February 25, 2012

Ladies & Gentlemen,

In this week’s update: Fundraising continues, the Eagle has lost its power, and Bonneville racer Valerie Thompson meets the team.

Heavy work was in store for Team NAE today, resulting in a heavy turnout of members including: Sean Rondestvedt, Ed Shadle, Jon Higley, Von Armstrong, Keith Zanghi, Dave Selby, Chris Hughes, Rich Pengelley, Larry Martinson, Dustin Martinson, Chris Greene, Omar Chramosta, John Drury, and John Winchester. Working virtual this week was Brandyn Bayes and Trish Wood. Jeremiah Avery dropped in to visit and soon found himself in a pair of coveralls and put to work.  A long time friend of Von and of Steve Wallace, Dan Grossruck, has been following the project on the web site and was invited to see the Eagle in the hangar.  Shadle family members Elaine, Cameron, Rachel (Happy Birthday lady) and Alex were in attendance as well.

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Long time sponsor Signs By Tomorrow of Houston South has put together a fund raising campaign to help with the $50,000 dollars in fees required by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the other expenses for this year’s speed tests and run for the record. Signs By Tomorrow Houston South makes all those vinyl decals that grace the NAE. See the February 24th Update for details.

This Week’s Featured Sponsors

Aerial Logosm copy Logo Interstate Batteries sm PCB Logomod


The big job on today’s schedule was removing the massive 3500 pound S&S Turbine Services LM 1500 jet engine out of the fuselage.  The car was raised by jacks and the front wheel was then lowered onto the towing transporter and pulled part way from the hangar to make working room.

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Ed and Keith directed operations as our engine specialists Dave Selby, Sean Rondestvedt and Chris Hughes disconnected the hydraulic and electrical lines, removed the rear axle assembly, and made ready for engine extraction.

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The engine cart and gantry crane were positioned in place and the engine was gently hoisted by pulley, coaxed out of the fuselage, and lowered onto the cart. Clearances are less than an inch on all sides as the engine comes out of the housing with careful attention to prevent any damaging hang-ups.

With the engine out, the rear axle support suspension ring was unbolted from the fuselage face.  It is being sent North to Eagle Machine, Inc in Abbotsford, B.C. Canada, for precision drilling by Steve Green.  This will make it ready to accommodate the newly designed rear axle position.

Another task taken on by Rich Pengelley today was to charge up the nitrogen filled accumulator for the nose wheel suspension system. He performed some routine maintenance and operations on the HRD Hydraulic System.

Rounding out the day’s work, Ed held a team briefing and brought everyone up to date on present status and planned test activities.

Special Guest Visits the Eagle


Some very special guests appeared today at Team NAETM headquarters:  Friends and relatives of Valerie Thompson, 2 time record holder and 200 mph motorcycle racer at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, her fianc√© Ray Garcia, and her brother Bobby Thompson.

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Valerie has a big time need for speed and is very interested in our landspeed project. Ed handed over his helmet and air mask and she tried the cockpit out for size and picture taking.  You can read about her salt flat accomplishments at her website: www.vtracegirl.com, and she graces the covers of many racing magazines while piling up a heap of accolades. Look for a special announcement soon.