Monday, April 11, 2011

Russell William Thaw 1910-1984

Russell William Thaw

The first prototype XF3D-1 made its initial flight on 23 March 1948, with test pilot Russell Thaw

Russell Thaw was born in Berlin, Germany on 25 October 1910.

He participated in two of the cross-country Bendix trophy races, which were instituted in 1931 and held annually to promote and encourage the achievements of U.S. aviation. Flying the Gee Bee "Model R-2" - P&W Wasp, he withdrew from the 1933 race. Flying the Northrop Gamma - Wright Cyclone, he came in third in the 1935 race from Los Angeles to Cleveland, ahead of Amelia Earhart in 5th place.

On December 10, 1935 he crashed in Atlanta, Georgia while on his way to rescue Lincoln Ellsworth after leaving from Caldwell, New Jersey. During World War II, Russ Thaw became one of the most noted American pilots, obtaining five air victories, three of them as part of the 103rd Squadron. He also served as a private pilot to the Guggenheim family.

He became a test pilot for Douglas Aircraft and participated in several programs.The first XB-43 took off on its maiden flight on May 17, 1946 , with test pilots Bob Brush and Russell Thaw. He flew the first prototype XF3D-1 Skyknight on its initial flight on 23 March 1948. He took over the test flying program for the XF4D-1 Skyray when test pilot Larry Peyton gave up the program to return to bigger aircraft.