Ed in cockpit

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NAE™ Project:
Update Archive

March 13, 2005

Ladies and Gentleman,

Team North American Eagle™ would like to thank all our sponsors for their continuing support, without which this project would not exist. In addition, we would especially like to thank the following companies that put additional resources into the project for this weekend's test runs:

 

S&S Turbine Services - Fort St. John, BC
Eagle Machine, Inc. - Abbottsford, BC
Lev-X, A Magna-Force Company - Port Angeles, WA
McVay’s Mobile Welding – Brier, WA
Small & Sons Petroleum - Auburn, WA

Test Run Number 4

The purpose of this test was to bump up the speed by engaging the engine afterburners and to test the parachutes.  Shad McVay, Dave Selby and Bernard McVay went to work on the parachutes by modifying the parachute tubes.  We found the deployment bags were such a good fit that they created suction, hindering them from exiting the tube.  The three drilled some relief holes to eliminate the vacuum.  We experienced the same condition at last year's Speedweek at Bonneville with the 828 Lakester.  After drilling the holes, it worked fine, so we thought we would give it a try with the Eagle. Meanwhile, Ed Drumheller II lengthened the drogue chute so that it would extend further behind the car when deployed.  After the modifications, Tim Finley worked with Ed II to repack the tubes.

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After making three runs, Von Armstrong and Sean Rondestvedt transferred another 55 gallons of Small & Sons Petroleum Jet A into the car.  We also had a problem with the afterburner lighting. So, Bill Eckberg, Sean, Dave, John Zambra-no and Harry Veldman went to work analyzing that problem.  They started the AVA M32-60B start cart to power up the car and finally got the engine igniters to work (the "click-clack" test).

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The team then pulled the Eagle onto the runway.  After only three runs, it was evident that everyone knew their place.  It was about as well orchestrated as a Blue Angles demonstration team.  The car started to skid as Ed moved the throttle to 100% mill power and immediately put the car into afterburner mode.  The huge cloud of white smoke confirmed again that the afterburner did not work.  The modifications to the parachute tubes were successful as evidenced by the clean opening.   Again, Ed brought the car to a stop as the recovery crew arrived on the scene.

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Test Run Number 5

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Bill, Sean, Dave, John and Harry went to work to figure out what went wrong with the afterburner.  They determined that the fuel flow to the torch was insufficient, so they bumped it up.  The rest of the team prepared the car for the next run and we headed out again.  This time, when Ed hit the afterburner, the tell tale black smoke and huge decibels filled the Lewis County country-side, confirming the afterburner was working.  After reaching the end of the run Ed tested parachute # 2 (backup), did not feel anything, so he deployed the primary parachute # 1.  As it turned out they both opened at the same time, bringing the car to a safe stop.

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Crew Goes Wild

It was our last run of the day.  We had completed everything we set out to accomplish.  Steering, front and rear brakes, both primary and backup parachutes and finally afterburner light off.  You thought we had just won the Indy 500.  The crew congratulated each other as Discovery Canada crews filmed the entire event. Jon Higley recovered the items he'd placed into the e-bay of the car behind the cockpit through all five runs; the book signed by Jeremy Daveys and given as a gift to the team, about the current record holder - ThrustSSC project, along with a bottle of Drop Dead Red® wine with Ed Shadle's signature on it. It was a somewhat symbolic gesture of the admiration this team has for the level Richard Noble and Andy Green have taken this sport to, and something that can now be called the "fastest wine on earth".

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We wanted to get a group picture of everyone, so what better place than at the end of the runway with Mt Rainier and Mt St. Helens in the background.  After several digtal still photos and the DVCAM tape running in the Discovery Cameras, it was apparent that we all had a great time. 

The Driver's Perspective – Ed Shadle describes the 312 mph run.

