World land speed challenger Andy Green, OBE visited the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) on Thursday to try out for the first time a mock-up of the cockpit he will use in his 1000 mph record attempt. The cockpit test rig, designed and built by second-year product design students, will ensure that cockpit components such as chair and controls are in the optimum ergonomic position for the challenge.
UWE is a founder partner of the Bloodhound Project led by Richard Noble, a previous world land speed record holder. Product Design Senior Lecturer David Henshall said, “The challenge for the students was to consider the performance and ergonomics of the driver's position for a unique event that will take the driver across ten miles in 85 seconds.
“The test rig means that fine adjustments to the position and relationship of all components can be measured and fed into a computer, ensuring the cockpit functions as it should do at such high speeds.”
Twenty students designed and built the cockpit test rig as part of their design studio class during a five week project. The students formed teams of five and each team was allocated a particular part of the rig to work on - steering, controls, seating and pedals.
Product Design Senior Lecturer Drew Batchelor said, “The students worked in conjunction with the Bloodhound team and they have done an exceptional job. After an initial briefing from John Piper (JCB Dieselmax Chief Designer), Andy Green and the Bloodhound design team, the student groups then developed concepts in the product design studios. Drawing on ergonomic data and refining their ideas through prototypes, the various individual elements were then assembled to create the test rig unveiled today. Ensuring that all these components worked together to create a cockpit environment that would function safely at 1000 mph was the key challenge for the group."
Student Hywel Vaughan said, “It isn't often that you can go home at the end of the day and say that you have worked on a land speed record attempt vehicle. Everything had to be spot on. Andy Green (the driver)'s eye line needed to be dead on the 4 degree mark. Any lower and he wouldn't be able to see over the front of the car, any higher and it could interfere with the aerodynamics. It was an exciting challenge to build a rig that could deliver that level of accuracy.”
Driver of the 1,000mph car, Andy Green OBE, said: "There isn't a book to build a car like this and the students can't just look at their dad's car for guidance. The only requirement is to have four wheels. To be faced with a blank sheet of paper is quite frightening. That said, the students at UWE have done incredibly well and its the support of universities such as The University of the West of England that will make Bloodhound SSC possible.”
The Bloodhound Project was launched at the Science Museum in London in October 2008. Engineers from UWE have already produced a scale model for Bloodhound SSC, the car that aims not just to break the current land speed record but to achieve an astounding land speed of 1000 mph. The Bloodhound Design team is using the specialist facilities at UWE to help realise the formative stages of the project.
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