Sonic Wind News

"The first trip to the ice!"

March 1998

In early February of 1998, the team had great plans for their first trip to the ice. Sonic Wind would be put through a series of tests that would include the steering, parachutes,brakes and controllability. Then, if all testing had been satisfactory, they would make two or three low power runs on the ice with the rocket engine pushing Sonic Wind up to speeds of 150 to 200 miles per hour.

They made the trip to Castle Rock Lake in Northern Wisconsin with the hopes of starting the journey to be the fastest vehicle on ice and possibly the fastest land vehicle on Earth.


Sonic Wind on the ice at Castle Rock Lake in Wisconsin.

One little problem arose as soon as they arrived, it was too warm in Wisconsin. The ice just wasn't thick or hard enough to take the weight necessary to do the testing.

After Waldo and his crew had made the trip to Wisconsin, the ice proved to be unsafe, Mother Nature wasn't being too cooperative. With day time temperatures above the freezing mark and the snow melting, winter was rapidly leaving as Sonic Wind arrived at Castle Rock Lake in early February.

Even the local ice fishermen were home bound by the warm temperatures. On a lake known for its winter activities, it had an unusually barren surface with no snowmobiles or ice fishing shanties visible anywhere.

Sonic Wind and crew.jpg
Charley Griepentrog along with the crew, Waldo Stakes, John Petri and Ken Mason,
with the help of local ice fishermen, Lonnie and Roy, pushed Sonic Wind onto the ice
for its first contact with the frozen surface of its future.
The first trip to the ice for Sonic Wind turned out to be only a photo opportunity, with no testing possible because of the thin ice. It may have been caused by El Nino, like everything else this year, but for whatever reasons, no runs were possible.
A disappointed crew made the trip back West with the determination to come back
next year when the weather will be more agreeable to testing their rocket on the ice.