Saturday, April 09, 2011
Carl Bellinger helped develop and test the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter of World War II. He set an unofficial speed record of 621 miles per hour in the F-84B and made the first flight of the combined jet and rocket powered XF-91 Thunderceptor at Edwards Air Force Base. He earned his private pilot's license in 1930, soloing in an OX-5 Eaglerock. He flew many aircraft of that era, including Wacos, Stinsons and Traveliars. After earning a degree in industrial Administrations from Yale university, he opened and ran an airplane repair station on Long Island until joining Republic Aviation Corporation in 1939. A P-47 test pilot, he was appointed Senior Production Pilot and then was promoted to Experimental Test Pilot. Throughout these years, he tested all models of the P-47 and was project pilot for the XP-72.
In 1949, Bellinger became the Chief Experimental Test Pilot for Republic. Bellinger was one of the first pilots to use an ejection seat. He rose to manager of Republic's Edwards facility and later, its Farmingdale, Long Island facility. He logged more than 4,000 flying hours in more than 50 different aircraft, including the OX-5 Eaglerock, all models of the P-47, F-84, XP-72, XF-91, XF-12, F4F, F6F, F4U, F-80, F-51, C-47 and the Republic Seabee. He was a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Carl Bellinger was killed in a car accident in 1986.