In this update: 2018 Alvord Test Session

Today’s Featured Sponsors

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  SmallSons Decal  

The 2018 Alvord Test session is in the books and wow, what a success!  A very special thanks goes to all that were present:  John Drury, David Martinson, Lars Pedersen, Dave Eckersley, Marty Jackson, Patricia Wood, Jon Higley, Eric Wittler, Russ Powrie, Steve Rima, Steve Wallace, Libby Wallace, Les Holm, Garrett Holm, Cam Shadle, Trevor Diehl, Chris Greene, Rich Pengelley, Cory Mitchell, Don Mitchell, Ken Broyles, Zac Hopkins, Steve Small, Doug Small, Jessi Combs, Nina & Chuck Darrington, Jay Combs, Jerry Lamb, Terry Madden, Dan Zlock, Dale Zlock and Keith Zanghi. We also want to thank Jessi’s team of Graham Soursa, Chris Ortwell, Chris Phelps, and Joel Wiebe.  Also Keith’s Boeing coworkers Peter Hunter, John Doyle and Ray Swift.  Ed’s sister and brother in law Roxanne and Tom showed up.  A number of team members were unable to attend, but our success could not have taken place with out them. They include Elaine Shadle, Rachel Shadle, Omar Chramosta, Von Armstrong, Steve Green, Chris Banks, Brandyn Bayes, Jason Mitchell and Paul Dries.

We want to thank Paul Davis from the Alvord Ranch, and his family for hosting us on the lakebed.  Special thanks to our long time sponsors that helped us out once again on this session: Tom Walrath Jr at TE Walrath Trucking for a reliable tractor:  Central Welding Supply for onsite power: The Truck Shop for letting us use a HINO Truck to haul tons of equipment: Small & Sons Oil Distributing for all the fuel: S&S Turbine Services for Engine Support:

Ronald Cooper infrared photo of the Eagle

Normally in the past Ed Shadle has performed all of the shakedown runs.  These tests consist of everything you would expect:  Engine systems, hydraulics, magnetic brakes, brake cooling, steering, engine afterburner and parachutes are all tested first after a long winter absence…speed is not a priority.  The safe operation of the vehicle must always be validated prior to going fast.

Paul Dries programming the steering system

After the 2016 test session, we still had some lingering steering issues.  The team removed the entire steering system and started from scratch.  Enter Paul Dries from Canada.  He came in and designed a system that worked flawlessly!

With Ed’s passing these duties now fall onto Jessi Combs.  On Jessi’s first shakedown run we had a sudden shut down of the engine that was eventually traced back to a faulty fuel valve switch.  After troubleshooting the problem we went back out for the second shakedown run on the following day.  On her second run, all systems worked perfectly while attaining a top speed of 483.227 mph!  The steering system worked just as designed.  The powerful S&S Turbine Services J-79 worked great as Jessi went in and out of afterburner.

Hydraulic Bay door was completely torn from the vehicle

Unfortunately we had a lock mechanism fail on a hydraulic bay door (formerly gun bay door).  At the three mile mark, the latch handle broke.  Between the three and the five mile markers, the latch pins inched their way to the open position when the door dropped down and came into contact with the playa.  The door was torn away from the vehicle, breaking up into two parts.  The largest portion with all the steel latches fell outside of the vehicle.  A smaller portion of the aluminum door entered the left-hand engine inlet, coming to a stop at the front of the S&S Turbine Services J-79 engine.

The engine sustained some minor visual damage to the first stage compressor blades.  With no borescope to inspect the rest of the engine, crew chief Les Holm called an end to the test session.  A tough break and big disappointment to the team, as Kitty O’Neil’s 512 mph record was within sight.   Below are some photos we thought you would enjoy.  Look for an Alvord 2018 Gallery Page soon.

Zac Hopkins early sunrise photo

Base camp

Zac Hopkins base camp at sunset

Jessi checking out the cockpit

In Memory of Ed Shadle “Fast Eddie” 1941-2018

Steve Wallace and Chris Greene applying decal made by Eric Whittler’s

Memorial service in honor of Ed on the lakebed

Sean refueling the Eagle

Steve Wallace and Steve Rima communication charging

Longtime sponsor Steve Small of Small & Sons Oil

Longtime sponsor Doug Small

Sean Rondestvedt, Trish Wood and Andrew Kirk move the nosecone

Lars Pedersen talks to Ray Swift while Ken Broyles assembles fairing

Steve Rima attaching strain gauges

Terry Madden, Les Holm and Jessi Combs

Terry Madden and Jessi Combs

Trevor Diehl and Cam Shadle installing hatch panels

TF Funny Car driver Mark Sanders (orange shirt) was very popular with the team

Our BLM partner Dory Seeley was a big help

Ed Shadle Celebration of Life

Ed Shadle at Alvord 2016 Test Session

Photo used with permission.  Copyright © 2016 Pork Pie

There will be three events for Ed’s Celebration of Life.  The first will be Friday, October 12, 2018, at 9;30 am at The Tahoma National Cemetery.  The 2nd will be held October 13, 2018, from 12 noon to 2 pm at The LeMay Collections at Marymount.  Following this event, we will travel to Lady Luck Cowgirl Up restaurant from 2-4pm.

423 152nd Street East, Parkland WA

Sponsor Feature: The LeMay Family Collection Foundation

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LeMay Family Collection is a long time sponsor of the North American Eagle®

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God Bless and Protect our Troops