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TECH SPEC


ENGINE: S&S LM-1500 / J-79 Supplied by: S&S Turbine Services Ltd


Fuel capacity: 105 gallons


Thrust: 18,750ft.lb (83.4kN / approx 37,500bhp) with afterburner and water injection


Oil capacity: 2.5 gallons


CONSTRUCTION: Steel tube frame with stressed aluminum skin Carbon / Kevlar / glass fibre composite driver capsule, engine inlets, and rear wheel fairings


Tyres: filament-wound carbon / glass composite material with rubberised epoxy matrix


Wheels: aluminum billet hub; special alloy spun disc heat treated; steel fasteners


The Fossett team installed aerospace grade hard line and fire-sleeved all wiring harnesses, note the chassis frame Wheel bearings: tapered rollers


Suspension / front: coilover hydraulic shocks


Suspension / rear: variable deflection beam Steering: worm and sector


Parachutes: mortar deployed; supersonic capable Windscreen: Lexan


Electrical power: deep cycle batteries, 28V system


The office: a very basic cockpit shows the new emergency fuel shut off and all controls moved to the yoke (steering wheel)


by its distance from the c of g. On Breedlove’s design it was too weak to work at supersonic speed as it was right next to the c of g. It was essentially just billboard space. If you look at the Breedlove car, it had scallops in the rear wheel fairings, so we basically just filled those in and that eventually increased the area of the wheel fairings. That more than made up for the loss of the vertical stabiliser.’ During the runs at Black


Rock, Thrust SSC experienced something never before encountered by a car – the supersonic shock wave. Images of the car racing across the desert revealed huge waves ahead of the car, and distortions in the air around it. The blunt, cut-off bodywork around the jet nozzles


was causing expansion shocks to mix the jet thrust with playa dust, leading to buffeting of the tail section. This led to the car taking a severe punishing, with panels being torn off the rear of the body. In addition, the staggered rear wheels would have their individual transonic shock waves merge at just under 600mph resulting in an abrupt turn and a very ‘sporty’ ride for Wing Co Green. It was these same ‘compressibility’ forces that were first experienced by Luftwaffe pilots in the rocket-powered Me163 Komet fighter ‘plane in the Second World War and, later, that were responsible for the death of Geoffrey de Havilland jr in the de Havilland DH 108 Swallow jet research aircraft. In addition to violent buffeting, pilots reliant


Hybrid aluminum wheel-CFRP, tyre- FGRP cap, showed high durability. A set of 1300+ mph wheel assemblies comes with the programme.


on hinged aerodynamic surfaces for control found their aircraft controls non-responsive as they reached high Mach numbers, and it was not until the Bell X1 was fitted with a ‘flying tail’, similar to that planned for the stillborn Miles M.52, eventually followed by the application of German-lead research into swept wings, that the transonic problems were countered. The ‘sound barrier’ was, and is, a real thing and it lies right in the middle of the region where both Thrust SSC and the Fossett LSR would have to run in, though at this point in time, according to the FIA, only one of them is a true supersonic vehicle. ‘It is important to separate


two things in a dynamic sense, Thrust SSC was not a supersonic vehicle, despite its name (SSC


stood for Super Sonic Car), it was a transonic vehicle,’ explains Ahlstrom. ‘The transonic region starts below the speed of sound, where some of the flow starts to go supersonic over the vehicle and this starts to cause what we call supersonic boundary layer separation. This drag problem was the sound barrier that was spoken of in the early days of supersonic vehicles. As you accelerate through Mach 1 these areas of separated air are filled in by supersonic flow and, somewhere between Mach 1.1 and 1.30, the entire vehicle is enveloped in supersonic flow and that separation goes away. In a transonic region we have both the wake and the separation to deal with. Because of this, most modern aircraft cannot actually


January 2012 • www.racecar-engineering.com 11


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