Sunday, September 04, 2005

Richard J Harer 1924-

Bell X-1B, signed by USAF Pilots Richard Harer and Stan Holtoner

Richard J. Harer is a veteran of WWII flying 31 combat missions in the ETO. After graduating from the USAF Test Pilot School in 1949 & 1951 he was assigned to the AFFTC at Edwards AFB on June 14th, 1951 as Experimental Flight Test Officeer, Fighter Operations Branch, Flight Test Operations Lab and was assigned as test pilot for the Phase IV performance flight testing of the Repbublic F-84F fighter-bomber. Harer took part in the 1954 Bendix race and made one flight in the Bell X-1B on November 4th, 1954. Harer was flying a Lockheed F-94C on a routine test flight on December 22nd, 1954 when he experienced engine trouble and attempted a wheels-up landing on Rogers Dry Lake. The aircraft caught fire upone crash-landing and Harer was stuck in the burning cockpit. Chase pilot Captain Milburn "Mel" Apt immediately landed next to the crashed airplane and pulled Harer from the burning wreckage, saving his life. Harer's injuries included a broken back, third degree burns and a compound fracture of both legs. Unfortunately Captain Harer's legs had to be amputated due to the severity of the injury.