British duo sets first supersonic land-speed record
October 15, 1997
Web posted at: 8:05 p.m. EDT (0005 GMT)
GERLACH, Nevada (CNN) -- The British Thrust SSC set the first supersonic land-speed record Wednesday when it streaked
across the Nevada desert faster than the speed of sound --
not once, but twice.
The jet-powered car rocketed by at 759.333 mph on its first
run, and about 30 minutes later set the record when it was
clocked at 766.109 mph on its second attempt.
The speed of sound, which varies according to weather and
altitude, was calculated Wednesday morning at 748.111 mph.
Temperatures were cooler than normal in the Black Rock
Desert, 125 miles north of Reno, making the vast region more
conducive to faster speeds.
Team leader Richard Noble said Thrust's engines are more
efficient, and the speed of sound is lower, when temperatures
are cooler and the humidity is higher.
A L S O :
List of world land speed record holders
Under international land-speed rules, the two runs had to be
made within an hour of each other for the record to be
"It was a magic morning," Noble said.
The record came only one day after the 50th anniversary of
the first supersonic flight -- made by test pilot Chuck
Yeager on October 14, 1947.
Noble, 51, and driver Andy Green, a 35-year-old Royal Air Force fighter pilot, have worked for years to smash the sound
barrier with a car on land, and in recent weeks intensified
On Monday, the team broke the sound barrier twice, but failed
to enter the record books because the second run came a
minute too late.
Green set a world land-speed record of 714.144 mph in the
Thrust SSC on September 25, shattering the previous record of
633 mph set in 1983 by Noble.