North American Team Prepares for Land Speed Record at 800MPH! El Mirage, CA Against a dramatic backdrop of the high desert and open skies Ed Shadle performed medium speed test runs in his land speed car, the NORTH AMERICAN EAGLE. These runs...
North American Team Prepares for Land Speed Record at 800MPH!
El Mirage, CA Against a dramatic backdrop of the high desert and open skies Ed Shadle performed medium speed test runs in his land speed car, the NORTH AMERICAN EAGLE. These runs were in preparation of becoming the fastest man on earth, in 2007. Shadle's mission, along with partner and co-owner Keith Zanghi, is to shatter the world's land speed record in the NAE-a converted Lockheed F-104 Starfighter-by blasting across the desert at over 800 MPH.
The current land speed record of 763 MPH, or Mach 1.2, was set October 15th, 1997 by Andy Green of Great Britain and the Thrust SSC. Ed, his craft, and his American-Canadian team intend to change all that and bring the record back to North America.
"Continuous testing is the key to our success-clearly the horsepower is there and we know it will go fast," said a proud Shadle. Ed and his team have good reason to boast; the conversion of a celebrated Mach 2 fighter jet to the equivalent of every hot rodder's dream has been no easy feat. While hopes ran high at the beginning of the week, this month's test runs at El Mirage showed just how challenging the running of a land speed car could be.
The week of test runs was dogged by high temperatures, dry thunder storms and high winds with the NAE team working around the clock to fine tune the hydraulic steering and braking systems, often not leaving the lake bed until midnight and returning at 5:30 AM to continue adjustments. The time spent on the lake bed was vital in allowing the team to work out the kinks of unloading and firing up the NAE.
Due to weather and track limitations the test runs never exceeded 250 MPH however the team successfully tested their braking and parachute system. While the engine and brakes worked flawlessly steering still causes a challenge, though the team is confident problems will be solved. The setup and takedown of the car still presents a challenge, however steps are being taken to smooth out the process.
The lessons learned at El Mirage will prove essential for upcoming runs this fall at Black Rock Dry Lake Bed, NV. and at the record attempt in 2007. The continuous testing of systems, long hours, and dramatic weather challenged the team to perform their best under high stress. As the time nears for the next run the team will look back on El Mirage as a welcome challenge and valuable lesson.