Published October 14, 2013
This "girl" can fly.
TV personality Jesse Combs has set a women’s land speed record in the jet-powered North American Eagle, and the team has set its sights on the overall mark next year.
The “All Girls Garage” host made two runs on the dry lakebed at Oregon’s Alvord Desert last week at an average speed of 392 mph, breaking the existing women’s record for four-wheel vehicles of 308 mph, set in 1965 by land speed record Legend Craig Breedlove’s wife Lee.
The North American Eagle is essentially an F-104 Lockheed Starfighter jet that’s had its wings clipped and wheels attached, two spread wide at the rear and two close together under the fuselage just behind the cockpit.
During one of the runs, Combs hit a maximum velocity in excess of 440 mph, still a bit short of the 512 mph overall women’s record held by Kitty O’Neil, who hit it in a rocket-powered three-wheeler in 1976.
Team spokesperson David Cohn tells FoxNews.com that plans are to get Combs in the car again next year to go after O'Neil's record, but the North American Eagle's sights are set much higher than that.
This record run doubled as a shakedown for the vehicle, which owner Ed Shadle plans to drive for the land speed record in 2014 in the hopes of bringing it back to the USA after a 31-year absence.
The current mark of 763 mph was set by British fighter pilot Andy Green in 1997 at the helm of the Thrust SSC, which also became the first car to break the sound barrier and crushed the previous record of 634 mph set by Richard Noble in 1983.
Noble was the engineer behind Green’s car, and the team will be looking to best their record in 2015 in the all-new Bloodhound SSC, a jet and rocket-propelled vehicle that has been designed to go over 1,000 mph.