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LAND SPEED RECORD CONTENDERS – NEW ZEALAND


Jetblack A


nnounced during October 2011, when the eyes of much of the sporting world were


on New Zealand watching the Rugby World Cup, Jetblack is the most recent contender to enter the race to the world land speed record. The first such project to emerge from New Zealand, Jetblack is aiming to attempt the record in 2016 and ultimately go on to break 1000mph, and has put together a partnership of national and international minds and companies to set about that aim. The design team includes Wing Commander Frank Dyer (lead engineer) and Glynne Bowsher (wheel design), formerly chief mechanical engineer on Thrust SSC. Project founder and director,


Richard Nowland, was originally intent on breaking the New Zealand and Australian land speed records, after successfully bidding for a pair of ex-RAF Rolls Royce Avon 206 turbojet engines in an online auction in 2007. But since then his sights have been raised and now his brainchild, Jetblack, is to be powered by a turbofan engine and two ‘throttle-able’ hybrid rocket motors, the latter being manufactured by the Space Propulsion Group in California using similar technology to the engines used by Virgin Galactic’s passenger spacecraft. Naturally, Jetblack has to


accommodate intakes for its jet engine, but the team’s aerodynamicist, Richard Roake, does not see this as a cause for


TECH SPEC


Jetblack (www.jetblack.co.nz) Length: 12.9m (42ft 4in) Weight: est. 3500kg (7700lb) dry


Chassis: carbon composite monocoque


Engine: Turbofan plus two hybrid rocket motors


Thrust: Turbofan up to 20,000lb (89kN); rockets – two x 20,000lb (178kN)


Wheels: 850mm diameter forged aluminium


Brakes: not specified


concern: ‘In the CFD work done so far [originally by David Egan and Cape CFD], drag and shock management of the inlet posed


no problems up to our design speed, but the mass flow inside the intake did not match our expectations so more work is required here.’ Not only is Jetblack a


completely different shape, it will have the only all-composite chassis among the current crop of land speed record contenders, designed by Dr Mark Battley of Applied Engineering Research Ltd. Thanks to its world class boat building prowess, as showcased in the America’s Cup, New Zealand is a centre of excellence in composite technology, and this expertise will be tested to the full as the project steers clear of the usual and perhaps more conservative steel frame chassis found in most land speed record vehicles.


January 2012 • www.racecar-engineering.com 25


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