Twin-turbine street luge to attempt 300 mph record run
Australian Daz Fellows wants to ensure proper nomenclature is used when describing his modified street luge. Sporting twin-turbines with a combined output of 537 lb of thrust, and a custom formed board composed of carbon fiber, Daz has made clear that the conveyance he'll be climbing aboard when he shoots for a world record attempt of 300 mph (482 km/h) next year is a "jet luge."
In 1996, Daz "the Cowboy" Fellows became a founding member of Australia’s street luge circuit. In 2007, when the first powered luge record was set, he became obsessed with the notion of becoming the fastest street luger in the world. The current street luge record is 115.8 mph (186.4 km/h), and was set back in 2011 by Jason Bradbury of the UK. Fellows hopes to not only break the existing record, but exceed it by more than double.
Fellows' first jet luge had to undergo some modifications and updates to meet the strict rules of the Guinness World Records. Mounted just behind his head at the back of the board, and running on Jet A-1 fuel, each of the two small military grade turbine engines is capable of generating 202 lb (91.6 kg) of maximum thrust for five minutes, with a continuous thrust rating of 176 lb (80 kg).
According to Fellows, with afterburners running full burn, an increase of approximately 38 percent is available to the turbines for a short period. This power increase equates out to roughly 537 lb of thrust when the afterburner gods are called upon.
The small-but-mighty turbine engines add only marginal weight gains to the board. Each engine weighs only 29 lb (13 kg), has a rev limitation of 72,000 rpm and a fuel consumption rate of 3 liters/minute under continuous thrust. With afterburners engaged, the turbines use up 4.5 liters/minute giving Fellows enough fuel in the 22 liter tank to get the job done in around five minutes.
The board itself is an exercise in unproven aerodynamic theory. The nose on it looks part stealth fighter or exaggerated skateboard, but on profile the design is all about fast and low. The highest point on the board will be the formed carbon fiber area surrounding the turbines and the trailing fin integrated into the board behind Fellows’ helmet. Weight specs for the board, including engines and carbon fiber fuel cell, is only 72.7 lb (33 kg). No word on what dietary regimen Fellows will be adhering to prior to the attempt in order to keep overall weight at a minimum.
Running only 8-10 mm (0.39 in) off the road, it will be important for the course to be absolutely debris free. In order to fit Fellows’ frame and the twin turbines, the board needed to be long. From tip to tail the board comes in at just under 3 m (9.8 ft) which should give some good straight line stability. Across the waist the luge measures 598 mm (23.5 in), making it significantly wider than a traditional board.
The luge will run a 12-wheel configuration using performance wheels and bearings from the world of snowmobile racing. Fellows notes that an 83 mm (3.3 in) wheel running at 124 mph (200 km/h) will see revolutions hit 12,780 rpm. At 250 mph (400 km/h) this means the tiny skateboard-inspired wheels will be spinning in excess of 25,000 rpm.
When it comes to controlling the board, "lean steer turning" will be the board’s sole directional tool. Acceleration and power modulations will be managed via either a thumb-controlled wheel or a trigger-style grip. The final selection will be made closer to the attempt date.
The afterburners, which have their own separate controls are either on or off, there is no modulation capability. The afterburners have their own fuel pumps, but feed off the main fuel tank. In the event that something should go wrong at top speed on this oversized skateboard, a kill switch is on standby to shut down the entire system.
Fellows is set to make his world record attempt between April and August next year, when temperatures are more optimal for turbine operations. No location for the run has been confirmed at this time.
You can see the first rolling test in the video below.
Source: Jet Luge