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Thrust-powered Land Speed information => Discussions on absolute land speed records => Topic started by: J79 on February 03, 2018, 08:45:42 PM

Title: Why the 1996 Spirit of America Car rolled on its side at 675mph.
Post by: J79 on February 03, 2018, 08:45:42 PM
I'm speculating that the car rolled on its side because he drove into a 15mph cross wind, there could be other reasons. There was a misunderstanding on the wind speeds on the course. Craig thought they meant 1.5mph winds on the course and it was 15mph. Interview with Craig Breedlove.

Richard Noble’s record at the time was 633 mph. I was anxious to get the record back and go to a Shell marketing meeting that afternoon and tell them we did it. But we had some problems on the first run and the [after]burner wouldn’t light. Between the burner and a problem with timing equipment, we lost about two hours. We got ready to run the car back, and I was belted in and ready to go. We had a guy in a plane to check that the course was clear and get a wind report. The wind on the first run was a 1.5-knot crosswind. The report came in for the second run and it said “one five” so I thought it was still 1.5 knots but what I didn’t get was that it was 15 knots, not 1.5. We’d lost all this time and still had to make two runs [for the record], and I was all strapped in with my race face on, breathing mask on, looking down the course, jet engine on and brake on, ready to go, so I heard one five and figured I was good to go. They had moved the throttle stop up because the burner didn’t light on the run down and they wanted to make sure they had enough throttle to light the burner, and when I rolled into burner it was “whoa, that’s way too much wick up!”   I didn’t want to go supersonic because we hadn’t done enough test runs, so I had to back out of the throttle three times going down and finally I could see the light, and rolled into burner, and as soon as I broke the first light I looked at the speedometer and it had just cleared 675, so I had to ease up in the mile or I’m gonna be at 800 coming out the backside of this thing. Right then the wind caught me and blew the car on its side, so then I had a whole other problem. It went up on its side into the wind, and then started to settle, then came up again then dropped down on its wheels. By then I was pointed at a Winnebago in the viewing area, so I had to get around it and get it stopped. The car was damaged severely. Outside of that we’d have had the record no problem. (

Title: Re: Why the 1996 Spirit of America Car rolled on its side at 675mph.
Post by: salt27 on February 03, 2018, 11:30:41 PM
15 knots = a bit over 17 mph, not to nitpick just to clarify.