Andy Green in portrait: the 1,600 km / h hell rider

Andy Green in portrait
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F Ears beyond the sound barrier: madness or science? There is only one person in the world who can explain what it feels like to be cooped up in a tight, stuffy box and speeding through the desert at 1,200 km /h and more, with almost 1,000 liters of highly explosive hydrogen peroxide in your back.

Andy Green wants to achieve 1,609 km /h

18 years ago the British professional soldier Andy Green achieved world fame when he became the first and so far only motorist in the world with the Thrust SSC Sound barrier broke. Now he has bigger plans: 1,609 km /h or a little more, that's Green's new goal, 1,000 miles an hour accordingly. In about two years it will be so far: then Green wants to go on a record run with the 135,000 hp Bloodhound SSC on a 20-kilometer track in the Hakskeen Pan desert in South Africa. The abbreviation SSC stands for Super Sonic Car: supersonic car.

Andy Green has charisma. When he reports on his motivation, he likes to emphasize this with sweeping arm movements, like an Italian restaurant owner who explains the exquisite menu of his establishment to the guests. Green's sentences are rather short and sober. When asked whether he can trust himself 100 percent, he thinks for a moment, then he starts: “No! Anyone can make a mistake. It is human nature to do extraordinary things, but also to make mistakes. Every pilot knows that. '

Green is painless in every way

Doing the right thing - that is not so easy when you dash through the desert at more than 400 meters per second. “There are a lot of things to consider,” he explains. “When do I ignite the jet drive and when do I switch on the additional rocket drive? What about the lateral stability? Where do I have to brake? When do I activate the airbrakes? ”

Of course, a record-breaking car is almost exactly the opposite of a comfort sedan:“ It's incredibly loud and tight and hot in the cockpit, ”says Green, pushing the cross. “It's hard work. But it's just my job to get it done. ”Sounds cool, it's cool. Green is apparently one of those fearless guys who, if necessary, use the Flex for a manicure.

On the move without emotions

Emotions have no place at speeds in the four-digit range:' As a fighter pilot, you are trained to keep your emotions in check, 'explains Wing Commander Andy Green. Those in the know of the military scene would certainly like to add at this point: “The psychological training in the Air Force is often reminiscent of brainwashing.” In this guild, avoiding self-doubt is one of the basic requirements Adrenaline junkies have no business there either.

In the style of a bone-dry technocrat, Green makes it clear at every opportunity that he knows exactly what he is doing: “Compared to a mission in a fighter pilot, driving a Bloodhound is but simple, 'he lectures, his eyes flashing.' Because the plane adds the third dimension. It's more difficult than simply driving straight ahead in a car, onto one m perfectly smooth surface. In addition, I only drive in daylight and when there is no wind, i.e. when the weather is perfect. As a pilot, you sometimes have to fly at night, and on top of that you have to expect to get into a combat situation. '

Höllenreiter, no gambler

The hell ride in the Bloodhound is apparently hardly more exciting for Green than the ten kilometers to work in a good Skoda Fabia for a commuter. Andy Green indignantly rejects the general suspicion that he is a gambler. “After all the many years of training as a pilot, I can say with a clear conscience: Yes, I know my limits, my strengths and weaknesses, and I have a clue about the G-Forces. And as a mathematician, I have the scientific background to discuss with the technicians on an equal footing. ”
Incidentally, the cold-blooded Mr. Green, who since his accolade a few years ago can also be addressed as Sir Andy, definitely has Sense of weird humor: He chose 'Dead Dog' as the radio call name for the 1997 record.

But back to the Bloodhound company. “Our project is completely atypical for motorsport: Usually you try to keep your little secrets to yourself. But we have no opponent. So we can allow ourselves to show all the technology openly, ”he explains. “And this openness is also interesting for our technology partners, such as Castrol. Here these companies can show what they can do. And talk about it too. ”In a high-speed laboratory that is more than 1,600 km /h.

