I was first fascinated by the Apollo moon projects as a small lad and have fond memories of building an Airfix Saturn V rocket (which stood about 2 ft tall, rather precariously) and doing a fancy round Apollo XI jigsaw; having a name like "Armstrong" also helped (no relation). The Spitfire, Concorde, the Space Shuttle and a Dad who worked on fascinating aircraft R&D projects, from WWII refits to bomb the Tirpitz to Tornado in the 1980's, also helped fuel an interest in all manner of fast and high flying machinery, which as I reflect has weaved into many things I'm involved with today.
I'd also developed an interest in the UK's heritage and not insignificant success in breaking speed records, most notably the "Bluebird" achievements of the Campbell's, Malcolm and Donald and his eventual water-speed tragedy at Coniston Water. Other blog posts I suspect.
Jumping on a bit - when, at an event I was at in Sept 2013, former land speed record holder (1983 - 1997) Richard Noble was asked a question "why are you trying to go even faster when you (ThrustSSC) already hold the record?" "Well, he answered, we heard the Americans were planning to beat it so we needed to push even further!" Legend.
Back a few years I was at a car show, drooling over all manner of things automotive, when I came across the Bloodhound SSC roadshow with Noble and Co building interest and generating partnerships/funding for the new project. The target aim to break 1000mph in South Africa in 2012 pushing on from the 1997 record, set by Thrust SSC with Mr balls-of-steel Andy Green at the helm at a gentle 763mph. I wanted to find out more and signed up to be a Gold Member of the "1k Club" to get info and be better involved.
2012 didn't happen but a few weeks ago I went down to Avonmouth, Bristol to attend an update presentation, hear about the project and see how the car was coming along - what a challenge of engineering and people! The updates from Richard Noble and the team were informative and enlightening and some of the statistics and work being undertaken clearly shows how the project is taking hold globally...and boggling the mind. It sits fully in the UK's STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) education agenda and is engaging and inspiring a generation from theory, to technical, to innovation via design and just taking on big ideas - brilliant. I'm getting involved with this too and that'll feature here later - subscribe for updates or follow me on Twitter (@shaunarmstrong)
Target is 2015 at Hakskeen Pan in South Africa...the journey continues!
Full Gallery of images from Bloodhound SSC project at HG Avonmouth in September 2013