The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Mind-boggling !!!

It ticks me off every day when I see speed-freaks careening down the expressway, unmindful of the fact that there are others on the road. The fact that there are radar cameras every two kilometers seems to make little difference.


But even these jocks will be put to shame by a RAF fighter pilot, Wing Commander Andy Green, OBE, holder of the World Land Speed record. Incidentally, he once flew the F4 Phantom, my all-time favourite jet fighter-bomber.


Andy Green became the first person to break the sound barrier on land. Fifty years and day after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in an aircraft, Green reached 763.035 mph in a ThrustSSC.


Andy Green and the ThrustSSC

Andy Green and the ThrustSSC


But, it does not end there. He is now working on an attempt to break the 1,000 mph mark (Mach 1.4) in a jet engine/rocket-powered hybrid named BloodhoundSSC!!! The 1,000 mph attempt is likely to take place in 2011.


The “car”, if one can call it by that term is still at the design stage, but is mind-boggling in concept. It is likely to be 42 feet long, will weigh around 6.7 tonnes when fully fuelled, and will feature a streamlined body constructed out of carbon composites. It is likely to be powered by the EJ200 jet engine that is used on the Eurofighter Typhoon, with a hybrid rocket strapped on.


There are huge design and other parameters that are still to be worked out. How will the vehicle behave as it approaches the speed of sound? Will it veer off because of the enormous forces that will come to play? Generating the thrust required is one thing, controlling the vehicle is another.


The sheer power of the rocket engine means that there will be very little control. The required control will be provided by the jet engine that will propel the vehicle to 300 mph, after which the rocket engine will kick in.


Andy Green is unfazed about this quest into the unknown. Calling this an engineering adventure, he says, “We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. All sorts of things might occur, but they’re unlikely to be instantaneous or catastrophic. I’m unlikely to enter a wormhole in space and disappear. It’s more likely to be, ‘Hmmm, that’s a bit odd…’ ”


Cool, real cool. As if he is going for a stroll on a pleasant evening!!!


What of the expressway speed-freaks? Some things will never change!!!


March 14, 2009 - Posted by | About this and that | , ,

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