Cornwall is recovering from three high octane days of Bloodhound SSC testing at Cornwall Airport Newquay. If you’re not one of the estimated 2.6 billion people who saw the publicity generated by the test runs, Bloodhound SSC is the UK’s attempt to smash the current land speed record of 763mph by going a phenomenal 1000mph!!
Bloodhound SSC aims to break the record in South Africa when the car will speed across the Hakseen flood pan from 0-1000mph in just 55 seconds. However, before the car can achieve this supersonic feat it needed a test environment capable of putting the car through its paces. Cornwall Airport Newquay was chosen after an exhaustive UK search by the Bloodhound team that consists of engineers from top companies including Aston Martin, Williams F1, McLaren F1 and Rolls Royce. No other location offered the combination of aerospace environment, runway length, rocket test facilities, and local engineering skills. Cornwall Airport Newquay is currently among the leading locations to be named the UK Spaceport, and the same qualities that make Cornwall suitable for spaceflight systems to launch into space also make Newquay the perfect fit for supersonic car testing.
‘Bloodhound : Driving the world’s fastest car in 360 video – BBC News’
Over 10,000 sponsors, VIPs, members of the public and students witnessed history being made over the three days of testing as Bloodhound SSC reached speeds of over 200mph down Newquay’s nearly 3km long runway. The excitement of seeing Bloodhound’s Rolls Royce Eurofighter engine afterburner fire is something no one will ever forget. From high powered company sponsors to students choosing their GCSE’s the reaction to seeing Bloodhound SSC speed past was the same, jaw-dropping amazement.
The publicity Bloodhound SSC attracts has been a huge opportunity for Cornwall to showcase its aerospace sector, which as part of the South West Aerospace cluster is the 2nd largest aerospace cluster in the world. The public test runs were the culmination of over 6 years of partnership between Bloodhound SSC and Aerohub.
‘Aerohub team with [2nd from left] Bloodhound SSC project lead Richard Noble’
Aerohub at Cornwall Airport Newquay is a dedicated Aerospace Enterprise Zone and is home to world-leading companies including Lockheed Martin, Apple Aviation, Leonardo, Cobham, British International Helicopters and Western Aviation. Over 500 people are employed in non-airport passenger roles at Aerohub, providing a ready-made talent pool of engineers if Bloodhound needed to discuss an issue or borrow a spanner during the months of testing prior to the public runs.
‘The SW Aerospace Cluster.’
Cornwall’s emergence as a global destination for next-generation businesses, not just space and aerospace, but also in the creative, marine, agritech and health sectors, has occurred largely in the 10 years since Bloodhound arrived and the project’s influence putting Cornwall on the map internationally cannot be overstated. Bloodhound has been a major profile raising success for Cornwall as fans across the world discover Cornwall’s infrastructure and engineering companies are world class.
Engaging young people is at the heart of everything the Bloodhound team does and it is a vital UK initiative to inspire students about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects and careers. The Bloodhound Education Programme is followed in 220 countries worldwide, and 6000 UK schools use Bloodhound content in their lessons. Over 1000 Bloodhound Ambassadors have visited UK schools over the last few years inspiring 2 million children about robotics, aerodynamics, rocketry, programming, electronics and maths. Every school in Cornwall was invited to attend the final test run on 30th October, and many other schools made the journey from across the UK. The looks of excitement on student’s faces during the runs and the questions they asked exhibitors at the Cornwall Skills Show hosted at the airport on the same day showed just how enthused Bloodhound has got students in Cornwall. Hopefully, by shining a light on the amazing engineering companies and opportunities available here, students will realise they can achieve their career ambitions from right here in Cornwall.
Witnessing the test runs at Newquay it seems almost unimaginable that Bloodhound SSC aims to travel 5 times faster in South Africa. Students who attended the test runs weren’t born when driver Andy Green and Richard Noble set the current land speed record in 1997, which further illustrates what a truly once in a generation experience Bloodhound SSC has been. Cornwall can always be proud of the part it has played, and if we can deliver the engineering careers legacy Bloodhound intends, it will be a project that contributes to Cornish success for many years to come.
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