The name Jim Drake is written in to windsurfing legend, as one of the original

partnership which brought windsurfing to the wider world. However, another -

and equally impressive - claim to fame is that Jim was involved in the design

of the X15 rocket plane, which set a speed record of 6.7 Mach in 1967 - a record

which has lasted to this day. We mention this because NASA has been attempting

to beat that record with its own hypersonic X-43 - an unmanned 4 metre surfboard

shaped jet, designed to be dropped along with its booster rocket from a B52

and allegedly capable of Mach 10. But it was not to be - the X-43A and its booster

rocket went out of control about eight seconds after ignition during the June

2 launch over the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. A Mach 10 missile

going berserk was not something NASA really wanted, so they hit the destruct

button and the thing blew itself apart. NASA is now doing some serious head

scratching, and Jim's record continues on!