Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager 1923-2020

Chuck Yeager logged over 10,000 hours in 180 different military aircraft, including foreign and experimental rocket aircraft.
In 1947 Yeager, piloting the X-1, broke Mach 1 at Edwards AFB. He continued to fly the X-1 as a research vehicle and checked out other pilots in the aircraft. In 1953, he flew the Bell X-1A to break Mach 2 (Mach 2.435--1,650 mph at 70,000 ft.).
Yeager was the second American to test a captured Russian MIG 15. Among his many flights are: F-86, F-100, X-1 (34 flights), X-3 (3 flights), X-4 (7 flights), F-80 acceleration tests, and chase for Joe Walker and Jackie Cochran.
Yeager served as Commandant of the Edwards AFB Air Force Test Pilot School from 1962-66. He was Director of Aerospace Safety for the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center at Norton AFB and Commander of the 17th Fighter Squadron at Hahn Air Base, Germany. He also served as Commandant of the Edwards AFB Aerospace Research Pilot School.
He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and has been honored by the Congressional Medal of Honor, MacKay Trophy (1948), Aviator's Valor Award (1953), Harmon International Trophy (1953), Aviation Hall of Fame (1973), David C. