Frequently Asked Questions
These are a few of the questions that come up again and again – hopefully the answers will be of interest. If we’ve still not answered your question here, why not visit our forum, where one of the team will be happy to help?
When will Bluebird be finished? (The most frequently asked question of them all)
When, when, when? As you can imagine, we hear that word a lot. Well, how long is a piece of string? Bluebird is being built to the highest possible standard using as much original material as possible, systems and all, so she’ll be done when she’s done and not before. There is no hurry nor is there a deadline, secret or otherwise. If you follow our 'picture of the day', the diary, our forum and our You Tube updates, then you know as much as we do.
What colour is Bluebird-blue? (The second most frequently asked question)
The answer is anything that looks about right will probably do as the boat had many different shades applied over the years. You can’t go wrong! However, for her 1967 guise, follow the link for a definitive answer-
Will she run under her own power?
Yes, Bluebird K7 is being rebuilt to full running condition and will undergo a series of proving trials during which she’ll be worked back up to planing speeds so that what the public see in the museum is not a hollowed out husk of the once great craft as are so many museum objects; this will be a fully functional and proven machine. As of 2016, the team have already run several Orpheus engines successfully.
Who will drive her?
UK-based hydroplane pilot Ted Walsh has been announced as the lead pilot for K7. A highly experienced and skilled hydroplane pilot with a deep respect and understanding of the magnitude of the task, Ted is the best man for the job. The aptly-named Stew Campbell- currently (2016) a member of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team The Red Arrows- has been announced as Ted's understudy driver, bringing his professional military fast jet experience to the team.
How fast will she go?
Only as fast as she needs to go in order to plane and look as she should for display purposes. Available data suggests that she planes at around 65mph but there is no reliable, surviving information on her performance envelope so her optimal display speed is an unknown at present. Her engine is being de-rated so she will not be capable of record breaking speeds.
Can I visit the workshop?
Generally speaking, no. We don’t have the time or the facilities on most days. The place is a PC and H&S free zone where the crew can get on with their work unfettered by bureaucratic constraints so we don’t usually invite strangers to trip over things and fall on the sharp edges whilst breathing the residue of 1950s chemicals. On the other hand, if you message us to say that you’d really like to see what your sizeable donation is being spent on we’ll see what we can do.
Where will she run?
The project made a successful application to the Lake District National Park Authority for permission to exceed the speed limit on Coniston Water, though any straight stretch of freshwater with a mile or two of uninterrupted surface would suffice for the proving trials.
Are there plans to run K7 after the proving trials?
Nothing planned at the moment but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. K7 ought to be fully functional and capable of running again and we’d obviously hope that she does but she may also be forced into retirement by her trials depending on how well she stands up to the battering. At the very least her engine will have to be run periodically to keep her systems tip-top.
Will she be available as a promotional tool at other events?
This is not an option for the foreseeable future.
How is the project funded?
The museum building/displays therein and the K7 rebuild are separate endeavours and are funded independently. The rebuild programme relies on sponsorship from industry either in the form of materials or services but not funding. Cash donations from enthusiasts and the sale of merchandise provide the modest cash flow necessary to keep the project going. The project has no paid employees and all monies raised go directly into the rebuild.
What is the likely environmental impact of running Bluebird?
Twelve and a quarter… see diary archive 25th November 2008
What’s a type 3 idiot?
Bluebird Project guide to idiot types…
[An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.] (Wiki)
The standard idiot is to the human race what pigeons are to city streets. Irritating whilst simply being themselves and individually harmless whilst large concentrations can prove deleterious to health – mental health, that is.
An endearing characteristic of the standard idiot is that once the outward manifestations of idiocy are pointed out, and this may require some patience and the boiling-down of simple concepts, the standard idiot will usually grin in understanding then endeavour to improve themselves. The fact that they were born an idiot generally precludes spectacular progress but the process has a faintly charming quality nonetheless.
Danger level – minimal.
Type I Idiot.
The Type I is as above in many ways but lacking the kindly nature and slightly guilty manner when confronted with evidence of its own idiocy. The Type I is usually either obnoxious or overly friendly, the latter requiring most caution as those unskilled in spotting the more exotic idiot forms may realise somewhat later than is comfortable to tell the offender where to go. Occasionally a vestigial form of learning ability still exists in the Type I and, with extreme stimulation, a punch in the face, perhaps, or telling the offender precisely what you think in good strong language, this recessive attribute may briefly spring to life and exact beneficial change on the individual concerned.
Danger level – low to moderate.
Type II Idiot.
