Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 13:39 UK

Bloodhound diary: 'On war footing'

Andy Green (Bloodhound SSC)

RAF fighter pilot Andy Green intends to get behind the wheel of a car that is capable of reaching 1,000mph (1,610km/h). Powered by a rocket bolted to a Eurofighter-Typhoon jet engine, the Bloodhound car will mount an assault on the land speed record.

Wing Cmdr Green is writing a diary for the BBC News Website about his experiences working on the Bloodhound project and the team's efforts to inspire national interest in science and engineering.


Bloodhound SSC
Final confirmation of the car's aerodynamic shape has been a turning point

We've been talking about the move from "research programme" to "build phase" for the last few months.

Having proved that we can build the world's first 1,000mph car, it's time to get on with it.

For reasons I can't really explain, the change has happened quite suddenly and noticeably.

In military terms, we're now on a "war footing" - the preparation is largely over and it's time for action!

The final confirmation of our aerodynamic shape has been a turning point for the project.

One of the big changes we've made is to reorganise the engineering team, with Mark Chapman as our Chief Engineer, while John Piper is stepping down from Engineering Director (he will remain a consultant, but he has been turned from the "dark side" of Land Speed racing, back to the "light side" of much slower cars - Formula 1).

We're grateful to John for getting us to this point - three years ago, building a 1,000mph car seemed impossible.

Now we know that we can do it.

Thrust SSC cockpit
The cockpit of Thrust SSC

It's great to be talking about the first runs of the car already - we're looking at the runway test profiles, to make sure that all the design requirements are included during the build.

While this car is designed for desert racing, we will need to test it in the UK before we set off for South Africa - which means, for instance, that we're going to need good brakes to stop from over 200mph!

We're now busy designing our "Bloodhound Driving Experience" (with great help from IT partner Intel), a cockpit simulator designed for public use.

Want to find out what it's like to drive at supersonic speeds? Come and try the Driving Experience when we launch it at the Farnborough Air Show this summer.

As a key part of the Driving Experience, I've been busy refining the cockpit instruments so that we can include the latest layout. And where do you start with the design of a 1,000mph cockpit?

Well, in my case, by starting with a review of previous cockpit designs, including the world's only supersonic car, Thrust SSC.

We're also working on developing Bloodhound's steering wheel, (which will be similar to Thrust SSC's wheel) so that we can put a copy into the Driving Experience cockpit.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm looking forward to putting all of this together in the simulator and having my first "drive" of the world's first 1,000mph car!

World land speed records by Britons

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