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An extraordinary adventure and achievement

Thrust SSC
Copyright 1997 Jeremy Davey (SSC WebMaster)


Thrust SSC

 

A Photo-Diary from Nevada - Sept./Oct. 1997

21 Pictures by John Coppinger - Background from a photo by J V (TrackMaster) Franck
Thrust SSC Shockwave picture - Copyright 1997 Richard Meredith-Hardy
Top & SSC Team pictures - Copyright 1997 Jeremy Davey

The whole thing powered by Richard and Sally Noble and Family
and driven by Andy Green

Go to Richards' new website

With thanks to Barbie McSean, John Lovatt, Steve Georgii, Pete Ross,
Jerry Bliss, Mike Horne and The Team for getting me involved.

On the road - 4th September

The road to Gerlach

Route 447 - The town of Gerlach under the mountains ahead

Many of us saw Gerlach for the first time here - But some were returning to the place where Thrust II,
and Richard, had run into the history books, at 633mph, fifteen years before.
Now he was back with Thrust SSC.

 

Everyone in town made us welcome 

Bev in front of The Miners Club  Don - Our host in Gerlach

Bev Osborn and Don Davis - Citizens of Gerlach

Bev in front of her bar, The Miners Club - I first met Don there.  The town was full, the trailer
Steve Georgii and I had hoped to rent had already gone, but Don immediately offered us
both a place to stay in his home.

 

First day on the desert - 5th September

The Black Rock

18 miles North East of the Pit Station - The Black Rock itself

This is when I very nearly learned about the desert the hard way - Always tell someone where you are going!

 

Black Metal meets Black Rock

SSC on the desert

6th September - About to roll on the desert for the first time

SSC had run on a desert in Jordan, in 1996, but the Black Rock Desert has a surface the car was designed for.

 

The Pit Station

The Pit Station

SSC Operations up and running - Steve Georgii on the right

It was much more than just the car - Equipment, vehicles, microlights, a workshop and people made it go.

 

SSC in the Aireshelta (TM)

SSC in the Aireshelta

The Desert Beast in its' lair

The Aireshelta literally rose up out of the ground - A base and a workshop up and running in less than a day.

 

Making my mark on SSC

Modifying rear wheel panel

11th September - Marking up a rear wheel fairing for drilling

Ron Ayers asked for modifications to absorb supersonic shockwaves travelling along the underside of the car.
Mike Horne (Bodywork Specialist) trusted me to do this.   He's on the Design Team picture, two down below.

 

Hospitality and Explanations

Ron Ayers with visitors

Ron Ayers (Project Aerodynamicist - in blue) talking to visitors.

Ron would listen, and explain things, to anyone who asked him - He was always willing to teach and to learn.

 

Two more members of the Design Team

Mike Horne & Jerry Bliss

Mike Horne (Bodywork) left, and Jerry Bliss (Systems) right

Six people decided if Thrust SSC would run - And each one of them took full responsibility for that decision.
Mike was my 'boss' on the project - He's a real craftsman, and it was an education to work with him.

 

The Worlds' Fastest Men

Andy Green & Craig Breedlove

Andy Green gives Craig Breedlove a tour of SSC

Craig was the first man to travel over 400, 500 and 600mph - Now he wanted to win the 700mph plus record.

 

23rd September - View from the press area

SSC - Running north east up the desert

Not the best picture, but the best one I got myself

I guess it shows the landscape.  Watching SSC  run was like seeing a missile fired sideways across the desert.

 

On the 25th September Andy Green drove Thrust SSC to 714 mph.
His new World Land Speed Record beat Richards' 633mph record
by more than 80mph - The largest increase in speed record history.

 

Pegasus Microlights (TM) - Essential air cover

Pegasus microlight

Callsign 'Pegasus Green' - Owner & Pilot, Bill Sherlock

Pegasus Green and Pegasus Black saw everything - They even chased a coyote away from the track one day.

 

Fly Geyser @ Fly Ranch

Fly Geyser from the air

28th September - Pegasus Pilot, Simon Baker

 From 200 feet some views of this landscape could have been the earth seen from the Space Shuttle in orbit.

 

Pit Station from the air - Landing approach

Pit Station from the air

28th September - Pegasus Pilot, Simon Baker

This is probably the most exciting flight I've ever taken - I didn't believe the photos would come out to prove it.

 

Rocky and Nancy at Access Five

Rocky & Nancy

6th October - The Americans loved us, and we loved them

Rocky and Nancy entertained us, shared everything they had, and helped us control the desert for every run.

 

Man in a hat - Caught by Ray's camera

JC - with furry dice

7th October - The day I won the Furry Dice

I'd radioed in that I was in position, five miles too far up the desert  - I got to choose who won the dice next!

 

What it was all about - 7th October

Supersonic shock wave

The proof - Copyright Richard Meredith-Hardy
Go to RMH Photo Library  
   RMH Photo Library

Richard was one of the pilots of Pegasus Black   -  When he first reported seeing this shockwave effect very few people believed him; only Ron Ayers was convinced, as the report matched his own predictions. So the next day Richard took a series of pictures, including this one, to provide proof of the first supersonic shockwave from a ground vehicle. The pictures stunned those who first saw them and were soon seen all around the world.

 

SSC Team photo

SSC Team photo

Copyright Jeremy Davey (Far right)

There were a lot more people than this - We were the lucky ones who'd been able to stay the whole six weeks.

 

Railroad Crossing - Access Six

Access six

10th October - The American West, as seen in the movies

We patrolled access points to the desert and asked people politely, especially if they were armed, not to cross.

 

13th October - Access Three

Access three

Watching the desert and the sky

Sometimes a lonely job -  Then Larry and Bill stopped by, and taught me to fire a Hawkins black powder rifle.

 

Thrust SSC officially went supersonic, a World Land Speed Record of
 763.035mph, on October 15th 1997 - The shockwaves set off alarms in
Gerlach and were felt in Empire, seven miles away.  Nobody cared !
( Andys' peak speed was just over 771mph. )

 

Last evening - Ready to Roll

Packing up Pit Station

Packing up the Pit Station - 16th October

In the foreground is 'Firechase' - The projects' 135mph fire engine.  On the last day we all had a turn driving it.

 

Farewell Black Rock - 17th October

Last morning on desert

The last morning on the Desert - Trego Mountain at dawn

Rob Hemper saying goodbye to the desert - He was one of the core team who'd worked on SSC from the start.

 

The last morning in town -17th October

Judge Phil Thomas

On the Gerlach town range with Judge Phil Thomas (R)

Ed Kruse normally fights forest fires.  Judge Phil Thomas works hard to keep the local kids on a straight road.

 

SSC at The Peppermill Casino - Reno

SSC at The Peppermill casino

Overwhelming lighting, hospitality and culture shock - Great!

SSC had visited here six weeks before - But now the car had run supersonic and earned its' name for real.

End

 

 


Excellent Thrust SSC Graphics

 

Thrust SSC for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Thrust SSC & Black Rock in Microsoft Flight Simulator
Austin Tate and Iain Murray, Version 1.2 31-May-2000

 

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