Twelve years ago today, on October 15, 1997, Lt. Cmdr. Andy Green, a fighter pilot in Britain’s Royal Air Force, chauffeured Englishman Richard Noble’s 10-tonne Thrust SSC (SuperSonic Car), powered by twin Rolls Royce Spey 205 jet engines, to two official world Land Speed Record runs. SSC posted a 763.035 miles per hour average for two runs on the 14-mile dry lakebed of Black Rock Desert, Nevada. This broke the sound barrier on land one day after the 50th anniversary of test pilot Chuck Yeager’s shattering it in the air.
Two separate runs, averaged, are required in opposite directions within one hour of each other in order to establish an official world record. This requirement negates the effects of one-time good luck and tail winds. After the first run at 759.333 MPH when SSC cracked the first sonic boom across Black Rock, a second boom was heard on the return run at a staggering 766.609. The speed of sound is roughly 756.
Imagine the thrill not of reading instruments or computer printouts but of hearing your achievement trumpeted in the form of a sonic boom. Awesome. No mistake there… You can read the whole story at thrustssc.com
Setting the land speed record is one of those things you do not for wide glory, but for pure excitement and sheer challenge. After all few know the names of Noble or Green or earlier pioneers like Sir Malcolm Campbell who first broke the 300 MPH mark at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in his Bluebird car at 301.129 MPH. The year was 1937. Earlier records had been set on the edgewater of the ocean in Britain and Florida, where long stretches of hardpacked sand are available. But that became too dangerous as speeds increased.
Few know the names of other speed pioneers like Art Arfons (576.553), Craig Breedlove (600.601) or Gary Gabelich whose Blue Flame was the only rocket-powered car in the bunch (622.407).
Yet hundreds of thousands can name the last 10 winners of the Daytona 500. The fastest lap ever for a NASCAR stock car was Bill Elliott in 1987 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama at a piddling 212.809 MPH.
The Land Speed Record is one of those highly individualistic achievements that man seeks simply “because it is there”. Like climbing Mount Everest. Or going to the moon. And today two separate teams, one American and another British Noble team, are preparing to confront the 800 mile per hour barrier. Because the realization of such a goal is part of man’s great history of individual accomplishment that some people want to stamp out in favor of bland cultural collectivism. And this is not only wrong, but against all the good instincts of humanity.
Look at the great art, architecture and design in history. Look at the fantastic feats of engineering that made our modern world possible, and allowed man to rise above mere existence. Think of the great sculptors and scientists who struggled, often alone, to create masterpieces that would change the world. Or wiremaker John Augustus Roebling who conceived and designed the Brooklyn Bridge when it seemed only a fantasy over such a long span. His special cables made it possible.
In today’s increasingly collectivist world, however, such people are marginalized in favor of multicultural mass thinking that treats everyone and every culture as equally capable. Yet where would we be had not penniless Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie come to America, risen up throughout his life and created the most advanced steel-making technologies? Or had not Steve Jobs built computers in his California garage when nobody else cared about them?
You could really say the following: That if it were not for 500 rugged individualists with vision, that we all would be living in caves. Because they are the people who changed the world, people like Croatian immigrant Nikola Tesla who defied his one-time boss Thomas Edison and developed the alternating current (AC) electricity that powers the world today, while Edison believed it would be direct current (DC). Yet in the end, both have contributed to our modern way of life. Because DC won’t go long distances, but on the other hand we never could run our computers with 110 volts AC zapping into the circuits. We need that little DC converter on the plug to ‘step down’ Tesla’s AC.
Yet today few people know who Nikola Tesla was, like few know the pioneers of the Land Speed Record. This is part of our dreadful left-wing multicultural educational system that thinks that Rodney King or Billie Jean King are more significant figures in American history than a genuine pioneer like Tesla. Few school children today learn about Tesla because he was a white European man. And while Tesla certainly contributed slightly in his own time to his ignominy – he had many “mad scientist” ideas like sending electricity through the air without wires – many of his “mad” ideas today are being re-investigated. In other words, he was ahead of his time. Way ahead.
Today our anti-American media and educational culture are marginalizing the achievements of true EuroAmerican individualists. The world economy is said to be shifting east to Asia. Yet everything that powers Asia today has been imported from the United States and Europe. Automobiles, steelmaking, computers, electronics, avionics and more all were invented in the West. Yet somehow many seem to be saying that America is declining as a global economic power.
This is nonsense. Because we still have most of the world’s genuine creative energy here on our shores.
Truth is that Asians are merely mimicking and building on the achievements of the West. It was an American named J. Edwards Deming who introduced modern auto-making to Japan. And now Japan has simply refined it. And today China has either imported or stolen every technology that powers that nation. Because China is not an inventive, pioneering culture like we are. Because we do things just “because they are there”, not necessarily for profit or power. And that is how we became the world leader in everything.
Next July 4 Richard Noble is preparing to shoot for the 800 MPH record in his Bloodhound SSC car, named for a British surface-to-air missile. Bloodhound has both a jet and a rocket on it, with an Aston Martin-type V12 engine… as a fuel pump!… to force 2,100 pounds of hydrogen peroxide into the rocket motor. The American competitor is Team North American Eagle co-owned by Keith Zanghi and Ed Shadle.
And while a few people are going to watch for and remember the exploits of these daring tinkerers, it will be a one-day national story if it happens. But behind the scenes these are the guys who are doing things for the love of it, and for the excitement and for the discovery. And in the end those are the things that really make life worth living and that really advance the causes of man for all of us, whatever our take on life.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.