News

January 29, 2018
 

Driver who broke land-speed record at Edwards killed in helicopter crash

Kenji Thuloweit
Edwards AFB, Calif.

The British steam car performs its basic operational trial April 1, 2009, at former World War II Royal Air Force Base Thorney Island in England. Steam heated by liquid petroleum powered the car. The car was brought to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to use the lake bed as a natural environment to test the car’s technology.

A helicopter crash in New Mexico Jan. 18 left five people dead and one injured according to several news agencies.

Among the dead is Charles Burnett III.

According to reports, Burnett was the driver of a British steam car that set the record for the fastest speed traveled by a steam car, which took place here at Edwards in 2009 [http://www.edwards.af.mil/News/Article/395479/steam-car-team-surpasses-century-old-record/]. The British steam car team broke a record that stood for more than 100 years with an official speed of 148.308 miles per hour set Aug. 26, 2009. The previous world record of 127.659 was set in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1906.

Officials from the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile approved the Edwards AFB track for the record attempt Aug. 19, 2009. The parameters set by the FIA required that the steam car make two passes across the lake bed in opposite directions within 60 minutes. The average of the two speeds is the official speed according the 2009 Edwards story.

Burnett was reportedly a wealthy British citizen with various interests.
 

A British steam car is displayed at Edwards July 15, 2009. The car later broke the land speed record on a six-mile stretch of one of the lake beds at Edwards AFB, Calif.




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