URT Group Ltd
Conor La Grue's March blog
It’s late in February as I write this update and the year is off to a flying start. The continued design release, manufacture and assembly of the components for BLOODHOUND SSC is progressing at great pace.
The titanium skins for the rear upper chassis crown sections are in place. The panel drill-off is starting to happen well ahead of schedule, which is great news.
Earlier this month I was speaking to a British Airways audience at their annual flight safety day. My aim was to tell them how we set the first-ever supersonic record back in 1997, with Thrust SSC, and to talk about how we planned to get to 1000 mph with BLOODHOUND, safely. It was also a useful chance for us to show our homework to a group of industry safety specialists – in this case 200 commercial pilots and aircraft engineers. If there is something that we haven’t thought of yet, they will find it! From my point of view, this is one of the great strengths of Project BLOODHOUND. The more expert advice we have, the more confident we can be that we’re going in the right direction.
The upper rear chassis is now being drilled off for riveting, with 12,000 rivets in total. Most of the frames in the upper chassis are aluminium, but Frame 1 (at the very back) is being manufactured by URT from high-temperature carbon composites.
Global interest in Project BLOODHOUND continues to grow. I’ve spent a fair bit of the last month overseas, promoting the world’s first 1000 mph Car, together with BLOODHOUND’s science and technology education programme.
It was exactly 30 years ago that Thrust 2 broke the World Land Speed Record – 633 mph – and brought the record back to Britain. Until then, it seemed that the US had taken the record away from us for good, with all their new-fangled jet and rocket technology. Fortunately for Britain, a certain Richard Noble decided that we should get it back. When he set the record in 1983, he reminded us (and the rest of the world) that Britain was still a world-beater.
Now, 30 years later, we’re building something that would go past Thrust 2 like it’s standing still. BLOODHOUND SSC, the world’s first 1000 mph Car. We have the best motorsports industry in the world (if you need proof, just have a look at where all the Formula 1 teams are based) and one of the best aerospace industries (see the RAF’s world-class new Typhoon aircraft for further details). BLOODHOUND is going to be product of both industries, with a bit of space technology thrown in. It’s another world champion in the making. Read more
It’s the 3rd of September and as ever, the summer holiday period has provided an ongoing challenge to keep momentum going! With key personnel from Bloodhound having a few days sanity with families and with many manufactures, even the small ones, choosing to shut down briefly as the lesser of two evils on minimising the impact of the holiday period. It takes a focused approach to keep things moving over this period.
We’ve decided to start a ‘Top Gear’ style leader board for the VIPs that have set a time on our BLOODHOUND Driving Experience. The current list includes Baroness Scotland at 997 mph, David Willetts (Minister for Universities and Science) at 1003.3 mph and William Hague (Foreign Secretary) who was – until recently – just in the lead with a speed of 1003.6 mph.
This month’s test driver was the Chancellor, George Osborne. After a quick brief, he jumped into the Driving Experience and set our new fastest time – 1007 mph.
Almost the end of July 2013! Crikey! - But progress abounds here and we are now fully settled and operational in our new home here in Avonmouth.
This month there’s some good news and bad news, depending on how you look at it. After a project review by leading management consultants BMT Hi-Q Sigma, our build plan will now deliver BLOODHOUND SSC ready to run in 2015.
Great news this month – we’ve just announced a fantastic new sponsor. For the first time in the company’s history, Rolls-Royce is sponsoring a World Land Speed Record project. Its engines have been used since the early days of record breaking, and they created what was probably the most successful record power-plant ever: the 37-litre, V-12 ‘Type R’, which became the only engine in history to set Air, Water and Land Speed Records in the 1930s.
Some breaking news this month. We’ve been working on timings for the final build of Bloodhound SSC for a couple of months now, to see if it is practical to get out there by the end of this year. With some 200 technical partners, product sponsors and suppliers to include in the planning, it’s a wide-ranging conversation! We have also had to take into account the weather in the Northern Cape in South Africa, where we are going to run. The rainy season stretches from about November through to April, so the weather could stop us running during that period.
So here’s the new plan that we’re now going to deliver – we will be test-running the EJ200 jet engine in the Car in October of this year (our fifth Birthday: how time flies when you’re building a 1000 mph Car), followed by runway testing at the start of 2014 and then off to South Africa around Easter next year.
Momentum is key in delivering any innovative technology project into manufacture and for Bloodhound the hard won momentum that has built up over the last four years has really peaked over the last four months is delivering now!
As a Royal Air Force Fighter Pilot, I like to think that I’ve got a reasonable understanding of aircraft and how they work. However, the more time I spend on Bloodhound, the more I learn about just how amazing airplanes, and fast jets in particular, really are. Bloodhound SSC is aiming to do over 1000 mph, which is faster than any aircraft – even the Royal Air Force’s latest Typhoon fighter – can travel at ground level. If we’re going to go that fast, then we’ve got to do this better than any aeroplane, and that’s a huge task.
There has been lots of fantastic work done at Bloodhound SSC Sponsor URT Group Ltd over the last few months and the carbon composite monocoque has now been manufactured. Here is the story and pictures of how this was done.
Andy Green recently visted Bloodhound sponsor URT Group to see for himslef just how the monocoque is being made out of carbon fibre. Have a look at these clips to see how it was shown on BBC and ITV news ... Have a look at the following clips to see how it was shown on BBC and ITV news ...
URT Group has been announced as a technical partner in the ground breaking Bloodhound SSC (Supersonic Car) project. URT will construct the carbon fibre monocoque safety cell and seat for the land speed record vehicle, which is designed to reach speeds of 1,000mph.