In perfect conditions this afternoon at 1657hrs ThrustSSC driven by Andy Green started its 59th development run. The target speed was Mach 0.98 to be followed by a further run at Mach 0.99. Due to course development the USAC timing lights were in the process of being repositioned and there was no official timing.
Using 20 seconds of max afterburner and with slight instability during the acceleration phase at 500-550mph indicated, ThrustSSC reached a peak speed of Mach 0.98 achieving 700mph indicated air speed which approximates to 750mph ground speed - the fastest speed that ThrustSSC has travelled so far. Ambient temperature was 13.5C measured on the uncalibrated temperature measuring equipment positioned at the Pit Station to the South end of the track.
Thrust personnel and the USAC timekeepers positioned at the Press Pen - at the midpoint of the course - all witnessed a muffled sonic boom as ThrustSSC passed.
At this point it is quite clear that ThrustSSC was near to sonic speed - but not supersonic. The data for the performance came only from the on -board data logging equipment.
Subject to weather conditions and the Spirit of America's requirement for the first slot, it is proposed that ThrustSSC will run again tomorrow October 8th with the objective of achieving two sonic or marginally supersonic passes, hopefully achieved within the FIA 60 minute turnaround requirement. USAC will also be measuring temperature with calibrated apparatus at the kilometre mark.
If this can be achieved then the FIA has agreed to sanction the first ever supersonic World Land Speed Record.
Due to failing light conditions, the Mach 0.99 return was cancelled and replaced with a 175mph taxi back to Pit Station.
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