North American Eagle 1,000mph Land Speed Record racecar. Photo by North American Eagle Project. (Image source: hemmings.com)
As another racer perishes in their pursuit of Ultimate Speed and glory. Whilst some say Bad things come in Three's...
Yeah, know we're All still supposed to be enraptured over that Scintillating? Portland IndyCar race held Labour Day weekend, which is why I partially decided to hold this story back. And then that same weekend in Belgium, at Spa Francorchamps, Anthoine Hubert Died in a Formula 2 Crash.
Alas, I found it somewhat ironic to learn just a week prior to Indy Cars arrival in thee Rose City, the News that Jessi Combs had Died in the Alvord Desert in Southeast Oregon, August 27th. Which presumably Y'all have heard about by now, Righto?
Having first come across the News when listening to Car and Driver magazine via my NFB Newsline for The Blind telephone service, I had Zero Clue over who Jessi Combs was? Not to mention that she was known as The Fastest Woman on Four Wheels!
Yet when I heard the words North American eagle, (NAE) Claxon Bells started sounding loudly, as I know that name! As it was none other than No Fenders Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen who introduced me to this unique Land Speed record project when she saw said vehicle on the I-5 Highway north of Seattle nearly a Decade ago, Wayback in 2010. For which I noted this briefly, albeit in Part 2 of another of my never ending No Fenders tomes.
Not to mention that I've had Thar Official Website in my No Fenders Racing Links section for nearly as long...
Although somehow I missed thoust Memo? Since I'd ARSE-Sume that originally this ex-F-104 Lockeed Starfighter Fighter plane was configured in the traditional three-wheels Jet Rocket-car layout. Since it was originally envisioned to re-capture the Land Speed Record (LSR) currently held by Andy Green aboard the ThrustSSC, by going an astounding 800mph!
Alas, I got busy 'N quit following the project and therefore had NO clue that Jessi Combs at the controls of the Eagle Rocket-car, which was now sporting four wheels had Broken the Women's Land Speed Record Wayback in 2013 on the exact same Alvord Desert.
As Combs shattered the existing record then held by lee Breedlove since February 11, 1965, wife of some LSR Jockey named Craig. Having set the record aboard the Spirit of America Sonic 1 at Bonneville at 308.5mph. Before Combs went 90 miles per hour faster, when going 398.95mph on October 9, 2013!
Although I cannot find any definitive technical details upon the NAE Supersonic Speed Challenger, other than it measures some 56-feet long, weighs in at over 7 Tons! And is propelled by a General electric J-79 jet engine with Afterburner producing up to 52,000 Horsepower.
Combs, along with NAE Founder Ed Shadle next set their sights upon besting two current Land Speed Records, the Women's Overall and the Single engine records in September, 2016.
As Shadle, who ultimately drove to a speed of 515mph in the Eagle, aborted his record attempt after experiencing steering issues during testing.
Meanwhile, ironically combs was attempting breaking Kitty O'Neal's current Land Speed Record made on the very same Dry Lake-bed in Oregon Wayback in December, 1976! Which I only learned of last year when Kitti "Flamed Out."
Yet Jessi's attempt was ultimately Derailed when she made a One-way pass at 477mph before going Off-course into some stray Cacti, promptly ending that year's record attempt!
Next, in 2018, Combs and Crew were back at it once again at their familiar testing grounds in Oregon - while making another record run at 483.227mph. A parts failure allowed a Door Hatch to open, allowing Debris to enter the Eagle's engine, curtailing any further record attempts towards Besting O'Neil's elusive record.
Sadly, Combs Death comes on the Heels of NAE leader Shadle's Death in September, 2018. And these two major events, including the wrecked vehicle and the Team's always Scant Finances would seem to put a Damper upon the continuation of the project, which is just pure Speculation upon my part.
Although History would suggest that eventually some Female, or Females? Will ultimately Break the current Women's Land Speed Record's, since there seems to be a distinction between the Overall Speed record and Four wheels Speed record? The latter Combs Broke after it had stood for nearly a Half Century...