The Blue Flame Rises Again
Fifty years ago this past October 23, The Blue Flame—an innovative, aerodynamic, rocket-powered version of the ultimate dragster—broke the land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah, at 630.388 miles per hour. That momentous event shared its beginnings at Illinois Institute of Technology thanks, in part, to a legacy roster of fuel-inspired automotive and energy luminaries that includes Ray Dausman and Richard “Dick” Keller, IIT Research Institute technologists; Henry R. Linden (Ph.D. CHE ’52), president of the Institute of Gas Technology; Thomas Morel (M.S. ME ’69, Ph.D. ’72); and faculty members Andrew Fejer, T. Paul Torda, and Sarunas C. Uzgiris (M.S. ME ’63, Ph.D. MAE ’66). To commemorate that record and the team’s derring-do, Keller recently published the memoir Speedquest: Inside The Blue Flame, with motor-racing journalist David Tremayne. October 23, 2020, was also proclaimed Blue Flame Day in Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin.