Monday, April 11, 2011
Raymond A.Popson was the youngest Air Force pilot, commissioned at 19. He was the first squadron commander at Iwo Jima and was a World War ll Helicopter test pilot at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, working with Werner von Braun and other German scientists. He became and Experimental test pilot at Edwards AFB,testing several aircraft including the Bell X-5. Early on in the flight test program, the X-5 had acquired a reputation for being somewhat difficult to fly and, in fact, was considered "absolutely vicious" when in a stalled condition. The X-5 program suffered its blackest day on 14 October 1953, when Air Force Major Raymond Popson, while performing stall tests in #1839, entered a spin from which he was unable to recover. Popson tried unsuccessfully to eject and died instantly when the X-5 hit the desert floor.