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Time Until El Mirage
Active ImageOkay, down to business of the newsletter for this issue. The work of commencing with modifications to the Eagle has begun in earnest for the winter in the hangar. The tasks are many; converting the front suspension, and box it goes in, into a configuration that will accommodate the all metal wheel (forged aluminum alloy) which is currently in the process of being negotiated for manufacture over the next few months.
Changes to the hydraulic system is another task being done. The electrical system is also being modified; there are multiple levels of various voltages and cycles which are involved, most of which I know very little about. The data acquisition system , which collects 3,080,000 pieces of data each second while the car is running, is having some newly received hardware, from our sponsor PCB Piezotronics , added to it for enhancing its capabilities to process it all. Then, there's the deceleration system (more specifically the parachutes and not the magnetic brakes, or the speed brake doors) which will be going through an overhaul. The low speed chute tubes are being taken off and replaced with slightly wider diameter tubes that are a tad longer to give the bags that go in them a bit more room in which to be packed.
Other tasks being worked on, are the results of the car's digitally mapped image being analyzed by one of our new sponsors, CSM Software using their Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) program to determine what its behavior will be upon reaching the transonic speeds (600 - 700mph) while, as well as beyond these speeds, into the realm of the supersonic, on the ground. The canards, or small neutrally aerodynamic winglets which are on each side of the nose of the car and in front of the cockpit, need a software program to be designed and constructed which would integrate with the technology of load sensors on the front suspension to make sure that just enough, but not too much, down-force is applied to keep the nose from lifting. Dialog and negotiations are underway at this time regarding the integration of this safety feature on the car. Still, yet another item which is in the works is the fairing, or covering of the rear suspension framework, that attaches to the airframe of the fuselage at three points on the rear half of the car. This covering is believed to be necessary in order to reduce drag when the car's testing begins to move into the mid-range speeds of our test sessions next spring and summer.
So, as you can see, there's a lot of different things going on at once by the team to move the test phase of the project into its next level for the coming year. At this point, the project still has yet to acquire a financial backer which would allow the project to move more rapidly along with its progress toward going for the record. This circumstance, however, does not deter us from staying focused and committed to the ultimate goal of getting the record.
As to any news from the Steve Fossett camp (new comer to the challenge of setting a record to best the Brits), there is none to report. Having all the finances he needs to do the modifications he's making to the old Spirit of America of Craig Breedlove's former vehicle he acquired for his bid, his project is not disclosing any information. Considering the possibility might arise that he may not meet the deadline for completion of modification in order to conduct sufficient testing with the new configuration, they may not be able to go for the record next October/November as initially hoped for when he announced his intentions last October.
While many of you wrote in to share your delight at watching our documentary (shot in the spring of 2004) on the Discovery Channel recently, we have good news; there will be another piece airing sometime this year as part of a show called "Hyperspeed ". It will be a shorter segment of our test session conducted in June of last year at El Mirage Lake bed in California. So, be sure to check into the site regularly for announcements - sometimes they are shared with us only days before the broadcast - so you don't miss it.
A new look will be coming to the visitors and viewers of our project's web site soon. Webmaster Jon Higley, and his always helpful and reliable assistant Trish Woods, have been working furiously over the last month to revamp the site's look and features to accommodate the growing popularity the project is generating. (Okay, we're growing weary of the current look too.) So, be watching for the debut of this revision around the end of February, or the first part of March.
For new members who've joined only recently, I recommend that you read the previous newsletter below (a recap of events) to learn what the project went through last year. Quite a bit of progress was made, but we expect even greater things this coming year.
More next month!

Jon M. Higley
Crew Lead/Webmaster
North American Eagle, Inc.
"Challenges can be stepping stones, or stumbling blocks. It's a matter of how you view them." Unknown

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Episode 1) Overview Video

Episode 2) The Transmission

Episode 3) The Engine

Episode 4) The Drive Train

Episode 5) Body and Paint

Episode 6) Dyno Run

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