North American Eagle Test Sessions 2nd Installment

Once again Team North American Eagle found themselves on the lake bed for more test runs. This time they were able to layout 5+ miles of much needed course for the target speed. The goal of this session, get into the transonic speed range to collect data to see how the car will perform at those speeds and higher, and to get Per Wimmer of into the car for a few runs.

This mission was set up to only be a weekend excursion so the team had to hustle to make things happen. It was 6am Saturday morning when they headed out to the pit to unload the car and lay out the course. Laying out the course wasn’t an easy task because they wanted to make sure the car had plenty of space on the side to avoid any upheaval patches and get a clean 5 miles.

After getting everything squared away and with final checks done to the car they rolled into position. Owner Ed Shadle was the first to drive since he has the experience with driving the machine. With a good startup Ed rolled into the throttle for over a mile and after getting to a decent speed he let it spool down a bit. In the game of land speed racing safety is imperative, that is why the run was just enough to check to see if the course was suitable for another pass. This pass was made at sundown and at the speed light was being lost they could not make another run that day. For this pass the Intel solid state drives were strapped to the bottom of the car in the rear, following the run they were placed into the laptop and still kept working. How many runs can it withstand? Keep following the NAE project to find out.

Once again it was a very early Sunday morning on the lakebed when the team was doing some adjustments to the car. This time it was Per Wimmer’s turn to take it for a spin. Everything was ready before midday and Per was able to climb in, and after a few photos and some final instructions from Ed it was time to turn it up.

After the spectators took their places the Eagle screamed to life with Per behind the stick. He did very well and was full throttle almost immediately, holding it there the car pushed past 2 miles before it experienced some bumps and soft patches in the lake bed, concerned about the car Per shut it down and coasted to a stop. A successful pass for the first run in the jet car, Per achieved the mid 200mph range, good for the short distance and unfavorable conditions.

Once again the car was towed back to the pit for fuel and an evaluation. After looking over the car one team member found a problem that was not noticed. On the FOD trip back down the course Bernard McVay spotted a plate that came off the car that held part of the wheel well door. The team signed it and gave it to Per as a souvenir. After deliberating for awhile it was decided that the car should not be run until that area could be reinforced. The car was loaded as Gino cooked up a great lunch and the team was able to get off the lake bed before dark.

A short session none the less, but still a useful one. Maybe next time the bird will be able to unleash its full potential toward bringing the land speed record back to America.

Special thanks to the North American Eagle Sponsors:

Per Wimmer of

“Big Al” von Hollen of S+S Turbine, for his continued support at the hanger and the lake beds.

Intel SSD, the fastest most durable solid state drives you can get

Mark Morre of Uremet Corporation for the rooms.

American Valley Aviation for the Start Cart.

Written by: Eric “The Flying Squirrel” Wittler 2009.