Friday, 31 October 2008
Jetblack flies the flag for New Zealand engineering
The spirit of adventure and enterprise is alive and kicking in New Zealand. Young Wellington businessman Richard Nowland
has set his sights on the New Zealand and Australian landspeed records and will be endeavouring to race into the history
books next year.
The project is called Jetblack and is the brainchild of Mr Nowland. Having purchased two Rolls Royce Avon 206 turbojet
engines on a web-based auction site, he now intends to fly the flag for New Zealand engineering and technology and hopes
that Jetblack will provide a fillip for those industries and the country as a whole.
“Such projects are usually only the domain of highly industrialised countries such as England and the United States;
Jetblack will be a representation of the spirit of this nation,” said Mr Nowland. “We aim to promote New Zealand’s
reputation for innovation and engineering capabilities on a world stage.
“New Zealand has an extraordinary ability to be innovative and creative in its manufacturing and technology industries.
The reality, however, is that these industries are largely ignored.
“I believe that Jetblack can inject new life into the industry and the economy, drawing on the expertise already
available and encouraging students and engineering graduates to get excited about prospects in this country.”
With an emphasis on developing the future of Kiwi engineering, involvement will be encouraged and facilitated at all
levels, including schools and universities. Mr Nowland says that he wants to engage people at all levels and that
Jetblack is not only a vehicle designed to set a new landspeed record, it is a vehicle for changing attitudes to
technology and engineering.
“The car is not only going to be an iconic and original project for New Zealand, we are aiming to make this a turning
point in the history of New Zealand industry,” he said.
It is intended that wherever possible, components and design will be of Kiwi origin. The car will be constructed with a
high-strength steel space frame with composite body, 8.25m in length and 2.3m wide. It will weigh an estimated 3,700kg.
The Rolls Royce engine provides 11,250lb thrust.
The target speed for the record is 300mph (483km/h) for this country and 622mph (1,000km/h) for Australia. Current
records stand at 216mph (347.5km/h) and 498mph (801km/h) respectively.