Thursday, May 17, 2007

Herman Richard "Fish" Salmon 1913-1980

Salmon was a natural as a test pilot. He was best know for his special ability to "out guess" troubled aircraft and to "feel" with the plane. Salmon was a specialist in structural integrity tests on fighter-type aircraft. Born in 1913, Salmon took his first flight at age 14. By age 18, he was a licensed pilot. In the 1930’s , Salmon worked as a barnstormer, parachute stunt man, and race pilot. In 1940, he was hired by Lockheed to ferry Hudson bombers. Soon, he was promoted to engineering flight test. He did the P-38 spin tests, the B-17 dive tests, and tested the F-90 and F-94C at Edwards AFB. As Lockheed’s chief engineering test pilot, Salmon flew the first flights of the P-3 Orion, the Electra Prop Jet Transport, the F-104A Starfighter, the XFV-1 Pogo Vertical Flying and the modified F-80 equipped with ram jets on the wing tips. He flew certification tests on the 649 Constellation and the 1049 Super Constellation. Salmon retired from Lockheed in 1978 but did not retire from the air. He continued to teach flight crew and ferry aircraft. He was hired to ferry a Super Constellation from Columbus, Indiana to Alaska in 1980. During take off, the aircraft lost power and crashed. Salmon, his flight engineer and a passenger were killed. He had logged more than 12,000 flight hours. Salmon was honored by the Goodyear Trophy for Speed Competition, the Kitty Hawk Memorial Award, the Billy Mitchell Award and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1994).