Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Arthur John 'Bill' Pegg 1906-1978




Bill Pegg's signature third from top on r/h side of menu



A J (Bill) Pegg was the chief Test pilot for the Bristol Aeroplane Company. He had joined the RAF as a boy apprentice at 15 becoming a flight mechanic. In 1925 he was accepted for training as an NCO pilot with 43 Fighter Squadron. He quickly became an instructor and in 1931 was given a commission and singled out as a pilot with 'exceptional ability' and posted to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment, Martlesham, as a test pilot. In 1935 he resigned his commision and joined BAC becoming Chief Test pilot when CF Uwins stepped down in 1947.
He made the maiden flight of the Bristol Brabazon Mk 1 on Sunday 4th September 1949 alongside Walter Gibb as co-pilot. He also flew the maiden flight of the Bristol 175 Britannia on 16th August 1952.
He flew over 150 types including the American B 36 bombers as practice before flying the Brabazon.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jack Woolams 1917-1946




Jack Woolams attended the University of Chicago for two years before joining the Army Air Corps. He served on active duty for approximately eighteen months, after which he returned to the University of Chicago and graduated with a degree in economics in June 1941. Woolams joined Bell Aircraft later that month and was soon transferred from the test flight division to the experimental research division. In September 1942, he became the first person to fly a fighter aircraft coast to coast over the United States without stopping. In the summer of 1943, he set a new altitude record of 47,600 feet. He became chief test pilot for Bell in 1944, and was the first to fly the X-1 and the only one to pilot the plane at the Pinecastle facility in Orlando, Florida. Woolams' promising career ended abruptly, however, when he was killed during a practice flight for a race that was to occur the next day.

Jean L. 'Skip' Ziegler 1920-1953




Bell Aircraft Corporation Chief Test Pilot Jean 'Skip' Ziegler served with the Air Transport Command during World War II, and flew one of the ten transports which evacuated 10,000 persons from Burma in a single month.

He made pioneering flights on the X-1A, X-5 and X-2. Ziegler made the first flight of the X-5 and, in July 1951, the first flight when the small pot-bellied aircraft moved its wings and their sweep angle changed from a 24° position to 20°, making it the first aircraft to change its wing sweep in flight. Ziegler also made the first flight of the X-2 and died in its explosion, less than two years after the X-5's history-making flight in 1953.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Johnny F.Martin 1907-1977


On February 4th 1948, Douglas test pilot John F Martin made the first flight with the Douglas D-558-II, at Muroc Air Force Base in California.

Douglas selected Martin, its chief pilot, because of his experience and service with the company. He had joined Douglas in 1940 after flying for United Air Lines and went on to test a variety of types, including the A-20 Havoc, A-26 Invader and the C-54.

George R.Jansen 1921-1991

Douglas Test Pilots L-R, George Jansen, Bob Rahn,William Bridgeman and James Verdin

George R. Jansen made flight test history during his career as a Douglas test pilot, from 1945 to 1982, rising from Chief Test Pilot to Director of Flight Operations. Jansen flew the DC-9 twin-engine jetliner on its premier flight from Long Beach to Edwards Air Force Base in 1965.


Jansen served in the Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1945 as a B-24 bomber pilot with the 44th Bomb Group, the "Eight Balls," in England and North Africa. He graduated from the Air Research & Development Command Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards in 1952.


Jansen made the first flights on the XA2D Skyshark, the XA3D Skywarrior, the A3D with J57 engines, the RB66 and the first DC-9, all at Edwards. He piloted the first flight in the stretched DC-9-30 and the DC-10-40. He flew many research and operational aircraft, including the AD-1 Skyraider, F3D Skynight, D-558-I Skystreak, B-29, DC-8, Cloudster II, XB-42A Mixmaster, XB-43, Caravelle, C-54, C-74, C-133, YC-15 and EC-135N, DC-6, DC-8, F3D and F4D. A founder and past president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Jansen won the Octave Chanute Award in 1986 for his contributions to the science of flight testing and the development of flight safety. He also received the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chalmers H. 'Slick' Goodlin 1923-2005



Chalmers H.Goodlin became interested in aviation at the age of fifteen. Two years later, he had solo piloted a number of different aircraft. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on his eighteenth birthday, intrigued by accounts of tremendous air battles over the English Channel in the early days of World War II, but unable to participate as part of the American military since the U.S. had not yet entered the war.

