Automotive

Jessi Combs breaks 48-year old land speed record

Jessi Combs breaks 48-year old...
Jessi Combs this week became the world's fastest woman on four wheels in the 52,000 hp North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger with a speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h)
Jessi Combs this week became the world's fastest woman on four wheels in the 52,000 hp North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger with a speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h)
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Jessi Combs this week became the world's fastest woman on four wheels in the 52,000 hp North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger with a speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h)
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Jessi Combs this week became the world's fastest woman on four wheels in the 52,000 hp North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger with a speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h)
Unlike traditional fighter jets where a more complex oxygen system is used, Jessi received her compressed air via a simpler scuba diving tank configuration
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Unlike traditional fighter jets where a more complex oxygen system is used, Jessi received her compressed air via a simpler scuba diving tank configuration
The landspeed vehicle's former life was that of an F-104 Lockheed Starfighter used as a chase plane to monitor the US Air Force's X-15 experimental jet and SR-71 Blackbird
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The landspeed vehicle's former life was that of an F-104 Lockheed Starfighter used as a chase plane to monitor the US Air Force's X-15 experimental jet and SR-71 Blackbird
The North American Eagle is made possible by a beat down US Airforce F-104 Starfighter
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The North American Eagle is made possible by a beat down US Airforce F-104 Starfighter
The Eagle uses a tweaked out 52,000 hp General Electric LM-1500 Turbojet engine, with power output upped by 10,000 hp from a stock 42,000 hp
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The Eagle uses a tweaked out 52,000 hp General Electric LM-1500 Turbojet engine, with power output upped by 10,000 hp from a stock 42,000 hp
Comb's record breaking run took place at a carefully manicured section built on Oregon’s 13 mile (20.92 km) Alvord Desert this past week
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Comb's record breaking run took place at a carefully manicured section built on Oregon’s 13 mile (20.92 km) Alvord Desert this past week
The NAE racer weighs 13,000 lb (5,896 kg), measures 56 ft from nose to tail and just over 7 ft across at the widest point of the engine intakes
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The NAE racer weighs 13,000 lb (5,896 kg), measures 56 ft from nose to tail and just over 7 ft across at the widest point of the engine intakes
A computer generated model shows critical air pressure and flow areas across the surface of the Eagle at various mileage markers
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A computer generated model shows critical air pressure and flow areas across the surface of the Eagle at various mileage markers
The Eagle drinks 40 gallons/minute (151 L/min) at idle and 80 gallons/minute (302.83 L/min) under full throttle
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The Eagle drinks 40 gallons/minute (151 L/min) at idle and 80 gallons/minute (302.83 L/min) under full throttle
Instrumentation is minimal with only engine temperature gauges, fuel and oil pressure gauges and an air speed indicator and mach meter
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Instrumentation is minimal with only engine temperature gauges, fuel and oil pressure gauges and an air speed indicator and mach meter
The Eagle runs on solid billet aluminum wheels
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The Eagle runs on solid billet aluminum wheels
The North American Eagle's afterburner effectively doubles power output from an already impressive 52,000 hp
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The North American Eagle's afterburner effectively doubles power output from an already impressive 52,000 hp
One of the many challenges the team faced is how the craft's aerodynamics will react at zero altitude and mach speeds
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One of the many challenges the team faced is how the craft's aerodynamics will react at zero altitude and mach speeds
Computer rendered model showing high pressure zones across the Eagle's various surface areas
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Computer rendered model showing high pressure zones across the Eagle's various surface areas
Under FIA rules Jessi Combs qualifies as the "fastest woman in the world" in a four wheel car
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Under FIA rules Jessi Combs qualifies as the "fastest woman in the world" in a four wheel car
The NAE delivered a top speed of 371 mph (597 km/h) on the first run, and 440.7 mph (709.25 km/h) on the second, producing a record breaking average speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h)
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The NAE delivered a top speed of 371 mph (597 km/h) on the first run, and 440.7 mph (709.25 km/h) on the second, producing a record breaking average speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h)
The NAE crew plans to chase down and break the existing land speed record of 761 mph (1,225 km/h) in 2014 with team owner Ed Shadle at the stick
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The NAE crew plans to chase down and break the existing land speed record of 761 mph (1,225 km/h) in 2014 with team owner Ed Shadle at the stick
The Eagle runs on solid billet aluminum wheels that reduce rolling weight but also negate concerns with rubber tires and associated centrifugal forces at mach speeds
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The Eagle runs on solid billet aluminum wheels that reduce rolling weight but also negate concerns with rubber tires and associated centrifugal forces at mach speeds
Aluminum wheels on custom designed outriggers replace the Starfighter's wings and rear control surfaces
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Aluminum wheels on custom designed outriggers replace the Starfighter's wings and rear control surfaces
The Eagle is controlled by a joystick, providing tail and rudder control at speeds similar to its airborne brethren
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The Eagle is controlled by a joystick, providing tail and rudder control at speeds similar to its airborne brethren
Eagle outrigger with diagonal struts features custom designed horizontal wing surface and aluminum wheels
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Eagle outrigger with diagonal struts features custom designed horizontal wing surface and aluminum wheels
Landspeed's Eagle has lost most all of its original aircraft requirements, including wings, and rear tail stabilizers a,though small forward winglets remain for improved stability and airflow
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Landspeed's Eagle has lost most all of its original aircraft requirements, including wings, and rear tail stabilizers a,though small forward winglets remain for improved stability and airflow
The Eagle being towed out for its second record breaking run
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The Eagle being towed out for its second record breaking run
The Eagle's rear section, with parachute tubes, highlights the jet's many aerodynamic and functional changes
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The Eagle's rear section, with parachute tubes, highlights the jet's many aerodynamic and functional changes
Comb's plans on chasing the current 512 mph (824 km/h) female speed record (3-wheels) as soon as possible
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Comb's plans on chasing the current 512 mph (824 km/h) female speed record (3-wheels) as soon as possible
According to its creators, the Eagle is capable of contesting the existing world land speed record of 761 mph (1,225 km/h)
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According to its creators, the Eagle is capable of contesting the existing world land speed record of 761 mph (1,225 km/h)

