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Author Topic: Last American team to hold the official ALSR Blue Flame Oct 23 1970 622.407mph  (Read 77671 times)
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4-barrel Mike
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« Reply #75 on: July 07, 2013, 12:48:14 PM »

http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Rocketman-Curious-Breaking/dp/0988199475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373219198&sr=8-1&keywords=reluctant+rocketman

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Phil UK
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« Reply #76 on: July 16, 2013, 04:13:17 AM »

It's been fantastic to see The Blue Flame over at the Goodwood Festival of Speed recently. Some great pics on the Speed Record Club's Facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.656216021074779.1073741833.359703307392720&type=1.

Quick question though, who was Gerard Brennan listed as "Alternate Driver"?

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* BF.jpg (82.76 KB, 960x639 - viewed 249 times.)

* BF.1.jpg (75.35 KB, 960x640 - viewed 267 times.)
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MAYOMAN
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« Reply #77 on: July 16, 2013, 07:53:20 PM »

To understand the “Alternate Driver” designation for Gerard Brennan, a little background is necessary.
The original driver for The Blue Flame was Chuck Suba, who piloted the X-1 rocket dragster – precursor to The Blue Flame. Gerard Brennan was a fellow car club member with Chuck and had driven several dragsters in the midwestern United States. He also was a skilled welder and fabricator. Gerard came on board Reaction Dynamics, at Chuck’s request, to help us build The Blue Flame.

After Chuck died in a dragster crash, Gary Gabelich was eventually hired to drive The Blue Flame. We believed it prudent to have a backup to Gary in the event he would not be available to drive the car on the salt flats. Gary was still active in drag racing and boat drags during the year prior to The Blue Flame running at Bonneville in 1970.

Gerard did operate The Blue Flame during some of the static testing of the rocket, prior to leaving for Bonneville, when Gary was not there. Gerard was an important member of the Reaction Dynamics team at the Salt Flats, servicing the vehicle, modifying the rocket motor, etc. Fortunately, he was never required to drive the car. Afterward, Gerard toured The Blue Flame across the United States and in Europe. He later went on to work as a member of the Shadow Racing group for Don Nichols and drove the Pollution Packer Bonneville Dragster for a brief time.


* Gerard.jpg (325.81 KB, 962x1200 - viewed 257 times.)
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JimL
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« Reply #78 on: July 16, 2013, 10:26:46 PM »

What a strange world it is.  This morning I stopped at McD's for a quick bite on my way to the self serve stone quarry.  A gentleman next to me struck up a conversation, where I learned he had grown up in Hungary, escaping at the time of the revolution to school in Germany, emigrated to the U.S. As a result of going to the U.S. Embassy library because he was hungry one morning. 

He said that friends told him they gave free coffee and snacks, and he was homeless at the time.  A young lady (working for the embassy) misunderstood his visit, filled out papers for him, and six months later he was living in America.  He subsequently became a sports/action photographer.  One of his assignments was the Blue Flame runs.

He told me they had great difficulty with their radio communications, and that they would watch for the first puff of smoke and try to get the pics.  The car accelerated so fast that they struggled to get pics and footage.

He said they finally figured out how to see the car coming, before it got to them at the 5 mile.  They found they could see the car upside down in the mirage above it, well before it could be seen on the ground.  They took photos of the mirage to prove it, he said. 

I was so flabbergasted, I never got his name.  I will be looking for him at breakfast times.  He lives alone on a 100 acre ranch just west of my little town of 7000 people.  He is a really interesting gentleman, and strangely enough, we both served in similar fields in the U.S. Army, in Germany, but about six years apart.

such a teeny, tiny world, shocked
 JimL
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« Reply #79 on: July 17, 2013, 02:17:32 AM »

I wish there was a way to get the BLUE FLAME back to america. The car has no business in germany. It should be sitting next to BIG'S SWAMP RAT 31.
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Robin UK
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« Reply #80 on: July 17, 2013, 02:42:30 AM »

Here's another pic of it at Goodwood. The LSR display was courtesy of Daytona International Speedway.

Robin


* Blue Flame Goodwood.jpg (230.28 KB, 640x432 - viewed 266 times.)
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Phil UK
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« Reply #81 on: July 17, 2013, 07:11:53 AM »

Thanks for the explanation Dick, just a name I hadn't heard mentioned before.
And a fabulous looking car by the way!

Regards,
Phil
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MAYOMAN
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« Reply #82 on: August 05, 2013, 10:02:12 AM »

Thanks, Mike, for posting the link to Ray Dausman’s story. Although Ray’s book, “Reluctant Rocketman”, is filled with inaccuracies, mostly inconsequential, there are a few that challenge the credibility of The Blue Flame’s achievement and of its sponsor, America’s natural gas industry. In fairness to our generous sponsor, that begs for correction.

Since Ray wasn’t around for the last year of the project, he apparently wasn’t aware of the maximum speed restriction imposed by the Goodyear Tire Company racing department for our first year’s (and only) attempt, 700 miles per hour. The Blue Flame was, however, originally designed with the intent of ultimately comfortably achieving Mach 1 plus, up to 850 miles per hour, with full thrust [22,000 pounds] and a larger LNG fuel tank. That larger LNG tank was never installed in 1970, to ensure compliance with the Goodyear 700 miles per hour mandate. So, we set the record with (figuratively) one arm tied behind our back, and less than 16,000 pounds thrust.

