North American Eagle Project
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The North American Eagle Project is a jet-powered automobile that is intended to challenge the 763 mph (Mach 1.02) land speed record set by the ThrustSSC in 1997. It is a cooperation of Canadian and American engineers, pilots and mechanics. Their goal is 1,300 km/h (808 mph), or Mach 1.058.
The vehicle is based on the fuselage of a Lockheed F-104A-10 Starfighter jet fighter aircraft, tail number 56-0763, The aircraft was built for the United States Air Force and assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base from August 29, 1957 until 1970 when it was retired. Initially the aircraft was used as a GE test platform for the J79 engine. It was later used as a chase plane for the North American X-15, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and North American XB-70 Valkyrie test programs. It was flown by Joe Walker, Scott Crossfield, Pete Knight, Bill Dana, Chuck Yeager, Joe Engle and Bob Gilliland among other notable pilots. North American Eagle has designed road suspension and has carried out the required systems integration. The vehicle is 56 feet (17.1 m) long and weighs 13,000 pounds (5,900 kg).
The engine is a General Electric LM1500 turbojet (a civilian variation of the aircraft's original J79). A stock engine for low speed testing is rated at 42,500 hp (31.7 MW). The vehicle will have a Specially Enhanced Engine for record attempts, rated at 52,000 hp (52,700 metric horsepower). At idle the stock engine consumes 40 US gallons (151 L; 33 imp gal) of fuel per minute, rising to 80 US gallons (303 L; 67 imp gal) per minute at 100% military power and 90 US gallons (341 L; 75 imp gal) per minute in afterburner mode.
Four methods are used to decelerate the vehicle. It has high-speed air brakes which were original equipment on the F-104; high-speed drogue parachutes deployed at 700 miles per hour (1,100 km/h); and low-speed drogue parachutes deployed once the speed drops to below 350 miles per hour (560 km/h). The vehicle also has an Anti-skid neodymium rare-earth magnet eddy-current brake.
Fourteen engine test runs were first conducted in June 2004, with the last two in full afterburner. These were performed on a test stand. In December 2004, the first engine runs in the vehicle were performed. A total of 23 test runs were completed between March 2006 and June 2008. Speeds as high as 400 miles per hour (640 km/h) were claimed but not verified. Testing in the US was conducted at Sanderson Field in Shelton, Washington; Toledo Airport in southwest Washington state, Edwards AFB, California. El Mirage Dry Lake, California and Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Development and testing of the vehicle has been ongoing.
- North American Eagle Project
- "North American Eagle Project eyes speed record", Earth & Sky (2006-12-01)
- North American Eagle Black Rock Desert Photography