Back in 1965, Lee Breedlove set the women's land speed record on Utah’s Salt Lake Flats with an average speed of 308.51 mph (496.49 km/h) over four runs. That record stood for 48 years until this month, when Jessi Combs smashed it in her 52,000 hp North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger with a speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h).

On October 9, running out on Oregon’s 13 mile (20.9 km) Alvord Desert course, which is essentially a dried out lake bed, TV celeb Jessi Combs' first pass in the North American Eagle (NAE) Supersonic Speed Challenger delivered a top speed of 371 mph (597 km/h). Rules require racers to complete two passes within a one hour time frame and on the second run using the Eagle’s afterburner to full effect, Combs hit a speed of 440.7 mph (709.25 km/h), producing a record breaking average speed of 392.954 mph (632.39 km/h). The Eagle’s afterburner does provide the pilot a short burst of instant power, essentially doubling output from an already impressive 52,000 hp.

The converted F-104 Lockheed Starfighter that Combs pilots once actually served as a chase plane for both the record breaking X-15 experimental jet and the SR-71 Blackbird. Retaining its original intake ducts but sporting smaller wings to retain speed stability, the NAE racer now weighs in at 13,000 lb (5,896 kg) and measures 56 ft (17.07 m) from nose to tail and just over 7 ft (2.1 m) across at the widest point on the engine intakes.

The North American Eagle is made possible by a beat down US Airforce F-104 Starfighter
The North American Eagle is made possible by a beat down US Airforce F-104 Starfighter

Propelled by a General Electric LM-1500 Turbojet engine, the NAE crew increased the engine’s stock output by 10,000 hp from the leisurely 42,000 hp used for low speed test runs, up to the current 52,000 hp. But with great power comes great mileage degradation. North American Eagle reports the jet's appetite for fuel at idle to be in the 40 gallons/minute (151 L/min) range, but when under full throttle the Eagle vaporizes out 80 gallons/minute (302.8 L/min). Kick in the afterburner and another 10 gallons (37.8 L) disappears out the Eagle’s oversized, military grade tailpipe every minute.

As the Federation International de Automobile (FIA) is the governing body for land speed records, strict rules regarding engines and wheel configurations had to be followed in order to properly qualify. The FIA rules require the vehicle to be considered a “car” sporting four wheels. So in order for the Eagle to blast across at the lake bed at subsonic speeds, solid billet aluminum wheels were chosen. Solid aluminum wheels not only reduce rolling weight but remove traditional concerns regarding centrifugal forces associated with rubber tires. The solid wheel system also allows the driver to focus on “piloting” the ground based fighter rather than having to drive it.

Comb's record breaking run took place at a carefully manicured section built on Oregon’s 13 mile (20.92 km) Alvord Desert this past week
Comb's record breaking run took place at a carefully manicured section built on Oregon’s 13 mile (20.92 km) Alvord Desert this past week

Inside the cockpit, Comb’s surroundings, like most race cars, are sparse and minimalistic. Instrumentation is limited to engine temperature gauges, fuel and oil pressure gauges and the all important air speed indicator and mach meter. The steering wheel is a joystick, providing tail and rudder control at speeds similar to its airborne brethren. Unlike traditional fighter jets where oxygen is supplied to the pilot, the NAE team went with a simpler system using a scuba diving tank to provide compressed air.

The NAE crew hopes to break the existing land speed record of 761 mph (1,225 km/h) in the Eagle in 2014, this time with team owner Ed Shadle at the stick. In the meantime, Jessi Combs next plans to chase down the existing female speed record of 512 mph (824 km/h) achieved in 1976 by stunt woman Kitty O’Neil in a three-wheeled racer.

Watch Jessi's 440 mph run via the vid link.