The first of the dangerous varieties, Type IIs are predominantly masters of the over-friendly method because all doorways to the human world would otherwise be closed without this vital coping tool. Mild pity may be taken on examples that combine stupidity with idiocy though these are rare – the majority of type IIs are reasonably intelligent but lack the closed loop linking self-observation to the learning and behavioural-modification centres of the brain.
This cerebral short-circuiting is best observed in the Type IIs frequent and expeditious flight into a huff condition when faced with the conflict between idiotic self-recognition and the absence of an innate mechanism for rapid behavioural modification.
Patients exhibiting these symptoms are at serious risk of spiralling into the Type III regime of heaping spectacularly stupid acts one upon the next in an orgy of self-defeat.
Another seldom-encountered evolution of the Type II is the intelligent / obnoxious variety where the cumbersome matter of outward friendliness is dispensed with in place of learning, researching and accumulating vast tracts of knowledge with which to impress and regale other idiot types and weaker subjects.
It should be noted that all Type IIs are dangerous due to a typical inability to modify their stance regardless of how utterly defeated, outgunned or proven wrong they may be. Extended periods of mental hibernation awaiting the trigger that will start them off all over again is typical and may give others some respite but the Type II has a single redeeming feature elevating it above the Type III, this being its modicum of low cunning and on rare occasions the Type II may see a vision – a vision of themselves as others see them – and, although unable to publicly acknowledge this epiphany, they will usually drop from sight at this point never to be seen or heard from again.
Danger Level – moderate to high.
Type III Idiot.
The Type III is to the human race what syphilis is to sex, it represents the highest functioning idiot life-form formally classified by social science. There’s good reason why words do not exist in the English language (nor probably any other) to fill the disbelieving silences left in the wake of Type III activity.
Type IIIs are the true masters of the over-friendly technique and with a penchant for overdone pleasantries they make smarming headway through the social orbit of their victims with a desperate need to please and a love of mummy that would make Oedipus blush.
True Type IIIs are serial losers with little to show for their stay on the planet, their calling requiring the sacrifice, faith and lifetime dedication of a monk.
Career-wise, they find themselves endlessly returned to square-one due to an inabilty to work with anyone, finally achieving middle-aged stagnation when claimed either by premature redundancy or a weak-willed and last-ditch attempt to work for themselves.
But what really sets the Type III apart from other idiot species is their staggering determination to heap one fantastically stupid act on top of the next leaving observers intrigued and dumbstruck in equal measure.
The Type III doesn’t rest for a moment – forging relationships that live and die like summer moths it slithers through society like diarrhoea, afflicting many but making no friends in a transitory universe utterly beyond its grasp where only family and other idiot types can tolerate long-term association.
Like cancer, two discreet forms exists. The benign form is often found in bureaucratic circles making preposterous rules that no one can understand whilst the malignant form grows as an ugly, unwanted tumour within a social group spawning poisonous platitudes that, due to an inability to learn, alter little with the passage of time.
How did the project start?
It was born from the frustration of a group of wreck-diving enthusiasts who’d evolved their wreck location techniques but due to working predominantly in the North Sea found themselves with only four months every year (in a good season) when they could indulge their passion.
What was needed was a winter project and the Bluebird wreck site met all the criteria. Interesting, undisturbed and technically challenging, yet it wasn’t considered until the words of a song sparked the interest.
‘Three hundred miles an hour on water’
‘In your purpose built machine’
From a track by Marillion (www.Marillion.com) called ‘Out Of This World’ from the album ‘Afraid Of Sunlight’.
How was the decision to recover Bluebird taken?
This decision was taken by members of the Campbell Family Heritage Trust shortly after the wreck was located. Bluebird’s discovery demonstrated that the required technology had made it into the hands of amateur divers, and this, combined with her excellent state of preservation meant that she would inevitably come under threat from souvenir hunters.
Another factor was the dwindling number of people directly related to Donald Campbell who were in a position to make appropriate decisions regarding the future of K7.
Was the body of Donald Campbell with the boat and how come the Navy missed him in 67?
No, he was located over sixty metres to the south-west having been ejected from the cockpit in the initial impact. The Royal Navy divers missed him because, according to their diving report at the time, they seemingly never discovered the impact site as it lies remote from the main wreckage trail.
Why not leave the boat as-recovered?
Again, a decision taken by family members based on the fact that as well as ending his life in spectacular fashion, Donald Campbell also enjoyed probably the most successful record breaking career in history, an achievement that sadly seems to be overshadowed by his one spectacular failure. This is not how they wish to see him remembered so the decision was taken to rebuild Bluebird to how she was pre-crash on the morning of 4th January 1967 using as much original material as possible.
Another factor is that displaying the shattered cockpit where a man died is generally considered to be ghoulish and in bad taste.