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After the pre-run walk-around, and a little kibitzing with the crew I climb into the cockpit and get situated. Cameron (my son) straps me in and gets my helmet on with the mask and chin strap properly attached. I do the communications check and air is turned on for the oxygen mask. I close the canopy and we begin the engine start procedure. I can hear the AVA M32-60B start cart running up and Bill gives me the signal that all is clear to begin and Drumheller shows me the flags indicating the parachutes are armed. I can hear the scream of the hydraulic pump and I can see the electrical power indicator is lit on the instrument panel. Starter cart air is turned on to supply the air starter for the 42,500 hp engine and I turn on the fuel pump switches. I keep an eye on the percentage of rpm indicator and as it approaches 10% I turn on the igniters then at 15% I move the throttle to idle position. I pump the brakes to reassure myself that they work and move the oil temp/pressure switch to the pressure side and see that I have 12 psi. As the air starter winds the engine up, at 30% I key the mike to tell the ground crew "rpm 30%." At 40% I announce over the radio to Bernard to disconnect the air. I can hear the engine running on its own and at 50% I flick the generator flash to switch from ground electrical power to ship power. Now I'm keeping a keen eye on the EGT gauge to be sure it doesn't go past 1200 degrees for more than a second or two. It reaches about 970 degrees and starts coming back down and that is a very good sign. I check oil pressure again and it is sitting at 40 psi, perfect!  Engine rpm is now stabilized at 66% for idle, EGT is 760 degrees. I now flick the oil gauge back to the temperature reading and it is 90 degrees, warm enough to start throttle up. The ground crew indicates that the air hose and electrical lines are disconnected. Bill, the crew chief indicates that the wheel chalks have been pulled and the course is mine.   I slide the throttle to 100% military power and I can hear the scream when the tail feathers converge and give me that extra thrust and the North American Eagle™ begins to slide forward with both my feet planted firmly on the brakes. Time to go into minimum afterburner and things begin to happen very quickly. I slip the throttle further up and the beast leaps forward past the runway threshold markers, no time to look at anything now but the runway ahead of me, way ahead of me! I pull the throttle back to 100% for about one second as I feel like the afterburner didn't light then back into burner again and now I know for sure it definitely has lit. I go past the 1000 foot marker and I see the 2000 foot marker coming on like gangbusters. Time to pull it back to idle at the 2500 foot mark and I know I'm on a ride but I see the other end of the runway coming fast. I hit the number two parachute button. I wait about two seconds and I haven't felt the chute yet so I go for parachute number one. I feel the tug of the parachute and realize by the rapid deceleration that both chutes are out. I'm on the brakes and come to a stop at the end of the runway, 5000 feet later and quite satisfied with the run. I let the engine run for a couple minutes to go through cool down then begin shutdown. The pickup crew and fire safety crew is already beside the aircraft and opening the canopy. High-fives all around and grins from ear to ear for everyone. What a cool ride..............Ed Shadle

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Wrap Party

With filming completed and all tests done, the team headed back to camp for a wrap party.  With Howard McVay running the barbecue, everyone had a chance to finally relax and relive the day's events.

Dugald Maudsley, the director of the Discovery Canada crew, now heads home to edit some 125 + hours of video and consolidate it down to one hour.  Then the tough job occurs when he has to edit that down to roughly 48 – 51 minutes.  Later, in post production, he’ll put in sound, voiceovers, and graphics.  In all, it will take months to complete, but you can be assured as soon as we find out when the air date will be, you’ll be the first to know.

Photo Ops

We would like to thank Clayton Taylor for coming out two weekends in a row to visit us.  Clay recently posted a photo on Landracing.com site.  The photo was shot using with Olympus E-300 through Swarovski Optik spotting scope (1600mm).  It’s an incredible photo.   Clay also let Tim Finley use his Nikon D1 camera.  Together Tim and Clay shot over 400 photos. Jon Higley, webmaster, and Glenn Amy, assistant webmaster, will have to take the month of April off just to get them posted onto the photo gallery page!

Special Guest

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On hand Sunday to view the North American Eagle™ was a significant person in the world of aviation.  Vic Johnson, who recieved the prestigious Montgolfier Diploma from the FAI Ballooning Commission, ballooning’s highest award, was present to witness the event. Vic and Larry Simburger flew a 249,000 cubic foot hot air balloon over Mt Rainier in 2002.   Vic stopped by and said hello to Ed Shadle and friend Ed Drumheller II.  Longtime friend of the North American Eagle™ Colonel Joe Kittinger, USAF Ret., won the award in 1983 when he flew a gas balloon solo over the Atlantic.  He was recognized the next year again for his outstanding contribution to the sport of ballooning.

Next Step

We will immediately move on to our next phase of the project: mid-range speeds in the 450 – 600 mph range.  Over the next two months we will be transitioning to our high speed configuration which includes aerodynamic coverings over the  suspension struts, fully enclosed parachute section, removal of the low speed parachutes and installation of ballistic parachutes.  In addition, all of the Allen-Bradley controllers will be installed.  Installation of the PCB Piezotronics and Larson Davis data acquisition equipment.  We also need to install the high speed Eagle Machine rear axle which incorporates the revolutionary LevX magnetic braking.  In addition the rubber aircraft tires will be removed and replaced with all aluminum wheels.  A tall order, but very achievable.  There is nothing that can stop us now, as we take the next step to bringing the world land speed record back to North America.

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