He became the youngest commissioned officer in the RCAF and was sent over to the European theater in 1942. By December of that year, the U.S. Naval Air Force had requested that Goodlin transfer back to the states, where he underwent training to become a Navy test pilot. He was released from active duty and found employment with Bell Aircraft as a test pilot in December 1943.

In September, 1946, Goodlin was selected to be the first test pilot for the second aircraft in the Bell X-1 program. He piloted twenty-six successful flights in both of the X-1 aircraft from September 1946 until June 1947, when Bell Aircraft's contract was terminated and Goodlin was replaced as test pilot by Chuck Yeager

Joseph 'Joe' Albert Joe Walker 1921-1966






Joe Walker, at the time of his death in 1966, had flown the X-15 more than any other pilot. He won numerous awards for his X-15 accomplishments. He went higher (345,000 ft.) and faster (4,104 mph) in a winged aircraft than any other man. Walker flew 58 combat missions in World War II and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. He was a physicist for NACA and NACA/NASA's Chief Test Pilot of the Flight Research Center. He served 21 years as a research pilot. He participated in research programs using research and advanced tactical aircraft as test vehicles, especially centrifuge tests. He tested and flew the X-1A; X-3 (20 times); X-4 (2 times); X-5 (78 times); X1E (first flight, 20 times); X-15A to 169,600 ft. height record (1961); X-15A to 246,700 ft. height record (1962); X-15A, 4,159 mph speed (1962); X-15A to 271,000 ft. height record and earned his astronaut wings (1963); X-15A to 347,800 ft. height record (1963); and the first flights with the Bell Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (1964). Walker was born February 20, 1921 in Washington, Pennsylvania. He received his BA in Physics from Washington and Jefferson College in 1942. Walker has been honored by having an area school named after him, the "Joe Walker Jr. High School" in Quartz Hill, California. He has received the Harmon International Trophy (1961), Collier Trophy (1961), Octave Chanute (1961), Pilot of the Year, Kincheloe Award (1961), NACA Exceptional Service Medal (1956), David C. Schilling Trophy (1961) and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1991).

William 'Bill' Barton Bridgeman 1916-1968




Bridgeman grew up in southern California - photographs document him clowning around at Point Mugu in 1942. He flew B-24 bombers for the US Navy during World War II in Squadron VB-109 under Buzz Miller. His crew sunk the Japanese submarine RO-117, with 55 men aboard, on 17 June 1944. After the war he stayed in the Pacific, flying for several airlines. He obtained a bachelor of science degree from the University of California and became a test pilot for Douglas Aircraft in 1949. This led to pioneering flights on the D-558-2 rocketplane and X-3 Stiletto in the 1950's. He was listed as an astronaut candidate for the US Air Force's Man In Space Soonest program in 1958 (NASA was created instead and given responsibility for putting the first man into space).

Bridgeman was briefly famous, setting altitude records, and appeared on a cover of Life magazine in 1951 as the latest "The Fastest Man Alive". He later left Douglas and flew flying boats on the run from Long Beach to Catalina Island off Los Angeles. Alone on one of these flights, he crashed into the ocean, on 29 September 1968, and was killed instantly.

Capt Milburn G. 'Mel' Apt 1924-1956.


