QMT Features: October 2017
Water speed challenge
A British team is using portable measurement technology to perfect a potentially world-beating hydroplane

The current world water speed record of 317.18 mph / 510.45 km/h was set by Australian Ken Warby in Spirit of Australia in1978. The four decades since then represent by far the longest period that the record has stood unbeaten.

Project Longbow, under project leader David Aldred has the ultimate aim of breaking that impasse. The team, includes serving British military pilot, Lt. David-John Gibbs RN, as driver for the craft, and a group of British experts with a joint passion to design, develop, build and successfully run their jet hydroplane Longbow.
Once constructed this craft will hopefully be a learning platform and basis for a credible attempt to challenge the Outright World Water Speed Record.   

David Aldred explained. “A jet hydroplane can be described as a pure thrust gas turbine or rocket powered boat, with a hull designed in such a way that when high speeds are achieved, the craft only has a few square inches of its surface in contact with the water surface, which in turn reduces hydrodynamic drag to a minimum”.
A major contributor to the Longbow project is Kevin Hardcastle, design engineer and founder of Aximo Ltd, a product and mechanical design consultancy. Kevin’s acknowledged expertise and considerable experience in a range of relevant 3D CAD and CAE tools, has been invaluable in assisting with the design of the craft.

To enable Kevin to produce the required drawings for analysis of the driver cockpit from the buck already fabricated, the assistance of Manchester Metrology’s laser scanning services was enlisted. Given the project’s demanding accuracy requirements, Neil Blakeman of Manchester Metrology used a FARO Edge ScanArm HD to scan the drivers tub and to capture the required data for conversion into a NURBS format.

Neil said. “Manchester Metrology offer specialist contract measurement services using the latest metrology technology and provide support both in the UK and worldwide. Given Longbow’s challenging accuracy requirements we decided to use the FARO Edge ScanArm HD to scan the driver’s cockpit, as it has an accuracy specification of ±25µm. The Edge ScanArm HD combines the flexibility and functionalities of a FARO Edge measuring Arm with the high-definition Laser Line Probe HD, the kind of powerful contact/non-contact portable measurement system that is ideal for challenging applications such as Longbow.

“Also, as each of Longbow’s team of experts and technical contributors have ‘day-jobs’ and give their time voluntarily, it was important to use a technology that could capture and process the required precise data in a timely fashion.
“The Edge ScanArm HD proved perfect for the task of scanning Longbow’s driver’s tub. All of the essential data was collected precisely and quickly.”

David Aldred concluded “Although we have already made significant progress, the Longbow project is still in its design and prototype phase. As this foundation period is fundamental to the ultimate success of the project, the considerable expertise and hard work of Kevin Hardcastle of Aximo Product Design Consultancy has been invaluable. In addition, the much appreciated assistance of Manchester Metrology and the company’s use of FARO’s Edge ScanArm HD has enabled the project to make another major leap forward.”
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Rob Tremain Photographer
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