Richard James Anthony Noble, OBE (born 6 March 1946) is a Scottish entrepreneur who was holder of the land speed record between 1983 and 1997. He was also the project director of ThrustSSC, the vehicle which holds the current land speed record, set at Black Rock Desert, Nevada in 1997.
Thrust2, the record-breaking car driven by Noble, travelled at 633.468 mph (1019 km/h). The accomplishment won Noble the 1983 Segrave Trophy. ThrustSSC, the supersonic car driven by Andy Green, broke the record at 763.035 mph (1221 km/h) or Mach 1.02. Noble is planning another land speed record attempt to take place in 2016: Bloodhound SSC aims to pass the 1,000 mph mark.
Noble was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and educated at Winchester College and became a qualified pilot. In 1984 he exploited a production hiatus at Cessna aircraft to create a new all-British light aircraft, the ARV Super2. The Super2 was fitted with a new British engine, the Hewland AE75. Only 35 ARVs were made before the Isle of Wight factory closed. Production was planned to resume at Opus Aircraft in North Carolina, USA but this project appears to have stalled.
Noble's next project was to develop the "Farnborough F1", a six-passenger single-engined turboprop low-wing aircraft designed as an "Air Taxi" that could operate out of small airstrips. The intended market was to provide transport for businessmen who found the existing air, rail and road networks too inflexible and expensive. Noble started Farnborough Aircraft in 1998, but after failing to find backing from any major financial institution, sold shares to small investors. A bitter dispute followed, and development stopped while new investment was found. The rights to the design were transferred and the aircraft renamed Kestrel JP10. A prototype aircraft has been flying since 2006 but certification and production remain uncertain.
Noble's autobiography is titled "Thrust: The Remarkable Story of One Man's Quest for Speed".
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