Thread: dan weldon dead
10-24-2011, 09:39 AM #21
10-25-2011, 03:25 AM #22
I once heard someone complain about richard branson and that other guy trying to circle the earth in their balloon. Someone said "why do these rich people waste all that money on stupid stuff, why cant they give it away to people who need it?"
I say rich people should do what they want with their money. They earned it, through hard work or inheritance. Either way, it's theirs. Only give it away if its a tax write-off...-----------------------------------------
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10-25-2011, 02:47 PM #23
If you ever get to see a collection of old race cars like this, in addition to the performance improvements made over the years, pay attention to the safety improvements. I mentioned open-wheel racers (specifically dirt-track cars) because some of the changes there are absolutely stunning. The real old-time cars, for instance, didn't even have roll cages, if you can imagine that. There have also been improvements to keep drivers' arms inside the cages when cars flip, and of course the more recent introduction of HANS devices.
Some of you may have seen the photo I posted in SYS a while back showing a 360 Sprint flipping all over over the place in turn 4 at Eldora. When that car finally came to rest, the driver crawled out with no visible ill-effects. Despite the nasty-looking ride, that car performed exactly as it was engineered to do during the crash. The bouncing and bending dissipated the energy of the car over a period of around five seconds, which is still sudden, but beats the hell out of a sudden stop.
Indy cars are similarly engineered to survive crashes. In the Vegas crash, all of the cars that stayed on the ground busted pieces off all over the place. The track looked like a tornado tore through a junk yard afterwards, but all of those cars dissipated energy as they broke up, and their drivers survived (most with little or no injury). As far as I understand, Wheldon's most serious injuries were caused because his car left the track surface (problem #1, because it's tough to dissipate energy in the air) and struck the fence driver-first (problem #2, because there's no driver protection for that beyond his helmet). Engineering didn't help here because this type of crash wasn't anticipated.
Personally, I think it's a little disappointing that Indycar didn't recognize the danger posed by cars being launched in the air. I expect (hope?) that they did wind tunnel testing at some point and concluded that Indy cars aren't susceptible to the same sort of self-induced flying that led NASCAR to put roof flaps on their cars, but open-wheel racers have known for many years that when these cars come together wheel-to-wheel, it's very possible (likely, even) for one of the cars to be launched into the air.
I expect that within a year or two, we'll see the introduction of safety equipment designed specifically to address crashes like this. I doubt that a NASCAR-type spoiler would have kept Wheldon's car on the ground, but maybe they need to look at some sort of roll cage on these cars for high-speed tracks -- I'd bet they could even make something that actuates to shield the driver if all four wheels are unloaded. Maybe there's a design change they can make to the fencing in the same way most big oval tracks have introduced "soft walls".
In any event, I hope that Wheldon becomes the inspiration for a round of safety improvements in the same way that Earnhardt did. A generation of safer drivers would be a fitting tribute, IMO.
10-25-2011, 06:27 PM #24
Richard Branson is a c*ck. (I've met him a few times) he steals other peoples ideas. My Dad and my Uncle (Who is 2x world hot air balloon champion) designed the balloon and thought up the idea to fly accross the Atlantic, my Uncles boss was Per Lindstrand "The other guy" and it led to rather a bitter argument as first my dad, then my uncle were "kicked" out of the balloon as it were, and not even credited or involved with the project.
And what a really sad fu**ed up world this would be if we all followed your example and said that we should never do anything for anyone else unless we benifited directly from it..
10-25-2011, 08:25 PM #25
In this case, one of the options I didn't mention is to just slow the cars down. Whether you like it or not, it's going to be part of the discussion, and if nobody's got a good way to improve safety without slowing the cars down, it'll be a serious part of the discussion. I hope that someone comes up with some options that are a little more creative than that, though.
10-25-2011, 08:49 PM #26
This was a sad and tragic accident. Indy has been addressing the issue of the tendancy of one care wheel climbing and launching into the air. Here is the Indy car of tomorrow. There was one of these on the track that day.
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10-29-2011, 11:10 AM #27
I clicked this off at the Indianapolis 500 Parade the day before Dan won the 2011 Indy 500.