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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:54 pm 
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If you've seen many of the automobile based restoration shows or (a season of Mythbusters), you'll know her.
She was killed Tuesday in a Land Speed Record car based on a F-104 fuselage.

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2019/08/2 ... t-10660017

In addition to her TV work she was also a racer and talented fabricator.

RIP and condolences to her family and friends.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:10 pm 
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Just saw the news, so tragic.

https://www.jessicombs.com/single-post/ ... 483227-mph

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Ame ... le_Project


Last edited by Joe Scheil on Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:13 pm 
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She was on PowerNation too, so sad... :(

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:28 pm 
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I remember watching her on Xtreme 4x4 many years ago.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:19 pm 
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I never met her, but I saw the car on a few occasions in Western WA...

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:10 pm 
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Notice the pilot names on the side of the '104 (seen on her website link above)...it was flown by a "Who's who" of NACA/NASA test pilots.
A historic airframe. It's gratifying to see it's current owners commemorated that history.

I also noticed in the photos that it seems to have had an ejection seat fitted (of course it could have been there just for looks).
Anyone know if it was operational..and if it was retrofitted to a modern "zero-zero" type?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:11 pm 
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JohnB wrote:
Notice the pilot names on the side of the '104 (seen on her website link above)...it was flown by a "Who's who" of NACA/NASA test pilots.
A historic airframe. It's gratifying to see it's current owners commemorated that history.

I also noticed in the photos that it seems to have had an ejection seat fitted (of course it could have been there just for looks).
Anyone know if it was operational..and if it was retrofitted to a modern "zero-zero" type?

Sad news, condolences to those who knew her.

Regarding the ejection seat. I seriously doubt it had "hot seats" as there would be no need for it. If that racer went out of control, which would presumably be the reason for having the ejection seat in the first place, it would both tumble and roll. Any time the seat was not pointing straight up and was fired would almost always result in a fatal consequence.

In addition to that, all ejection seats have some kind of delay. According to the F-104 manual, the delay is about .3 seconds from the time the ejection seat handle is pulled until the seat actually fires. That amount of time is an eternity and would be impossible for a driver to have the super-human reaction to time the pull in coordination with the fuselage/seat pointing straight up. So, in effect, having an ejection seat in that car, in my opinion, would be a huge safety detriment and a fatal design characteristic. If you don't believe me, just look up the statistics on fatal ejection sequences from military jets where the pilot pulled the ejection handle when at or near ground level upon encountering some kind of rolling moment on the aircraft. As soon as a rolling moment is initiated at ground level, unless it is very slow, it is almost always better to stay with the aircraft and not eject. This same dictum applies to this racer as well.

There would be no reason to have an ejection seat in that car and the only time it would be useful would be if the car went off a cliff. I don't think that was a consideration in its speed runs. All of the previously mentioned is also contingent upon the version of the F-104 fuselage it was based off of. Remember, the early models of the aircraft had downward firing ejection seats. That also, would completely negate the reason to have an ejection seat in a ground based vehicle.

Even if you had enough reaction time to initiate ejection, chances are you would blackout or have so many rotational G's that you wouldn't be able to reach the handles. This is the reason why in many military jet aircraft, there are at least 2 or 3 different ways to initiate the ejection sequence. The designers assumed that either lateral or rotational G forces might be so severe as to inhibit the pilot from reaching a mere 4 to 6 inches to reach the handles. Physics is a bitch!

Remember, a car or any ground based vehicle that is out of control is completely different from an aircraft that is out of control or unlandable. Any car that is out of control will result in some type of spinning, tumbling and rolling about numerous axis's. Trying to time an ejection seat initiation off of a rapidly spinning vehicle would be pure suicide.

There are many reasons to NOT have an ejection seat in that aiframe/racer and I've only covered a few of those. To have a "hot" ejection seat in that racer would be very dangerous and actually make it much more unsafe than it would without it.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:17 am 
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Never a dull moment in that long lived Starfighter’s life, and there is always mortal peril at speed. Tailwinds and a becoming horizon to a brave driver....

56-0763 seen here at Edwards, date unknown..and with the X-15...follow the link!

http://www.916-starfighter.de/Large/Stars/wu763.htm


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:04 am 
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JohnB wrote:
If you've seen many of the automobile based restoration shows or (a season of Mythbusters), you'll know her.
She was killed Tuesday in a Land Speed Record car based on a F-104 fuselage.

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2019/08/2 ... t-10660017

In addition to her TV work she was also a racer and talented fabricator.

RIP and condolences to her family and friends.

From reading the bio about the team months ago, the North American Eagle is a 104 fuselage, not just based on it. They turned a 104 into a land speed car. The information presented mentioned that the ultimate goal was 800 mph, but they first wanted to make Jessi the fastest woman on 4 wheels and the fastest woman period. Very unfortunate and heartbreaking to hear about the accident.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:54 pm 
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Crash happened on Tuesday. On Wednesday night was the 7th season premier of the TV show "Jay Leno's Garage", which Jessie had been a guest on previously - driving a Bugatti Veyron - and at the end they had a dedication page for her.
Production for the show season has been ongoing for months, but they pulled off the dedication in less than 24hrs.
:)

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:40 pm 
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Yes very sad loss of a very cool woman. Ejection seat? Ive seen videos of planes close to the ground and up side down eject.
If it had a correct gyro guided ejection seat and as soon as she knew it was going wrong hit a button on the steering wheel and go. At least there would be a chance and any chance is better than no chance.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:44 pm 
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The reason I asked about the seat is the racer clearly shows the seat and yellow/black handles.
So, it was either left there for looks...or it was functional.
If it wasn't functional, I'd thought they would have removed it and replaced it with a modern racing seat to save weight...and possible safety or ergonomic advantages.

I've never heard of a racing car (or in this case, a record setting car) not maximized for low weight. That's why I found the ejection seat noteworthy.

Lon Moer...yes, that was a nice touch at the end of the Leno show.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:45 pm 
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The original seat was left in (to my knowledge) simply because it allowed them to focus on much more important things. That seat, even if deactivated, is well engineered, has a level of crash-worthiness, and already has all the needed connections and anchor points to restrain the driver/pilot. Additionally, remember that when you're doing runs like this, use of oxygen is a must for various reasions, so leaving all those quick disconnects in place to allow for rapid exgress in case of emergency is also beneficial.

I was stunned to hear of Jessi's passing. I had to go searching for several confirmations to make sure it was real because the first thing I saw was almost an in-passing mention (not in a bad way) that I think was from someone who I know was close to her was was obviously in shock themselves when they posted. I followed Jessi since her early days as a TV host and was absolutely stoked to see her join the North American Eagle team. Jessi's friends, family, and most especially, her team that had to witness the horrific crash, have been in my prayers the last few days and I wish them the best on finding their way forward, whatever it may be.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:31 pm 
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The latest article I read said she ran off the lake bed because she was unable to slow/stop for whatever reason.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:05 am 
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See here for a photo of the driver's seat: https://www.landspeed.com/wp-content/up ... G_4480.jpg

Looks a lot like the original ejection seat, but certainly modified and no longer live. The photo is from the July 27th update page, see here: https://www.landspeed.com/stories/proje ... y-27-2019/

More photos of the seat can be found here: https://www.landspeed.com/driver-seat/

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