Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ernest N.H. Lack 1923-



Operation Grapple 1957

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Richard 'Dickie' B.Mancus M.B.E 1919-1977



Richard B.Mancus was a Naval test pilot with Aero Flight Farnborough,having graduated on ETPS Class 4. He joined Boulton Paul in 1949. His naval experience was invaluable with the development of the Sea Ballliol, and its trial carrier landings.
Unable to fly Canberra's as his thigh length was too long for ejection seats,he was involved with the Tay-Viscount electric flying. He was forced to give up flying when he developed MS but continued working for Boulton Paul until 1958. He was awarded the M.B.E in 1974.

George 'Loopy' Dunworth 1921-1988



George Dunworth was employed by Boulton Paul in 1953 for Canberra modification work, this was due to the fact that Dicky Mancus could not fly them due to his thigh length was too long for the ejection seat. He had a runaway tailplane on Canberra WK185 in 1955, and was heavily involved in resolving this problem,which saved the Canberra in service.

Walter J. 'Wally' Runciman AFC DFM 1920-1956

Wally Runciman standing beside leg of SA4 Sperrin




Walter Runciman was born in 1920 in New Zealand, he came to England with the RNZAF and flew Stirlings (being awarded the DFM and, after receiving his commission, the AFC, both on this aircraft) and then Mosquitos in WWII, he was a Squadron Leader when the war ended. He returned to NZ after the war but in 1947 returned to England to join the RAF in 1948 as Flt. Lt. In 1950 he attended No. 9 Course ETPS (one of very few New Zealanders to attend) and was then posted to Boscombe Down; in 1952 he was seconded to Shorts in Belfast, where he worked on Canberras, the SA.4 Sperrin (including the maiden flight of the 2nd prototype) and was responsible for the flight test programme for the SB.6 Seamew (by which time he had left the RAF and joined Shorts).

He demonstrated the Seamew at Farnborough on at least two occasions (1953 and 1954) and in early 1956 took it on extended sales tours to Italy, Yugoslavia and West Germany. He had 3,000 hours on 50 types. On the 9th June 1956 he was killed while flying the Seamew at the RAFA display at Belfast.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

William S. 'Bill' Longhurst AFC 1919-1990




Born in Saskatchewan, Bill Longhurst became interested in aviation at a very young age, receiving early training in Toronto in the 1930’s. When WWII started, Longhurst sought an interview with Air Marshall W.A. “Billy” Bishop, who was in charge of recruiting pilots. Bishop told Longhurst to forget about this idea, as he would never make it as a pilot! Determined, Longhurst embarqued for England where he was accepted by the RAF. He did two operationnal tours with RAF Coastal Command before transferring to Ferry Command. On July 1st, 1943, Longhurst successfully achieved a ferry flight between Montréal (Qc) and Prestwick (UK) in command of a C-47... towing a Waco CG-4A glider overseas! For this unusual achievement, Longhurst and the gilder crew received the Air Force Cross. In May 1945, Longhurst transferred to the RCAF. Postwar, Longhurst worked at St.Jovite (Qc) as a bush pilot for Wheeler Airlines. In 1948, he became a test pilot for Canadair in Montreal. When Al Lilly retired in 1953, Longhurst was appointed chief test pilot. Until 1971, he made most first flights of Canadair’s aircraft, including: CL13 (Sabre 2, 3, 5, 6), CL30 (T-33AN production Silver Star), CL28 (CP-107 Argus Mk1), CL-66C (Canadair 540), CL44-6 (CC-106 Yukon), CL-44D4 (“Swing-tail”), CL-226, also the revolutionary tilt-wing CL-84 and the famous CL-215 Water Bomber. Longhurst was recognized as a very talented pilot, expert in prototype development. Not the flamboyant or self-centered type, he directed for two decades the Canadair flight test program with an iron hand and skilled determination that earned him the respect of the other company pilots. To underline his contribution to the CL-28 Argus development, a twenty-dollar coin was issued in 1998 by the Royal Canadian Mint displaying a cameo of Longhurst. Retiring from Canadair in 1971, he returned to bush flying in St.Jovite and also did fire patrols for a while. He went back to school at Concordia University, earning at the age of 61 a major degree in biology and a minor degree in computer science. He then engaged in cancer research.

Olle Klinker 1921-2007


Olle Klinker was one of Sweden's most famous pilots and the first person outside the United States to receive the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) prestigious Doolittle Award. Born in 1921, Klinker developed a love for airplanes very early and, at age 7, built an airplane--it bore a remarkable resemblance to Lindbergh's "Spirit of St Louis." One year later, a flight with a Swedish aviation pioneer pointed the boy to a lifetime in aviation. He joined the Royal Swedish Air Force in 1942 and earned his wings in 1943.

