Andy Green breaks sound barrier on land
British drivers have held the world land speed record on many occasions over the century and more of attempts. Great names linger in the memory: Segrave;Malcolm Campbell ; Richard Noble; and since September 25 1997 RAF fighter pilot Andy Green.
But Andy Green’s second setting of the record, on October 15 1997, is different, in its own way taking the challenge into a new epoch. Each record holder obviously went faster than the previous one. Green, however, took a land vehicle through the sound barrier for the first time ever. It was serendipitous that Green’s smashing of the sound barrier was achieved 50 years and a day after Chuck Yeager became the first pilot to break it in a plane.
The record attempt took place in Black Rock Desert, a dried up lake bed in Nevada, USA. His vehicle was jet-powered, the British built ThrustSSC. On September 25 1997 he reached a new record speed of 714mph, replacing Richard Noble’s 633mph as the world best, though Noble as project director for the new record attempt was delighted to be superseded by Green.
On October 15 Green pushed the car still further, taking the 10 tonne 100,000 horse-power car through the sound barrier to Mach 1.02, 763mph, which is pretty quick for a Dead Dog (his call sign).
Since breaking that mark Green has taken the diesel-powered record too, moving it from the previous 236mph all the way up to 350mph in the JCB Dieselmax on August 23 2006, an incredible leap.