Life after the 1,000 mph

Andy Green, a 100 percent man, from the sharply drawn head to the sparkling clean, horse leather, Budapest lace-up shoes, allows a glimpse into his soul. A questionnamely, it seems to torment him or at least to occupy him - the question of life afterwards. What happens when the 1,000 mile record is ticked? Green frankly admits, “The Bloodhound project is probably the last of its kind.” Yes, what could the goal but one be after the 1,000-mile mark is down? 2,000 km /h or even 2,000 miles per hour? Most unlikely, downright ridiculous. Just like the idea that Green would be behind the wheel of this company but that, if it existed. After all, the 53-year-old would have long since reached retirement age.

The question of life's work

Green, the man who has always sought the extreme (and has always cleverly understood how to approach the limits respectfully from below and thus stay alive), knows that his life journey after the record with the Bloodhound SSC turns into one Art Terra incognita could lead to an ordinary, rather boring reservist existence, a life without the thrill of extremes, without the great challenge - and also without the constant limelight.

You can only become Andy Green as a courageous record driver who laughs scornfully in the face of the devil? Or do you associate something much bigger with him and his record car Bloodhound SSC? This is precisely why it is so important to him to dress up the high-speed company with an ideological substructure, to a certain extent concreting the base for a national monument.

Bloodhound SSC: Science for the Young Generation

' Actually, nobody needs a supersonic car ', Andy Green declaims in such exalted and correct Oxford English that Prince Charles could be jealous. Then he theatrically opens his eyes, rows his arms and exclaims: “It's more about making science understandable. Technology you can touch, so to speak. The Bloodhound SSC is an engineering adventure that inspires the younger generation. ”

Tens of thousands of students have already visited the Bloodhound Project Headquarters in Bristol - and made Green and his colleagues happy. “You have to get children excited about technical professions, preferably when they are only eight or nine years old,” he shouts and he applauds himself rhetorically: “A great opportunity that we have here!”

Vita Andy Green

The 53-year-old Briton Andy Green is a Lieutenant Colonel (Wing Commander) in the Royal Air Force. Thanks to a grant from the British Air Force, he studied mathematics. At the age of 21 he was trained as a pilot for fighter pilots of the types Tornado and Phantom. On October 25, 1997, Green set the speed record for land vehicles that is still valid today: In the 110,000 hp Thrust SSC, he reached 1,228 km /h. Greenbroke the sound barrier. In two years' time, Green and the Bloodhound SSC team aim to set a new record. In the South African Hakskeen Pan desert, the 1,000-mile mark (1,609 km /h) should be cracked in about two years.

The vehicle: Bloodhound SSC

The Bloodhound SSC, a mighty 13.5 meter long arrow on wheels, is set to break the world speed record for land vehicles to 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km /h) in two years . The Bloodhound only needs 2.2 seconds for one kilometer. The car weighs just under eight tons, more than a ton of which is fuel. A Cosworth V8 engine from Formula 1 originally served as the drive for the fuel pump. It has now been replaced by a Jaguar V8 engine. Up to 500 km /h, the Bloodhound is only powered by a Rolls-Royce jet engine, then driver Andy Green switches on the rocket engine. The two engines produce a total of 135,000 hp.

Acceleration from zero to 1,600 km /h will take 55 seconds. This is what the mathematicians have calculated. Even more impressive: the Bloodhound SSC only takes 17 seconds to get from 800 to 1,600 km /h. At full speed, the aluminum wheels, each weighing 95 kilograms (unfortunately there are no tires), rotate at 10,200 revolutions per minute. Aerodynamics is a tricky chapter: at top speed the vehicle develops a downforce of 20 tons. Correct ground clearance is particularly important to keep the Bloodhound in perfect aerodynamic balance.

This is about millimeters - and the question of whether the Bloodhound takes off or scratches its nose in the desert floor. “The level control is done by a computer,” explains Green. 'That way I can concentrate fully on driving.'


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