North American EagleTM

Team North American EagleTM traveled to the Black Rock Desert last weekend for another test session.  John Drury, Gino Sanfilippo, Tom Pengelley, Shauna Hannum, Trish Wood, Bernard McVay, Steve Wallace, Dave Selby, Cameron Shadle and his step son Trevor, Jon Higley, Per Wimmer, Vicky Andren, David Cohn, Chris Greene, Eric Wittler, Keith Zanghi, Ed Shadle and our friends from Canada,  Al Von Hollen, Dave Green and Steve Green all met in the tiny town of Gerlach Nevada for a cold dusty couple of days of testing.

The November test session began with a few lumps. John and Gino headed out about 1:30 AM on Friday with the semi followed by Keith, Jon and Chris in Keith’s truck pulling Steve Green’s 24′ box trailer filled with tools, parts, etc. Steve and Dave Selby had already left the day before as the advance team. Before Keith could reach I-5, he had hit a deer with his truck and caused about $2000 damage.

Cameron, Trevor and Ed left about 2 AM and cruised on down I-5, took the exit past Eugene onto highway 51 enroute toward Klamath Falls. About 30 miles past Oakridge, Oregon we caught up with Keith. About that time Ed received a phone call that his mother-in-law had passed away at 4 AM. As they approached Keith’s rig they found that he was stuck in the snow and had also ran into the guard rail. We loaded everyone into Ed’s van and made a 2 hour round trip back to Oakridge to buy chains for the truck and drag chains for the trailer. Needless to say, the team didn’t arrive at Black Rock at the estimated 2 PM. As it was too late to set up camp on Friday, the group chose to wait until Saturday.

We all checked in to Bruno’s. Steve and Dave Green arrived about 4 AM. Tom and Shauna arrived sometime in the middle of the night and Bernard and Trish the same. Eric Wittler made the drive up from Reno and met us on the lakebed early in the morning. The hotel rooms were filled up with duck hunters so we rented trailers that Bruno had set up for Burning Man.

Saturday dawned with clear skies and no wind. We laid out the course about 8 miles North of the 12 mile road which meant we were a long way from town. After getting the run track set up and the NAETM configured, we were able to get a sample run made by 4 PM.  All systems worked perfectly. The PCB Piezotronics / Larson Davis data acquisition system worked, the electronics worked, the suspension and other mechanical devices worked to perfection.

After the run, during inspection, we found the plate that holds the two leading edges of the landing gear doors had been tore loose from the impact of dirt hitting it. It was too late to repair on Saturday so we tabled the repair until next morning. We shut down for the night and headed back to Gerlach, in the dark. We all had a nice dinner at Bruno’s then trundled over to Bev’s Miners Club and had a few cold ones. Time to turn in for an early getup.Up at 5:30, breakfast at 6 and onto the lakebed at 7 AM. Cameron got right to work on the belly of the beast to repair the damaged panel. We had a spare so he installed it and began preparation for the next run. This time, we put Per Wimmer  in the cockpit for a familiarization run. After some instructions and rehearsals, we sent Per on his way.

It was a nice run out to the 4 mile. We towed back to the pits and inspected the NAE for any damage. We found that one of the dunes that Per had run over grabbed the new panel and the leading edge of one of the landing gear doors and ripped them off the vehicle. After some deliberation and discussion, Cam made the recommendation that we should not take the chance of more damage, considering, the next run was to go into full afterburner and run the speed up where we had not been before.  Ed made the call to scrub the rest of the test session.  We broke down the camp, loaded the NAE, went to town for dinner and most of the team headed for home Sunday evening.