Since launching the website in August 2016 we have been very pleased with the level of interest in the venture from the public, education centres, media and industry. With regards to the latter there is now sufficient product support to go forward with construction of the main hull of our jet hydroplane and an offer to refine the design of that hull with the aid of computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
In August my eldest daughter married and my wife’s mother passed away shortly afterwards, so you will appreciate how this impacted upon progress of the project. Nevertheless David-John Gibbs (DJ) and myself managed to have a meeting at EPM Technology Group in Derby with their CEO Graham Mulholland, in order to discuss the provision of a composite cockpit for the craft.
Following the meeting Graham was kind enough to take us on a tour of their Factory and show us not only their very impressive state of the art facilities for design and manufacture of composite structures but also some of the cutting edge work that they were undertaking for selective clients.
For those of you who have followed the nation’s favourite mechanic and bike racer Guy Martin, you should recognise the following composite vehicles that EPM provided for our hero’s speed record attempts as just an example of their work:
Another of this Nation’s legendary speed record holder’s is the late Donald Malcolm Campbell CBE, who was killed attempting to better his own water speed record on Coniston Water, England, 4th January, 50 years ago.
Whilst it may be easy to dwell on that tragic accident so long ago, for which it is readily documented that the craft, Bluebird was by far exceeding her original design speed, it is perhaps easy to forget that Donald was the most successful record breaker of all time, having broken the water speed record on several occasions. He remains the only person in history to have held both the land and water speed record in the same year and continues to be rated as one of Britain’s most patriotic and courageous heroes. Accordingly it is not with sadness that we look back at Donald’s life and achievements on this anniversary but with admiration and inspiration that a jet hydroplane, this time with state of the art composite driver safety cockpit, that simply was not available in his time, will once again be seen regularly running upon the lakes and lochs of this great Country.
Back at our humble cottage workshop we were aware that if the entire hull of our craft is to be completed at this site, then we would need to extend the length of enclosed space by around a minimum of 1.5m and that in turn would block off vehicular access to the rear garden. Bearing in mind how long this restriction may apply for if we are unable to secure more suitable premises, my good lady wife Gill, pressed me to first remove the overgrown Leylandii trees to that garden.
This was because once we had felled and disposed of the wood / greenery it would require heavy plant machinery via that rear access to grub up the roots once they had been felled and the wood dealt with. You will perhaps get a feel for the issue from the photographs shown below as we tackled the monsters (note Gill with the chainsaw):
Having dealt with that, our next headache was the transition into the winter months by the time we had sufficient product sponsors on board to commence hull construction and the resultant fall in temperatures with consequential rise in relative humidity. Ken Warby built the fastest boat in the world in sunny warm Australia, whereas here in England we have wet windy cold damp weather for what seems like a greater period with each passing year. Since epoxy and the materials we are using are sensitive to temperature and moisture in the air, this requires insulating our two storey cottage workshop and appropriate heating if we are to proceed during the unsuitable seasons.
It is either that or wait until Spring or move to a more spacious and insulated building. The advantage of building it at our cottage workshop are the facilities are immediately to hand. Another point being we are also keen to show this as a venture that anyone could achieve if they put their mind to it, mixing the state of the art facilities and skills of the likes of EPM with a cottage workshop where it is down to hand tools and innovation, along with guidance from the likes of our good friend Dave Warby.
Keeping things moving along we were invited by Dr. Arun Arjunan who is Course Leader in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton to discuss how he and his students could assist the venture with CFD analysis. They were in the midst of upgrading their facilities and it was very kind of Dr. Arjunan to show us around their very impressive facilities including their motor racing school:
During this time we were also invited by Cdr. Milsom of RAF Cosford to visit their Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) and had a wonderful tour of their facilities:
Speaking of chats with people, DJ and myself have enjoyed discussing the aspects of jet hydroplanes various experts in the record breaking field and it has not surprisingly been very helpful to bounce ideas around between us of how to approach the venture.
So that is a brief roundup of what we have been up to over the past four months in amongst us doing our day to day work and family life, or in the case of DJ flying for the military and having fun which is, at the end of the day, what this is all about.
Thank you for tuning in, please keep an eye out on the site and our Facebook page for further updates and all the very best to you and your families for 2017.