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The Bloodhound Project Ron Ayers

Ron Ayers

Chief of Aerodynamics

I have been an engineer since January 1950(!) when I commenced an engineering apprenticeship at Handley Page Ltd. One of the aircraft that I worked on was the first prototype of the Victor Bomber. During my apprenticeship I was allowed some time off to study for a degree in aeronautical engineering. I subsequently continued my education at the (then) College of Aeronautics at Cranfield, now known as Cranfield University.

In 1956 I joined the Guided Weapons division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company (before it became part of the British Aircraft Corporation) as an aerodynamicist. During my 11 years at that company I held several positions including, for five years, that of Chief Aerodynamicist. One of the principal projects that I worked on was the Bloodhound surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile. Thus you can see that the name of the Bloodhound SSC record car has a provenance! I also was involved with the Rapier tactical anti-aircraft weapon.

From 1967, for over 20 years I was involved in the design and manufacture of printing machines and associated equipment.

During a period of retirement I worked as a volunteer researcher at the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge. While there I found in the archives, a batch of Vickers Armstrong wind tunnel reports from the 1920’s and 1930’s concerning research conducted on the great pre-WW2 speed record cars such as Golden Arrow, Bluebird and the Railton Special. This started my interest in record breaking. In 1992 I had a chance meeting with Richard Noble. He was already planning to repeat his Thrust 2 successes, but this time he had ambitions to exceed the speed of sound. When he found that I had, in an earlier career, specialised in high speed aerodynamics his powers of persuasion ensured that my retirement was over. We set the supersonic record in October 1997.

I subsequently became the aerodynamicist on the JCB Dieselmax project, which achieved an International Land Speed for Diesel cars of 350mph.

Related Articles

Ron Ayers MBE

Wednesday, 9 April, 2014 - 16:40

BLOODHOUND's Chief Aerodynamicist Ron Ayers, 81, was awarded an MBE  for his services to engineering in the Queen's New Year honours list. Here Ron explains why BLOODHOUND SSC is not fitted with an ejector seat.

Thrust SSC - rocket test model

Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 - 11:50

This is the Thrust SSC rocket test model. Built to validate the results from a very early Computational Fluid Dynamics study (the mathematical mapping of airflow), which in 1992 was a science very much in its infancy. The model was tested on the Pendine rocket test track where it was propelled from 0 - 800 mph in 0.8 seconds. See video below:

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Andy Greens Diary – August 2011

Wednesday, 14 September, 2011

 written by Ron Ayers (as Andy is away supporting RAF air operations abroad).

 

July was another fantastically busy month for the Team and it kicked off with The Goodwood Festival of Speed. This was our third appearance at this unique and massively popular event. We had on display, for the first time, our full rocket propulsion system consisting of a gleaming oxidizer tank, fuel pump, Cosworth CA2010 F1 engine and, of course, Daniel Jubb's mighty hybrid rocket.