Richard Jenkins, an engineer from Hampshire, England, has broken the world land speed record for a wind-powered vehicle by reaching a speed of 202.9km/h (126.1 mph). Meet the man and his amazing Greenbird car below.
According to news sources, the Greenbird car is the fifth vehicle Jenkins has built in an attempt to break the record, which he finally succeeded in doing on the dry plains of Ivanpah Lake in Nevada. Bob Schumacher, an American, set the previous record of 116 mph back in 1999 driving his Iron Duck vehicle. For Jenkins, the Greenbird victory is the fulfillment of a dream; he spent much of his youth sailing on the South Coast of England and from the age of 10 was designing what he calls "radical contraptions”.
In Mr. Jenkins’ words to the BBC"
“It took me 10 years of hard work to break the record and on that day things couldn't have been better. It's great, it's one of those things that you spend so long trying to do and when it actually happens, it's almost too easy.”
The Greenbird is a unique carbon fiber composite vehicle that utilizes solely wind as a source of power. The wing bearings and the wheel unit comprise the only metalwork. Some describe the Greenbird as a “very high performance sailboat” that uses a solid wing, rather than a sail, to generate movement. At high speeds, the shape of the craft allows for the wings to provide lift, which is a useful feature for an aircraft but highly perilous for a car. To reduce the hazards, designers of the Greenbird have added small wings to “stick” the car to the ground in the same manner Formula 1 cars do.
Jenkins has also built a wind-powered craft that travels on ice, which he plans to spend time perfecting for competition. He goes on to say:
“Now that we've broken the record, I'm going back on to the ice craft. There's still some debate as to whether traveling on ice or land will be faster. But I think we've got some time. 126.1 mph was a good margin to beat the record and I think it will be some time before anyone else breaks it.”
Can’t imagine what’s next after traveling on ice, can you?