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Past Meeting

Richard Meredith-Hardy - Flying over Everest (and a JCB!)

Note: all photographs here are ©Richard Meredith-Hardy.

At SW face of Everest
Richard over Everest
Over Mont Blacn
Over Mont Blanc
Sydney Opera House
Over Sydney Opera House

Richard Meredith-Hardy should be just as well known as Richard Branson and Richard Noble! His 100 record-breaking microlight achievements include London to Cape Town, London to Sydney, the world speed record, and winner of the European and World Championships. Hes flown over oceans, the Rift Valley, and perhaps most notably over Everest at 30,000ft!

His many awards include pesentations from Prince Philip & the Duke of York and British & American Gold Medals. These place him in a small group alongside Buzz Aldrin, Yuri Gagarin, Amy Johnson, Charles Lindbergh and the Wright brothers! Hes organised many events and presided over many juries. The numerous pictures and films which he has created include the iconic pictures of the shockwave around Thrust SSC as it broke the sound barrier in 1997.

He presented us with a highly informative and entertaining talk on his part in various record-breaking events. He showed a wide selection of pictures and videos of the ThrustSSC supersonic record, the JCB Dieselmax which smashed the diesel Land Speed Record in 2006, and his flight to the peak of Everest in a microlight whilst towing a hang glider.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

More About Mount Everest

Richard Meredith-Hardy flew over Mount Everest (29,035ft / 8848m) on 24thMay2004. Despite some very marginal weather conditions and some last minute technical glitches, he towed Angelo dArrigo in his hang glider to a point very close to the summit, and shortly afterwards Richard exchanged waves with climbers as he flew over the summit itself. Each took unique pictures of the other.

Technically, this was an extremely difficult expedition. The take off while towing at 12,000ft was very marginal, the weather was extremely variable, logistics were difficult and of course Everest is a very dangerous place. However, two years of detailed preparation meant that when a suitable weather window did eventually occur, the team was able to exploit it. The resulting photography was breathtaking.

More About Thrust SSC

Sydney Opera House
©Richard Meredith-Hardy
See: www.flymicro.com/photolib
Richard Meredith-Hardy flew a microlight above Black Rock Desert, Nevada on 8thOctober1997 as Andy Green passed by in Thrust SSC. This is what the scene actually looked like from the microlights 500ft above.

Once the Thrust SSC engines were started and stable there was a delay of a few minutes while the Jaguar XJ fire engine dashed the eight miles to the far end of the measured mile, hence the "tower" of dust at the beginning. Andy Green then released the brakes and let the car build up to 150mph or so to avoid any stones and debris going into the engines. Then he let his 110,000 horses loose and with the afterburners fired up he was accelerating at around 25mph/sec.

Passing through 550mph Andy experienced an instability which meant he had to weave almost lock to lock until about 650mph when things settled down again. This could always be seen from the microlights, and the wiggle in the dust-trail is clearly visible in the photo. Andy is most definitely made of the right stuff!

In this photo the dust-trail is about seven miles long; hes about one second into the measured mile and the shockwave is very distinct. At this speed he covered the entire mile in only four seconds and on each of the five timed supersonic runs there was a terrific Boom Boom heard in the microlights above.

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Date:14 April 2016

Place:Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL), South Parks Rd, Oxford, OX13TA

Sqn. Ldr. A. Garretts MBE (retd) - The Berlin Air Lift 1948-1949

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