Thursday, August 23, 2007

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).