K7 Lloyds Badge

‘Three hundred miles an hour on water, in your purpose built machine"

The decision to raise Bluebird, in March 2001 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.

 

The Bluebird Project was born from the frustration of a group of wreck-diving enthusiasts lead by Bill Smith, who’d evolved their wreck location techniques but due to working predominantly in the North Sea found themselves with only four months every year when they could indulge their passion.
 What was needed was a winter project and the Bluebird K7 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' words from a track by Marillion called  Out Of This World’

The decision to raise Bluebird, in March 2001 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. 

 Donald Campbell was located in May 2001, 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 exact impact site as it lay remote from the main wreckage trail. 
 The decision to restore Bluebird was 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 wished 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.

 Here are some frequently asked question and their answers.

 

 When will Bluebird be finished?

The rebuild still faces some unknowns, however the aim is to have K7 back on the water sometime in  early 2012. She’s being rebuilt to the highest possible standard using as much original material as possible so she’ll be done when she’s done.

 

 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.

 

 Who will drive her?

Our UK-based pilot is yet to be chosen and announced but K7’s new pilot will be an experienced and skilled hydroplane pilot with a deep respect and understanding of the magnitude of the task. Current WWSR holder Ken Warby has already accepted the offer to handle K7 for some of the runs but whether he chooses to do so remains at his discretion.

 

 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.

 

 Where will she run?

An application with the Lake District National Park Authority for permission to exceed the speed limit on Coniston Water has been approved in August 2010.

 

 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 we’d expect that her engine will have to be run periodically to keep her systems tip-top.

 

 How is the project funded?

The museum building and display and 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.

 

Please follow this link to The Bluebird Project website to keep up to date with the rebuild of Bluebird K7


                  

UA-32821923-1