Bloodhound pilot thanks SA for effort

2013-06-10 13:19
The Bloodhound supersonic car will make its recrod attempt in 2014. (Bloodhound)

The Bloodhound supersonic car will make its recrod attempt in 2014. (Bloodhound)

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Cape Town - The pilot of the supersonic car set to make its record attempt in SA in 2014 has honoured South Africans for contributing to the effort of creating a decent track.

"We went to speak to the Northern Cape government and told them: 'You've got the best surface in the world, but there's a problem.' To their enormous credit, they immediately understood the national benefit, the regional benefit to the Northern Cape, and the global benefit of being involved in this huge engineering and technology adventure," Andy Green told News24.

Green will pilot the Bloodhound supersonic car on the Hakskeen Pan after a search of possible race surfaces.

The team investigated a range of different possible venues to race the seven ton vehicle, and Green personally visited several sites.

"The last place I came to was South Africa to the Northern Cape and found that the clay pans - Haksteen pan and the Verneukpan - in the Northern Cape have the most remarkable surface of anywhere I'd looked at in the world. It is smoother and harder than anywhere else," he said.


However, the stones on the surface posed a major challenge and the organisers, in partnership with local authorities, mobilised around 300 local people to work for three years to clear the stones from the area.

"The people of the Northern Cape have done something truly remarkable: Three hundred people have worked ceaselessly... and between them, they have cleared 20 million square metres of track and the surrounding area. That the biggest surface ever cleared by hand so that in itself is a world record," Green said.

He said that people in the impoverished area demonstrated their commitment to the project that should have further benefits for the province in terms of the spinoffs from the Bloodhound car.

"The fact that they've moved between them, 6 000 tons of stones - that is 20 tons per person dug up by hand - that is the most phenomenal effort. Without them, we could not have done it. This is as much a South African achievement as it is going to be a UK achievement when Bloodhound runs in South Africa next year."

Fighter pilot Green said that it one of the most difficult aspects of designing the car was aerodynamics.

"If we can keep the wheels on the ground - in simple terms, keep the car shiny side up, pointy and forward for the whole of that 20km track - actually nothing bad can happen can happen to you, but to do that, you have to find the aerodynamic shape, which took us five years."


He explained that the vehicle engineering was a particular challenge as it presented the team with challenges that could push the boundaries of science and technology.

While some may argue that the speed of sound is not a barrier anymore, Green said the car was demonstrable engineering innovation.

"Actually you can't do it [Mach 1] in a jet plane. We're actually going to go faster than any jet fighter has ever been at ground level. For the first time in 100 years, cars are going to start going faster than airplanes again - we're going to turn that round. That's a measure of how difficult this is."

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Read more on:    kimberley  |  technology

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