Mel Apt was a US test pilot. He was killed in the destruction of the Bell X-2 during a test flight.
After having been launched from a B-50 Bomber over the Mojave Desert in California, Capt. Milburn G. Apt (USAF), flying an X-2 rocket-powered plane on its 13th powered flight, set a record speed of 3,377 km/h, or Mach 3.196 at 19,977 m (65,541 ft). Subsequent loss of control from inertia coupling led to the breakup of the aircraft and the death of the pilot.

The X-2, initially an Air Force program, was scheduled to be transferred to the civilian National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) for scientific research. The Air Force delayed turning the aircraft over to the NACA in the hope of attaining Mach 3 in the airplane. The service requested and received a two-month extension to qualify another Air Force test pilot, Capt. Miburn "Mel" Apt, in the X-2 and attempt to exceed Mach 3.
After several ground briefings in the simulator, Apt (with no previous rocket plane experience) made his flight on 27 September 1956. Apt raced away from the B-50 under full power, quickly outdistancing the F-100 chase planes. At high altitude, he nosed over, accelerating rapidly. The X-2 reached Mach 3.2 (2,094 mph) at 65,000 feet. Apt became the first man to fly more than three times the speed of sound.
Still above Mach 3, he began an abrupt turn back to Edwards. This maneuver proved fatal as the X-2 began a series of diverging rolls and tumbled out of control. Apt tried to regain control of the aircraft. Unable to do so, Apt separated the escape capsule. Too late, he attempted to bail out and was killed when the capsule impacted on the Edwards bombing range. The rest of the X-2 crashed five miles away

Michael James 'Mike' Adams 1930-1967


Michael Adams was born in Sacramento, California on 5 May 1930. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950 after graduation from Sacramento Junior College and earned his pilot wings and commission in 1952 at Webb AFB, Texas. Adams served as a fighter-bomber pilot during the Korean conflict, followed by 30 months with the 813th Fighter-Bomber Squadron at England AFB, Louisiana and six months rotational duty at Chaumont Air Base in France. In 1958, Adams received an aeronautical engineering degree from Oklahoma University and, after 18 months of astronautics study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was selected in 1962 for the Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California. Here, he won the Honts Trophy as the best scholar and pilot in his class.

Adams subsequently attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS), graduating with honors in December 1963. He was one of four Edwards aerospace research pilots to participate in a five-month series of NASA moon landing practice tests at the Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland.

In July 1966, Major Adams came to the X-15 program, a joint USAF/NASA project. He made his first X-15 flight on 6 October 1966 in the number one aircraft. Adams' seventh and final X-15 flight took place on 15 November 1967 in the number three aircraft.He was killed in the crash of this aircraft. Mike Adams was posthumously awarded Astronaut Wings for his last flight in the X-15-3, which had attained an altitude of 266,000 feet - 50.38 miles.

John 'Jack' Barron McKay 1922-1975


Jack McKay died in 1975,20 years to the day after his first rocket flight. He had retired from NASA four years earlier, climaxing a 20-year flying career at Edwards in which he become one of the Center’s most experienced rocket pilots. In the 50's and 60's, McKay flew most of the nation’s rocket aircraft--from the "B" and "E" versions of the famed X-1, to the X-15. McKay flew the jet and rocket versions of the D-558 Skyrocket. He went aloft in the follow-on versions of the X-1, flying the first 13 of the 17 NACA missions logged with the X-1B. Other aircraft McKay flew included the semi-tailless X-4, the X-5 first swing-wing aircraft, plus the Century-Series Fighters--the F-100, F-102, F-104 and F-107. He was selected as one of the original seven pilots to fly the X-15. McKay flew the X-15 29 times, earning an astronaut rating in the aircraft, taking it to an altitude of 295,600 feet, nearly 56 miles, and achieving a speed of 3,935 mph, Mach 5.6. He flew 82 combat missions as a Navy Fighter Pilot in World War II. He returned home to earn a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1950. In 2005 he received posthumously his astronaut wings at Edwards AFB along with Joe Walker and Bill Dana.