After 1 year of military service, Klinker went on to obtain an MS in Aeronautical Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in 1946. He joined SAAB, a Swedish aircraft company, in 1947 and was soon testing the J21A, a twin-boomed, piston-powered, pusher fighter and the J21R, a jet-powered version. Klinker served as engineering test pilot and test leader on most SAAB fighter designs. He tested the SAAB 201, which incorporated a swept-wing design later used on the J29 Turman, a fighter contemporary of the F-86 Sabre and MiG-15. The SAAB 210 was a special challenge for Klinker. He made over 500 flights in the "Little Draken" built to test the completely unknown low-speed characteristics of the double-delta wing.

This unique wing would later be used on the Anglo-French Concorde, the Soviet Tu-144, and the American Space Shuttle. From 1956 to 1964, Klinker served as experimental and engineering test pilot on the J35 Draken--Sweden's first supersonic fighter. He next tested the J37 Viggen, a canard-winged fighter, which today provides Sweden's frontline defense from very short "highway" strips. In 1968, he became manager of the Flight Test Department of SAAB, and in 1978 he was named Vice President and directed all aircraft division operations including ground test, laboratories, and simulators. Klinker has received numerous awards, including a gold medal for the most distinguished aviation achievement in Sweden in 1949.

Jacqueline Cochran presented the award to him in Stockholm. In addition to the Doolittle Award of 1985, he also received SETP's Tenhoff Award in 1968. At the time of his retirement in 1986, Klinker had flown every SAAB aircraft then in the air. SAAB-Scania still called on him for advice in the development of their next fighter, the J39 Gripen.


Bengt R. Olow 1919-1978






Pilot 1st Flights JAS29 Tunnan, JAS32 Lansen,JAS35 Draken

Erik G.Dahlstrom (Dec)


The first single-seat Viggen prototype was rolled out on 24 November 1966 and performed its initial flight on 8 February 1967, with Erik Dahlstrom, SAAB's chief test pilot, at the controls. Dahlstrom stated that the Viggen handled as pleasantly as a sportsplane. Pilots would always like the Viggen's handling, particularly in comparison to that of the more challenging Draken, but the steep landings were tricky to master, and even Dahlstrom scraped the tail at least once.

Beryl A. Erickson 1916-2006





Beryl Arthur Erickson was instrumental in the development of many of America's most significant aircraft, including those that defined the Cold War. Erickson served as the production test pilot for some of America's finest bombers, fighters, and cargo aircraft - including the B-24 Liberator, C-54 Skymaster, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang, and the B-25 Mitchell.

Upon receiving his pilot's license, Erickson began giving flying lessons and earned the reputation of a pilot who could safely fly any airplane. In 1937, he accepted a position with American Airlines flying DC-3 airliners from Burbank, California to Dallas, Texas. In 1940, he resigned from American Airlines to fly as a test pilot for Consolidated Aircraft.

The War Years
During the war, Erickson continued his career with the wartime Air Transport Service, flying LB-30 transports (the cargo version of the B-24 Liberator) from California to the South Pacific. After World War II, he was the test pilot for the giant Convair B-36 Peacemaker, America's first intercontinental strategic bomber. In 1942, he moved to Fort Worth to become the chief test pilot for the Consolidated XV-32 Dominator heavy bomber program.

Erickson commanded the first flight of the world's finest supersonic bomber, the Convair B-58 Hustler. The aircraft was designed for one reason - to quickly deploy a nuclear bomb to an enemy target and return safely. From its conception in the late 1940s, the B-58 took bomber performance from 400 mph to 1,400 mph in only 10 years! While testing the aircraft on June 29, 1957, Erickson became one of a small group of pilots to exceed Mach 2, twice the speed of sound. The B-58 continues to hold the distinction of being the world's only military supersonic bomber capable of speeds of Mach 2. By the time he retired in 1962, Beryl Erickson had logged over 25,000 hours testing military and civilian aircraft, many of which have provided the foundation for today's military bombers and fighters as well as commercial airlines.

