In this update: Rear suspension modification complete; new design front suspension ready to install; 40 year reunion; Engine test in June and a summer drive to Austin, TX
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On a cool drizzle filled day at the North American Eagle™ hangar, Jon Higley, Sean Rondestvedt, Larry Martinson, Rob Martinson, Eric Helpenstel, Omar Chramosta, Chris Greene, Jessica Greene, John Winchester, Keith Zanghi and Ed Shadle met once again to continue work on our pursuit of the world land speed record.
Brandyn Bayes accepts check from Ed
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Send Brandyn to St. Louis fund raiser. 100% of the donations went towards the expenses Brandyn incurred on his travels to the Dean’s List Award at the FIRST Robotics Finals Competition. Brandyn was selected from over 50,000 students this year. During 58 regional competitions across America, two individuals were selected to compete in the Deans List. Brandyn was one of two from the Seattle Regionals to attend. These 116 students are the best of the best and we congratulate Brandyn on this magnificant achievement!
Over the past month you have been reading about our major modifications with regards to our front and rear suspensions. Since our last test session at the Alvord Ranch, we have made extensive modifications to each. On the rear, we pulled out a clean sheet of paper and the engineers went back to the drawing board (CATIA Workstations) to beef up the entire assembly. Whenever there was a doubt, we made it even bigger. The LizardSkin® protective coating we applied last weekend was dry so we re-iinstalled the center axle anti-rotational section. With numerous attach points all aligning within 0.001 dimensions, it took a little while to align and attach all the bolts. After that was installed, we reattached all the forward and vertical support struts. Next week we begin fabricating the aerodynamic surfaces covering the assembly.
The front suspension and steering went through a similiar metamorphosis. We first relocated the hydraulic steering pump forward and elimiinated about 28 feet of supply and return hydraulic tubing and a similiar amount of electical supply wire. After achieving a radically improved steering response, we moved to the hydro-pnuematic suspension system. After weeks of trouble shooting, we needed a better look, and so removed the front steering box. Just like the rear axle assembly, the front steering box is an independant module and can be removed from the vehicle.
It became apparent after careful examination that we had a conflict between the hyrdo-pnuematic cylinder and the corresponding shock absorbers. So over the past several weeks we gutted the interior and re-installed new shocks and other components. Today we re-assembled the parts, applying grease, torque applied bolts, safety wire and re-routed hydraulic lines. We ran out of time to install the steering box as well, but this will be first on the agenda for our next work day.
When you look at the two structures today, a casual observer might be heard to say the system looks fairly simple, and might even question why it took us so long to get to this point. This is a valid observation. However, we can only respond that building a vehicle to challenge the world land speed record is not the easiest challenge to take up. It is not like we have not had similiar challenges in the past. From the beginning, we knew the car would go through changes as we tested and learned from experience. It has proven to be an exercise in both patience and persistence. The team is made up of people who have built several homebuilt airplanes, Bonneville record holding lakesters and roadsters, dragsters, funny cars, underwater submersibles, hang gliders, ultralights and magnetic levitation devices…as well as many other things. They can’t be written about here due to current top secret clearences still in effect. We hope you can appreciate the effort our team has gone through to bring this record back to the North American continent.
Rob Martinson and Marshall reunite after 40 years!
Ed’s longtime fellow pilot friend, Marshall from Spanaway Airport, finally made his way out to the hanger this weekend to see the Eagle first hand. No one knew it was going to be a junior high school reunion. When Ed introduced Marshall to the team, he started out with the usual pilot credentials first, followed by family and career. Marshall is a retired music teacher from the Federal Way School District and taught at Sacajawea Middle School. Rob immediately exclaimed he went to school there. About another sentence later Rob reailized that Marshall was his former choir teacher! They didn’t recognize each other at first, since most of Marshall’s hair has turned gray, and Rob’s hair….well he has none!
Upcoming Event – Engine Test June 15th
Upcoming Event -North American Eagle™ On Display at National Instruments Week – Austin, TX
We are happy to announce that Team North American Eagle™ will be on display as the featured attraction at this year’s National Instruments Week in Austin, TX. On August 5th through the 8th, team members will be present to answer questions, and attendees will see first hand, the 56 foot long Eagle! It will be an exciting event! More news in the coming weeks.
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Eric Wittler With His Lenovo Laptop
See more photos of the Eagle at ChasingClouds.net