Neil R. Anderson 1933-2006

Neil Anderson (left) and James McKinney at the Paris Air Show,Le Bourget 1981



Born Dec. 2, 1933, in Omaha, Neb., the son of a career Army soldier, Anderson planned to enter the priesthood. Then one day in college he met a Navy pilot."That was the end of priesthood and Creighton University, I said, 'I'm flying.'"He entered the Marine Corps as a pilot, flying active duty for five years until 1958. During that period he flew the Douglas AD-5 Sky raiders and Grumman F9F-6P and -8P.
He later went from active duty to the reserves (eventually retiring in 1974 as a lieutenant colonel) and into the mainstream aviation market working for Convair, designing Atlas missile silos, at the Chrysler Corporation's Space Division as a rocket design engineer on the Saturn 1B, at NASA training astronauts. He earned a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1961 from St. Louis University.
In 1967, Anderson joined General Dynamics - now Lockheed Martin - which sent him to the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.He flew versions of the F-111 Aardvark for several years, but he clearly made his name with how he flew the F-16 in air shows.Mr. Anderson was no hot dog but a pilot deeply committed to safety, one who lived the cliché that there are old test pilots and bold test pilots but there are no old, bold test pilots. He belonged to the Society of Experimental Test Pilots for 36 years and was active in the group, promoting air safety and contributing to aeronautical advancement. He had a legendary name even with Soviet test pilots. Neil R. Anderson accumulated over 15,000 flight hours in over 200 types of aircraft, some of them still very much experimental.

Major Stuart Row Childs 1923-2006



Stuart Childs joined the Army Air Corp in World War II at the age of 18. He flew heavily laden transports over the 'hump', delivering supplies from Burma to China. He served as a combat fighter pilot during the Korean Conflict, and ended his military career as chief test pilot for fighter aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in California. At this time he made several flights in the X-1B rocketplane. He was fondly remembered as a skilled and knowledgeable pilot who would share plum assignments, such as the Paris Air Show, with his subordinates

Lawrence A.Clousing 1906-2002


Test pilot Lawrence A. Clousing climbs into his Lockheed P-80 aircraft for a test flight at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Moffett Field, California. in 1948.

Lawrence A.Clousing was born in Minnesota in 1906. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with an elctrical engineering degree in 1927. He became a Naval reservist and won his wings at Pensacola,Fla. He joined NACA in 1938.

He set a speed record of 658miles an hour in a Lockheed P-80 in 1948

Jackie L. "Jack" Ridley 1915-1957


The Flight Test Mission Control Center at Edwards Air Force Base is named for Colonel Ridley who lost his life in 1957 in the crash of a C-47 aircraft while serving on the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group in Japan. Ridley was a pioneer of aviation engineering, an innovator, and one of the architects of modern aircraft testing. He logged more than 2,800 flight hours in his short career. He considered himself proficient in the flying of the F-80, F-86, F-84, F-89, B-29, B-45, B-47, B-50, B-25, C-47, T-33 and X-1. He first served as a test pilot on the B-24 bomber. Ridley served as pilot and project officer on the X-1 project and as pilot and project engineer on the Air Force evaluation of the XB-47. At Edwards Air Force Base, Ridley rose from Chief of the Flight Test Center’s Test Engineering Branch to Chief of the Flight Test Engineering Laboratory. He established the basic testing techniques and philosophy of the Flight Test Center. He was appointed as one of the original members of the NATO’s Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development. He served on the flight test techniques panel from 1951-1956. Many of the techniques developed by his panel remain in use today.

Richard L. "Dick" Johnson 1917-2002


Richard Johnson flew 4,500 hours piloting more than 35 aircraft before leaving the Air Force in 1953 for civilian flight testing of the F-102. He was chief engineering test pilot for the F-102 and F-106 supersonic interceptor programs. After graduating from the Air Materiel Command Engineering Test Pilot School in 1946, he established the 1948 world speed record of 670.981 miles per hour in the F-86. He also performed aeromedical research flights in the F-84 and F-86 to demonstrate high negative "G" capabilities by doing outside loops. As a Convair test pilot, he made the first flights in the YF-102, YF-102A and YF-106A. Johnson joined General Dynamics as Chief Engineering Test Pilot in 1953 and rose to become Director of Flight and Quality Assurance.

