135,000 thrust horsepower.