The BLOODHOUND SSC project makes history with its first ever test runs, during which the supersonic combined jet engine and rocket powered car was set to achieve speeds of up to 200 mph on the runway at Newquay Airport in Cornwall. Air compressors and advanced air, electric and mechanical assembly and fastening tools from Atlas Copco have played an integral role throughout the development, assembly and test stages of the project that is aiming to break the current record of 763.035 mph and go 1000 mph. The event in Newquay is a huge step towards realising this goal.
The current holder of the world land speed record, wing commander Andy Green, will blast down the 1.7 mile runway witnessed by sponsors and the ticket holding public. “The runway trials at Newquay Airport will be the biggest milestone in the history of the project so far,” says Richard Noble, Bloodhound’s 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 attempt to break the world land speed record.”
The car being tested in Newquay will be a ‘minimum specification runway car’. It will not have the rocket system, airbrakes or brake parachutes fitted, as they are not essential for relatively slow speed runs.
To assist development, both the BLOODHOUND Project’s Technology Centre in Avonmouth and the Newquay test unit were equipped exclusively with Atlas Copco workshop compressors and assembly tools.
A GA15VSD+ FF full feature rotary screw compressor, together with filtration and a 5000-litre air receiver, was supplied to the Avonmouth facility by Atlas Copco Compressors with the principal role of ‘dry’ actuating the car’s EJ200 turbofan jet engine. In the live test runs, this duty will be undertaken by an on-site air start cart at Newquay; where the workshops also feature a GX5 fixed-speed compressor plus a 250-litre air receiver installed for general engineering duties.
During the demanding development and assembly operations of the project, both workshops have been supported with a range of advanced electric, battery and air powered tools, plus associated hosing and couplings, donated by sponsor Atlas Copco Tools. This equipment is being used primarily for vehicle build and test operations where fastening torque settings are critical. The calibrated high accuracy and quality assurance of the company’s battery powered ST wrenches in particular have been employed on the fastening of the vehicle’s wheel hubs and other significant components. In addition, air- powered LBB drills have been used extensively to provide rivet holes for the fuselage and stabilising fin assembly.
As Chris Dee, the project’s lead assembly and build engineer comments:
When the final tests are completed BLOODHOUND SSC will undergo several months of trials on the 12 miles long, 2 miles wide Hakskeen Pan track in South Africa. While there it will build up to achieve speeds to break the current land speed record of 763 mph (1227.98 km/h). Then eventually, the BLOODHOUND team will attempt to set a new record at 1000 mph (1609 km/h).
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