He made first flights in the variable sweep wing F-111. In addition to directing the flight testing of the F-111, he made many of the test flight himself. he made the first wing-sweep demonstration and the first F-111 supersonic sortie. Johnson joined the United States army Air Force in 1942 and flew 180 missions as a fighter pilot in World War II. He later flew six missions in Korea in the F-86.

Richard Johnson has been honored with the Society of Experimental Test Pilots' Iven C. Kincheloe Award, the Air Foce Meritorious Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Silver Star, 14 Air Medals, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Henri de la Vaulx Award, the Thompson Trophy, MacKay Trophy, Flying Tiger Trophy, Federation Aeronautique Internationale Gold Medal and Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement and the Aerospace Walk of Honor.

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).

Henry E. "Hank" Chouteau 1924-








As Northrop’s Chief Test Pilot for advanced fighter aircraft, Hank Chouteau helped develop dozens of new or modified aircraft, participating in aircraft design, development, test flights and marketing. Chouteau logged more than 7,300 flight hours in more than 80 models of aircraft. He piloted first flights in nine aircraft including the YF-5A, F-5A, F-5E, the CF-5A and CF-5B in Canada, the NF-5 in the Netherlands, and the YF-17 prototype for the F-18 Navy Strike Fighter. He helped develop the F-18L Cobra, F-89J atomic weapon equipment interceptor, the T-38 supersonic trainer, the A-9 ground attack fighter, the F-5A Freedom Fighter and the F-5E international Fighter. During World War II, Chouteau was assigned to the European Theater as a member of the Army Air Corps’ 587th Bomb Squadron. He returned to the Air Force in the Korean War flying 100 sorties with the 12th Fighter/Bomber Squadron in the F-51 Mustang; he later flew sorties in Vietnam in the F-5. Chouteau was born in Oklahoma in 1924. He earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming, and graduated from the USAF Maintenance Officer School and Test Pilot School. Chouteau has been honored by the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four clusters, four Battle Stars, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the South Vietnamese Cross of Honor, the Award of Pilot Wings by the United States, Vietnamese and Ethiopian Air Forces.

Lt. Col. Tommie D. "Doug" Benefield 1929-1984







Tommie D. "Doug" Benefield was the Chief Test Pilot on the B-1 Bomber. He attained the top speed for a B-1 at Mach 2.2 on October 5, 1978. Benefield was Senior Engineering Test Pilot for Rockwell International at the time of his death on August 29, 1984, when his B-1 crashed during a test flight near Edwards Air Force Base.
Benefield's flying career began immediately after his graduation from Texas A&M in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He earned his pilot wings in August 1950 and flew combat missions over Korea in 1950. Later, he flew 176 combat missions in F-4s over Southeast Asia. Benefield graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School in 1955 and the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School (Space Course) in 1962. After graduation, he remained at Edwards as a test pilot until 1966. There he tested and determined the unusual stall characteristics of the C-133.
A specialist in bomber/transport operations, he was loaned to the Federal Aviation Administration as a test pilot for the United States Supersonic Transport Program. He also assisted with the certification of the British/French Concorde. Benefield retired from the Air Force in 1973 and joined Rockwell International as a test pilot for the B-1 Bomber. He was appointed Chief Test Pilot in 1983.
He logged over 11,000 hours in many different aircraft, including the F-4, F-102, B-1, C-124, C-130 Hercules, C-133, C-141, T-39 and SA-16. Benefield was a Past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He was awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Octave Chanute Flight Award in 1977. The Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards was named in his honor.