29 May 2005

Inverted Aircraft

Today is the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500, my favorite auto race.

I'm always amazed, watching these cars, to realize these drivers are going faster down the back straight than I have ever gone in a helicopter!

A contemporary once related this story:
He was flying an Agusta 109 and was contracted to take videos of Mario Andretti in his Indy car at a test track at Phoenix.
They had to choreograph their timing to insure the helicopter was going full speed in the corner so they could video Mario come out of the corner and down the backstretch, going a full 60 miles per hour faster than the top speed of the Agusta.......a VERY fast helicopter!

These cars use lift in reverse (downforce) to stick them to the track. Above 120 m.p.h., theoretically they could actually drive upside-down, if they had a track that would allow them to do that!

I'd like to see a video of that!

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