Ray’s first big “revelation” concerned the missing flow control orifice that proportioned the LNG flow between the 2nd and 3rd stage LNG injectors. He claimed we erred by not installing the restrictor orifice. However, since we never intended to operate at full thrust (700 miles per hour speed restriction, remember), we only planned to use the 2nd stage injectors and, therefore, no need to proportionally control the LNG flow. The flow control orifice was not a necessary function in the reduced thrust 1970 rocket configuration, and thus not installed.

Ray’s other “revelation”, that the LNG was never burned in the rocket combustion chamber, and did not provide additional thrust, is also not correct. A frame snapshot from my 16mm film of one of the early tune-up runs confirms, with the diamond exhaust shock waves, that we were efficiently burning the LNG with the oxygen-rich H2O2 decomposition gasses in the rocket combustion chamber. This was also borne out by the performance difference without and with LNG in test runs. When the 2nd stage injector assembly explosively failed on the first run, I later reconfigured the rocket to use the 3rd stage injectors instead. We ran several tests to optimize the LNG flow, going from an LNG-rich to a lean mixture, modifying the 3rd stage LNG injectors (to improve combustion) as well.

Our fastest H2O2-only run netted a mile average speed of 484 miles per hour (run #10). After LNG-tuning we achieved 557 from a standing start (run # 12), and later, 650 peak with a push start during the record runs. That standing start 15% performance boost, along with the visual evidence, certainly indicates effective combustion of the purposely reduced LNG fuel capacity.


* TBF diamond exhaust.jpg (315.29 KB, 1500x1200 - viewed 308 times.)
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MAYOMAN
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« Reply #83 on: August 12, 2013, 11:22:26 AM »

Just as a side note - there are three videos on Youtube of The Blue Flame land speed record project.
"Break the Record" is the film produced for the American Gas Association and was shown in movie houses as well as television in 1971 and later. "Speedquest" is my personal 16mm film of the project - just a musical soundtrack since recording sound then was beyond my resources. "The Blue Flame - Speedquest" is a re-do of "Speedquest" for the American Oil and Gas Historical Society (AOGHS.ORG) with my narration dubbed in. These are the links.

Break the Record

Speedquest

The Blue Flame - Speedquest


Also, I found another photo of the car at speed with the visible combustion shock waves.


* TBF speed small.jpg (449.33 KB, 1000x800 - viewed 311 times.)
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« Reply #84 on: October 23, 2013, 09:02:42 PM »

Oct 23 ...anniversary Blue Flame world record accomplishment.....
A real ..official...actual FIA sanctioned record....congrats again team...!!!

622.407  mph.     Wow over 4 decades ago.....

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N72727
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« Reply #85 on: April 04, 2016, 01:32:46 AM »

Some photos...


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* DickKeller.JPG (132.74 KB, 1000x820 - viewed 157 times.)

* TheBlueFlame.jpg (52.7 KB, 960x640 - viewed 136 times.)
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MAYOMAN
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« Reply #86 on: April 04, 2016, 07:45:55 AM »

Nice photos. Again, just want to make clear the official World Land Speed Record set by The Blue Flame in 1970 was the kilometer record speed of 630.388 mph (1,014.656 kph).
The mile record speed was the slower 622.407 mph. The ALSR is the fastest world record recognized by the FIA or FIM.
There was confusion by the American Gas Association's public relations firm - since we had always been talking about the MILE record before we went to Bonneville. Nobody in America knows what a kilometer is.
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« Reply #87 on: April 04, 2016, 10:24:41 AM »

Thanks for sharing the pictures, one cannot get enough of this stuff.

Interesting that model shows strut and wheel fairings.  Could you describe how and why those were discarded for the build?

Last, a kilometer is a thousand meters... whatever those are  grin

Nice photos...
Nobody in America knows what a kilometer is.
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« Reply #88 on: April 04, 2016, 11:36:49 AM »

...

Last, a kilometer is a thousand meters... whatever those are  grin

Nice photos...
Nobody in America knows what a kilometer is.


And a kilometre is a thousand metres.   grin grin
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MAYOMAN
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« Reply #89 on: April 04, 2016, 12:42:14 PM »

Regarding the rear wheel fairings and faired struts on the model in the photo - that was the original design we wind tunnel tested at the Ohio State University transonic wind tunnel. The first tunnel tests indicated some rear lift and transonic instability with that design. The immediate solution was to eliminate those faired members, as was seen in the actual final vehicle design. We had to find the solution very quickly due to our tight schedule and funding. A more elegant solution would have taken more time than we could afford. The follow-up wind tunnel tests demonstrated the changes solved the aerodynamic issues, so we went with that solution.

We were limited by Goodyear Tire Company to a maximum speed of 700 mph the first year, anyhow. The tires and wheels had been tested to 850+ mph, but they (Goodyear) were concerned about our lack of LSR experience. We had more than enough thrust to overcome the additional drag resulting from the exposed struts and tires, so it wasn't a big problem. In fact, we had to "de-tune" the rocket to ensure we didn't exceed 700 mph. We peaked at around 660 mph, so we were correct in our calculations. The result was probably the most stable LSR vehicle over 500 mph at that time.

Pete and I were only 31 years old then, so this was a pretty ambitious venture for a couple of hotrodders. We both had engineering educations, so there was some method to our madness. Ray Dausman, likewise, was just a youth.
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