In this update:  Alvord Desert test summary; Equipment trailers unloaded; Hangar reorganized

Today’s Featured Sponsors

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Today’s work party: Von Armstrong, Larry Martinson,  Ed Shadle, Keith Zanghi, Chris Greene, Layne Smith, Patricia Wood, John Drury, Omar Chramosta, John Winchester, and Brandyn Bayes.

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Desert lake beds are hard on vehicles and equipment.  Today the team faced the huge task of unloading the equipment trailers, cleaning up the aftermath, and returning things back to their working areas in the hangar.  This will be an ongoing process for the next few weeks as the fine, talcum like dust finds a way into every crook and cranny of tools and support equipment.  Vacuums and air hose blasts will be in play for some time to come. With the hangar in good order, the transport trailer will soon be brought over from Spanaway airport and the Eagle will be unloaded and rolled back inside. 

Alvord Test Session Summary

Our team base for the week was at the Alvord Ranch, which is one of the oldest ranches in SE Oregon, established in about 1871. Prior to that it was a cavalry post to protect the settlers and miners from the Paiute Indians.


Heading out to the lake bed early Sunday morning

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John, Larry, Andrew, Layne, Eric, Rob, Steve, Bernard, Jerry, Bill, Von and Lola the Dog!

Our pit was set up on the lake bed about 1/4 mile off shore and about mid way along the 10 mile long lake bed. We traveled to the Alvord Desert on Saturday, Oct 20, arriving in the evening. Sunday, we set up our pits and made ready for the beginning of testing scheduled to begin Monday morning. At 4 AM on Monday we heard the rain begin and by 5 AM it was pouring. After breakfast, most of us ventured down the gravel road to the road onto the lake bed. It was a mud bog with mud that sticks to your feet like big wads of goop.


On Tuesday we awoke to an inch of snow!

After assessing the situation we went back to the ranch. On Tuesday it snowed and by Wednesday, there was plenty of snow and it was cold. The skies cleared a bit during the day so we went back to the lakebed with optomistic thoughts of conducting a pull test to measure the drag resistance of the NAE of the playa.


That turned out to be a big mistake! The mud clinging to the aluminum wheels made it look like big lumpy tractor tires. It took wooden stakes and hammers to knock the mud off the wheels. Back to the ranch….!  


 Rich operates the AVA M32-60B Start Cart


Functional tests performed with engine running


Playa resistence measured during pull test


John Mittleider, Steve Green, Cam Shadle, Tom Tiede and Ed Shadle


Film crew from England setting up a shot for upcoming Discovery Channel Documentary


We awoke to clear skies on Thursday and seeing that the lakebed was beginning to dry, we performed an engine test and completed the drag tests in preparations for runs on Friday. 


Paul Davis, owner of the Alvord Ranch, checks out the front office as Ed and John Zambrano look on.

The team went out to the lakebed in the morning only to find the cold temperatures caused the batteries to nearly die so we had to spend about 3 hours recharging them. By noon we were able to pull the NAE out to a starting point on the the lakebed. Unfortunately, the North end of the lakebed was wet so we only had about 7 miles available.

We conducted our first run at a 90% throttle setting for about 2 miles, shut it down and coasted to a stop. The data aquisition team took the measurements they wanted while I let the engine idle then throttled to 100% and ran about 4 miles at a little over 200 MPH then stopped with only the magnetic brakes.


 Camera crews capture the debrief following run # 2


The next test was to haul back to the North end again then depart at 100% then go immediately to afterburner. The AB ignited as designed and away we went. The car kept turning left so I had to make corrections using the steering and the right brake. On the third run, I stayed in AB a little longer and ran to approximately 400 MPH before deploying one of the high speed parachutes and came to a stop. With a fairly short course to run on, trying to go faster was dangerous so we called it a day.


On the last run we also exploded the right brake rotor and that is going to be a point of investigation. We began loading the NAE and packing up the equipment and were back to the ranch by 8 PM. We finished the loading on Saturday morning and were back home by late Saturday night.


Ping Fu, Founder and CEO of Geomagic,  has a new book




Ping Fu (next to Ed) and her sister Hong – Their story in a new book, Bend, Not Break.

“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”

—Ping Fu’s “Shanghai Papa”

Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for the crime of being born into a well-educated family. To be deported with barely enough money for a plane ticket to a bewildering new land. To start all over, without family or friends, as a maid, waitress, and student.

Ping Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in tech­nology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the president of the United States.

It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds.

Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 in traveler’s checks and three phrases of English: thank you, hello, and help.

Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new home­land. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader. A love of problem solving led her to computer science, and Ping became part of the team that created NCSA Mosaic, which became Netscape, the Web browser that forever changed how we access information. She then started a company, Geomagic, that has literally reshaped the world, from personalizing prosthetic limbs to repair­ing NASA spaceships.




Bend, Not Break depicts a journey from imprisonment to freedom, and from the dogmatic anticapitalism of Mao’s China to the high-stakes, take-no-prisoners world of technology start-ups in the United States. It is a tribute to one woman’s courage in the face of cruelty and a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.


North American Eagle Website and Mobile App Updates

For those of you have not had the chance to explore our updated website, here is a quick overview of all of our recent changes.  First of all, the entire interface has been redone to support superior viewing from tablets and smartphones.  The  menu has been simplified for easy navigation throughout the entire site.  As part of the update, we are proud to announce the upcoming release of the Member Center.  The new Member Center will have exclusive content for our fans.  The Member Center will initially be available to our Eagle’s Lair Members.  More information will be available soon.

Updates for NAE Mobile are also now available to connect with the new website.  These updates include improved access to Project Updates as well as all of the other pages.  Available exclusively on the iPad is the ability to shop through the Gear Store for your favorite items as well as access to the Member Center when it becomes available.  The iPad version will also now rotate to any rotation for optimal viewing.


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New Lenovo Video

Lenovo recently released a new video featuring the North American Eagle™ .  The NAE™  scenes were edited by Steve Wallace. Team NAE™  uses Lenovo ThinkStations and ThinkPad for aerodynamic and engineering analysis.  Click on the photo below and watch this exciting video!


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Lenovo Video

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Eric Wittler With His Lenovo Laptop


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