Dean Eldridge Paramania team rider has filed a claim for the FAI ‘Speed Over Straight Course 15/25 km’ world record (out and return).
After testing the Paramania Fusion 20 and Parajet Cyclone 294 combination in the UK last summer and knowing that we had a good turn of speed (70+ kph) it was always on the cards to find a suitable location and time to make a proper record attempt. The events in Arizona and subsequently California provided a great opportunity to first test and then go for the record for real. Also going for a record at a flying event gave us the greatest opportunity of having an official observer present.
The time went by so fast on the return that I had barely time to make any calculation or take in what a beautiful morning it was, intent instead not to stray off course and lose time/speed.
The 15/25km world speed record is currently set by Raffaeli Benetti who achieved 64.85kph in Italy in 2009. With our first test in Arizona on a completely standard Cyclone 294 with half a tank of fuel we recorded around 72kph in less than ideal conditions but this speed kept creeping up slightly the more weight we added. With the brand new engine running-in nicely, a full tank of fuel, a few adjustments to the speed-bar and a few kilos of bullets (we are in Arizona after all!) the speed increased to over 74kph, perfect.
Salton Sea, California – early. Dean had a little more time for testing and getting everything ready for a proper run and possibly speed attempt. Also it is important for speed runs in the States to give the judges the exact coordinates of the course before the attempt,so he had only seen the course on Google Earth but it was now possible to fly it for real.
It was decided on Thursday 3rd to make the first official attempt meaning everyone had to be out of bed by 6am! Unfortunately the wind was not in Deans favor with a 10kph tail wind for the first leg. Also it meant for some outrageous rotor and turbulence at the far end of the course, “The highly loaded Fusion20 was getting a good battering but not even fluttering a wing-tip, quite incredible.”, Dean said. We came back with a record of 65.5kph but this was not a big enough margin so another try was planned for Saturday morning when lighter winds were expected.
Dean caught a flu over the previous couple of days but that did not stop him for an attempt on a perfect wind free Saturday morning. “My Cyclone 294 felt more like 200kgs to pick up than the small 70kgs that it actually was!” Dean said. He was flying a Fusion 20 that meant he knew with a whiff of the propeller, and a quick stagger through the soft sand, he could be airborne in a second and heading off to start the course.
Dean had a slight headwind at 300ft altitude meaning an average speed of 70kph for the first leg was achieved. After turning around, gaining a little height, and heading back down the course, the ground speed increased to 80kph with the slight tail wind, perfect.
“The time went by so fast on the return that I had barely time to make any calculations or take in what a beautiful morning it was, intent instead not to stray off course and loose time/speed.”, he said. “After crossing the finishing line, cooling down and stopping the engine and gliding back in to the landing zone I was amazed again at how easy it is to land a tiny reflex wing with an incredible 150+ kgs hanging underneath it, stopping with just a few short steps in virtually no wind.”
Dean was greeted with hoots, hollers and celebrations from everyone when Jeff Goin, our official observer announced that our average speed for the two runs was 73.84kph beating the old record by a big margin!
Now the task starts with all the paperwork to make everything official. Being a UK national and holding a UK FAI licence, the attempt will first be registered as a UK record before going on (if successful!) to become a new world record. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed.
Dean includes, “A huge thank you to everyone who helped out with this attempt, it was a team effort through and through and not achievable by just one person alone, especially with the flu!!”
Paramania team Pilot – Dean Eldridge
Start time – 0700
Date – 05.02.2011
Location – Salton Sea, California (218 feet below sea level!) Paratoys event.
Motor – Parajet Cyclone 294 (standard)
Wing – Paramania Fusion 20 (competition spec)
Official Observer – Jeff Goin
Record category – Speed over Straight course 15/25km
Performance – 73.84kph (average over whole course)
Total take-off weight (pilot/wing/motor) – 157.3kgs (including 15kgs of bullets!)
Wind – nil