Monthly Archives: June 2014

Jet Powered Water Sports

A few years ago now JetLev made waves around the world when they built a jet pack you could wear, powered by a jet ski and massive jets of water capable of propelling someone 10 metres into the air for a world of fun.

Engineering on jet powered personal water sport devices has come quite a way since then, now instead of needing to buy the entire product (jet ski and jet pack), you can just buy the jet pack and attach it to any normal jet ski – reducing the price from over $50,000 to under $10,000!

Now new water jet powered sports devices are starting to hit the market, two I’ve seen recently are by Zapata Racing. The first video below shows the Flyboard, which looks like a set of rigid boots with a jet of water under each one that allowed a lot more freedom and maneuverability than the original jet pack style devices by JetLev.

Recently the next stage of development by Zapata Racing has hit the water and they’ve built a jet ski powered hoverboard, which has a single jet at the back of the wakeboard and it produces some spectacular looking fun!

What will the next invention in this space look like?

Parking Infringement Notice

Today I parked in Macintosh Street in Auchenflower and walked to work. I’ve parked in that street in nearly the same position more than a dozen times in the last few weeks without any issue.

When returning to my car this afternoon, I find that I’ve received a parking infringement notice. Initially I thought it was an actual parking ticket but after reading it later I find out that it is a warning and not an actual penalty notice! Who knew that parking inspectors could issue a warning – amazing!

Brisbane City Council - Parking Infringement Warning Notice

First and foremost, I am totally impressed that the parking officer didn’t take the opportunity to penalise me – clearly I was doing something wrong but instead he/she chose to give me a warning – so impressed.

The offence listed on the ticket says:

Contrary to official traffic sign parking for a period longer than permitted maximum

That didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I’ve never noticed a parking sign in the area.

Wotif head office is located in Milton, not far down from Suncorp Stadium. In a lot of residential streets in the area there are signs up stating that ‘resident permits expected’. From speaking with people at work, I understand those signs have to do with encouraging people to take public transport (included in the ticket price for Suncorp Stadium) to avoid thousands of cars descending into the local area when an event is on.

I assumed I must have been warned for parking in one of those areas, which I thought was completely unreasonable since in a street about 100m long there would have been 10 cars parked on each side of the road – some of which could have belonged to the owners of the associated houses.

To check what might be going on I turned to Google Street View and you won’t believe it, but right beside where I park my car there is a street sign which I presume says maximum parking duration two hours. In the Google Street View photo the top of the sign itself is obscured by branches/leaves of a nearby tree – maybe that is why I didn’t notice it or I could simply be blind.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to drive past the area and check if that sign is still there or what the official parking requirements are for Macintosh Street. Whatever the case, I’m grateful to the parking inspector that they gave me a warning instead of just penalising me given that I was parking, albeit incorrectly, in what is otherwise an empty street not annoying anyone.

Willowbank Winternationals

Willowbank held the Fuchs Winternationals 2014 Thursday 5th June to Sunday 8th June. There was a massive line up of bikes, compacts, cars, funny cars, doorslammers, alcohol and of course top fuel.

I was disappointed that neither Victor Bray or Ben Bray were there on Sunday for the finals but on Saturday Ben was involved in a serious accident, moving seriously fast. Since Ben was in hospital with potentially serious injuries, Victor understandably pulled out of the finals on Sunday despite getting the green light from Ben to race.

According to the Courier Mail, Ben has suffered three fractured vertebrae, six fractured ribs and bruising to his lungs. He also reported shoulder pain to ambulance officers immediately after the crash but I don’t think that really rates compared to the pain of the aforementioned issues. There has been a huge amount of support for Ben, lots of well wishes have been sent to him already and I hope he’ll make a full recovery and be back in his thunderous beast in no time.

Top Fuel

Nathan managed to capture the start for the top fuel final at about 6PM between Damien Harris (right) and Anthony Begley (left). It was an absolutely spectacular run as the sun was down, lights were on and the massive flames from the exhausts were on full display. Damien took t he win in 4.756s at 283.71mph (456.58kph)! I’ve seen top fuel several times now and each and every time I see them – I am in complete awe at the incredible power, launch speed and the noise.

The noise, the noise, the noise, it is something else entirely – you can literally feel the engine beating while idling in the staging area from 30-40m away. If you put your hands on the ground, it is literally shaking from the engine. When they do their burn out to heat up their tires, it takes that noise to a whole new level – completely uncomfortable to hear if you don’t have ear plugs in. When you think it couldn’t get louder, you’re wrong because when they go full tilt when the lights go green – ohh my god – it is so loud, so much pressure and force it is actually hard to describe for those that haven’t witnessed it first hand!

Interesting Top Fuel Facts

In 2009 when Andrew and I attended the Winternationals last, Andrew took a photo of some interesting facts about top fuel on a sign in front of one of the top fuel pits as we stood there watching them rebuild and engine between races. It is a little hard to read the facts in the image, so I’ve written them out below for your enjoyment:

  • A top fuel dragster motor is 500 cubic inch Hemi engine
  • A stock Dodge 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine can not produce enough power to drive the dragsters supercharger
  • The redline is actually quite high at 9500rpm
  • Top fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light
  • Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load
  • Under full throttle, a top fuel dragster engine consumes 1.5 gallons (8 litres) of nitro methane per second
  • A fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced
  • With 3000 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into near solid form before ignition
  • Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle
  • At the stoichometric 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitro methane, the flame front temperature reaches 7050 degrees F
  • Nitro methane burns yellow
  • The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from the atmospheric water vapour by the searing exhaust gases.
  • Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug, which is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder
  • Spark plug electrodes are completely consumed in a pass
  • After way, the engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow of exhaust values at 1400 degrees F
  • Cutting the fuel flow can only shut down the engine
  • If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro methane build up in the affected cylinder and then explodes with sufficient force to blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half.
  • In order to exceed 300mph in 4.5s, a dragster must accelerate at an average of over 4G’s
  • In order to reach 200mph well before half track, the launch acceleration approaches 8G’s
  • The bottom line, assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew work for free and nothing blows up, each run costs an estimated $1000 per second.