Source: Land Speed

Jessi Combs Sets Womens' 4-Wheel Land Speed Record

20 comments
duh3000
Record pointlessness an aircraft that can't take to the air, wheels that can't take the road, an obscene amount of fuel... to go nowhere : what a waste.
Beaugrand_RTMC
The point is, it's something you can't do.
Captain Danger
I don't know a lot about turbines but the fuel consumption numbers do not seem to add up. 40 GPM at idle , 80 GPM for 52,000 HP , and then afterburner only 10 more GPM but double the power? Also 52,000 HP and only hit 440 mph? How long was she on afterburner 2 seconds? I would bet a top Fuel Dragster could do the same given a bit more gearing and a couple of mile long strip. As to the fuel waste , come on give me a break, It is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of fuels used every minute on earth. A few hundred gallons here or there will not spell the end of mankind.
Keith Reeder
"Also 52,000 HP and only hit 440 mph? How long was she on afterburner 2 seconds?" Thinking the same thing myself. Did she forget to take the handbrake off?
Dave B13
I'm sure Richard Noble is hoping someone takes the record he has had for 30 years, instead of having to break his own again with his 1000 MPH goal car in 2014 or 2015. http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/
zoid asteroid
The Eagle uses a LM-1500, a modern, industrially-refined version of the classic General Electric J79 turbojet with afterburner, and I would expect it to be something like as thirsty. The figures I could find on the J79's thirst for fuel are: Specific fuel consumption: 1.965 lb/(h·lbf) (200 kg/(h·kN)) with afterburner, 0.85 lb/(h·lbf) (87 kg/(h·kN)) at military thrust. These are not figures that I particularly understand, but I think I see that the "afterburner" figure is about twice that of "military thrust." Another reference online reports that the prototype J79 in afterburner used about 10 gallons of fuel per SECOND to get around 15,000 lbs. thrust. This sounds more believable to my ears. I mean, when an engine this size is on full rock'n'roll trying to make something the size of an F-104 go supersonic, how long do I think 10 gallons of fuel is going to survive in a tailpipe that size? Yeah, about a second. Ironically, they may have limited the speed across the measured course not just by throttle settings and such, but also by NOT holding the "handbrake" as long as they could have. Holding the brakes while letting the engine spool up is kinda like how far you draw the string back on a bow before letting the arrow fly. I've been following these folks for several years now, as they've been hobbled by lack of funds. It's great to see them finally running it and getting some kind of a record. Hope they can continue! If they don't go after the LSR soon, I'm afraid they're going to have to go looking for a nice clean used SR-71.
racefanwfo
ok here is the deal the reason that she did not go faster is this was the first time she had driven the car. ed shadle the owner of the car is using her to try and find someone to put up the money so he can go for the world land speed record held since 1997 by THRUST SSC owned by richard noble and driven by andy green. the record is 763.035mph. there is no offical womans land speed record jessi only went faster then craig breedloves wife did in 1965.sometime next year ed will let jessi try and go faster then kitty oneil ran in 1976 in the SMI Motivator. when they where at the lake bed last month ed ran the car up to 550mph he could have gone faster but the course they where using was a little shorter then they wanted. some of the systems on the car are still being tested. being a land speed racing fan i could care less how fast jessi went because what she did has no affect on the world land speed record i am waiting for ed to go after the big one. in the world of land speed racing the 763 record is the one that ed really wants.
Dr.Veritas
The fact that a woman was at the controls has no meaning. I tire of hearing the "first woman, (or red, green, white, black, blue man or woman) to - insert incredible feat here -" Men and women are different. Anyone who tries to deny this is really to far PC to save. Please tell me (someone because I am not familiar with the requirements to go fast in a ground jet) why would the record fastest period be restricted to men? Is there a strength component i don't see? I get why weightlifting an other similar activities separate the two but records that seem to have no requirements that aren't shared by men and women should just be that. I guess in a way it offends me when people scream for equality but then spout off in a way that makes me feel they don't really believe it. No we are not over race or gender discrimination as long as someone brings it up as a point of interest. Personally I'm bored with it all. If a person can meet the standards, mental, physical, emotional etc.. For a specified job then they should have a chance. What do I care what they are? Why am I even bothering the readers with this? Sorry for the diatribe. Please respond and tell me where I miss the point.
Dave B13
Interesting exposition of a cutaway similar to both J 79 and LF 1500 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or6mIaSWZ8g&feature=youtube_gdata_player There could be a very bad case of mixing apples & oranges on the fuel consumption figures. Fuel consumption is affected tremendously by altitude (air density) & thrust (efficiency) by how fast air is hitting the intake of the engine. Recollected gleaning is that airliners use more fuel during taxi per minute than when cruising in the thin air at 35000 ft . During takeoff climbout fuel use is tremendous. Fuel consumption during static testing is going to be a lot higher. Fuel cosumption at low altitude to accelerate, and maintain speed is going to be a lot higher to have a mix that burns in higher density air and that pushes through higher density air.
Dave B13
Another item that could be confused occurs to me. Fuel consumption whe n In afterburner. Is the figure total fuel or just the fuel being routed to the afterburner.