The North American Eagle supersonic land speed challenger, a Lockheed F-104 jet fighter modified to operate as a land vehicle that is designed to travel faster than the speed of sound, reached a speed of 400 miles per hour in tests June 30 at the El Mirage Lakebed in the Mojave Desert west of Victorville, Calif.
The team operating the North American Eagle vehicle seeks to exceed the speed of sound at 800 miles per hour. The U.S. Air Force operated the F-104 jet fighter from 1958 to 1967 as a single-engine supersonic interceptor. The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was an American single-engined, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the U.S. Air Force from 1958 until 1967.
Located onboard the race car, Falcon's ED-1 Series converts the jet engine's 115 Volt, 400 Hz frequency power to 115 Volt 60 Hz power for the onboard data acquisition, GPS, and other computers. In addition, the Falcon unit provides power conditioning and instantaneous backup power in the event the vehicle's electrical system fails.
The ED Series device is "built from the ground up for harsh military applications," says Michael A. Stout, vice president of engineering at Falcon Electric. "This rugged unit can withstand high heat temperatures and vibration without degrading its reliability, while its light weight and small size allow the unit to be placed in tight spaces."
The North American Eagle vehicle "is the fastest active car in North America," says Keith Zanghi, director of operations at North American Eagle. In late June North American Eagle experts made four test runs over three days.
"The purposes of these test runs were to deploy the high-speed parachutes and to integrate all of our electronic components to see how they work together," Zanghi explains. "This included our PCB piezotronics data acquisition system, Falcon Electric UPS/frequency converter, Topcon GPS, Space Age Controls transducers and Tropos wireless broadband. The Falcon Electric UPS system works great, Zanghi continues. "We have 30 minutes of data protection and I can't tell you how valuable that is."
The North American Eagle Land Speed Program is to bring the land speed record back to North America. For more information contact North American Eagle online at www.landspeed.com, or Falcon Electric at www.falconups.com.