Max R. Stanley 1910-1999





Max R. Stanley logged more than 8,000 flight hours to become known as the "Dean of Northrop Test Pilots." He flew the first flights of all models of the Northrop P-61 Black Widow except the initial XP-61. Stanley flew for Lockheed Aircraft, Pan American Airways and United Airlines before joining Northrop Aircraft as an Experimental Test Pilot in 1943. During his 28 years with Northrop, he pioneered as pilot on the first flights of the Northrop F-15, the Tri-Motor C-125 Raider, and participated as pilot in the F-89 Scorpion and T-38 Talon flight test programs. He served as a Project Pilot on the Northrop N-9M one-third scale model of the large XB-35 Flying Wing Bomber. Stanley was selected as Chief Pilot on the entire XB-35 contractor flight test program including the first flight. He also served as Chief Pilot on the first flight of the eight-jet YB-49 flying wing. He was later assigned as Chief Pilot and Director, Flight Operations in the development of the SM-62 SNARK Intercontinental Cruise missile. He flew a number of manned aircraft, which were used in the design phase of the full scale, operational missile: P-61, F-89, C-47, P-80, B-45 and B-29. Stanley is a Founding Member and Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and long-time Chairman of its Scholarship Foundation. He also helped found and served as President of the Aviation Country Club of California. He is a two-time recipient of Caterpillar Club membership, twice earned when he used his parachute to save his life. Stanley is the recipient of the Barnstormer Trophy for "Distinguished Accomplishments in Aviation" and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1993).

Howard W.'Sam' Nelson 19xx-1977

Fairchild-Republic chief test pilot Howard W. "Sam" Nelson on May 10, 1972 at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Five years later, on June 3, 1977, he died in the crash of U.S. Army A-10 during air display at Le Bourget Air Show


Howard Nelson had more than 10,000 hours flying time and had flown the F-80,F-100,F-102,F-105 and F-106.

Daniel R.Vanderhorst 1947-





Dan Vanderhorst was assigned as TACIT BLUE project pilot at Detachment 3, AFFTC, from 1983 to 1987. Between May 1984 and February 1985, he flew 17 flights in the one-of-a-kind demonstrator including the first with modified gear, envelope-clearance tests with bay doors open, and separation tests. He achieved the highest flight in the aircraft, taking it to the upper limits of its performance envelope. He then closed out the program’s activities as director of the TACIT BLUE Combined Test Force. He subsequently served as Chief of Safety at Detachment 3 where most of his flying as involved chase and passenger transportation. Occasionally, he flew test sorties to check out minor modifications involving transmitters or data-collection equipment. On occasion, when an experimental device was attached to the exterior of an aircraft, he flew a few flights to confirm the effects of the modifications on the airplane’s performance and flying qualities. After retiring from the Air Force in 1989, he became a civil servant and Director of Test for the 413th Flight Test Squadron. He continued to fly the fleet of support aircraft. From 1999 to 2001, he served as Deputy Director of Plans and Programs at Detachment 3 and then became Technical Director for the Operations Group. He also flew chase and support missions for flight-test projects.

Richard "Dick" M. Wenzell 1922-1987







The first prototype of the "YA3J-1 Vigilante", as it was formally designated, was rolled out on 16 May 1958. Initial flight was on 31 August 1958, with North American chief test pilot Dick Wenzel at the controls.

A combat pilot in World War II and Korea, during which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and numerous Air Medals. In 1948 he attended the initial Naval Test Pilot School class at Patuxent River where he graduated number one. Following his naval service he became a test pilot for North American Aviation and later, chief test pilot. He was the first to fly the T-2 Buckeye and the A-5 Vigilante. He concluded a 25 year career with North American Aviation/North American Rockwell as the Director of Flight Operations & Logistics. During his aviation career he flew 63 types of military and commercial aircraft. He was a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a member of Quiet Birdmen. He was inducted into the Carrier Test Pilot Hall of Fame in 1988.


George L. Bright 1925-1997




George Bright Joined the US Navy in 1942. After WWII he was posted to the Naval Air Development Center. He was a pilot in a carrier-based jet fighter squadron, and graduated from Navy Test pilot school in 1952. He joined the Douglas Aircraft Co.in 1955, and then Hiller Aircraft in 1958 as a research pilot for the VTOL X-18 aircraft. He became the Chief test pilot for German aircraft company Entwicklungsring Sud, and made the first flight of the German VJ-101 X-1 VTOL supersonic fighter. He died in the early 1990’s.


Russell M. "Rusty" Roth 1911-2009





Russell M. "Rusty" Roth is best known for his December 9, 1952 flight at Edwards in the Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor rocket boosted jet fighter prototype, making it the first combat-type airplane to exceed the speed of sound while flying straight and level. A World War II P-38 fighter pilot, Roth flew 132 combat missions in the South Pacific. As the Assistant Chief of the Flight Development Branch at Edwards Air Force Base, he flight tested the XB-43 and F-86 as well as the Northrop flying wing N9M.He graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School Class 1949-D at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and returned to Edwards where he piloted the first flights of the YF-84J, YF-105A and YF-105B. A pilot who bridged the transition from propeller to jet aircraft and from subsonic to supersonic speeds, Rusty Roth joined Republic Aviation Corporation’s flight test team in 1952 and became Company Chief Test Pilot. He logged more than 3,300 flight hours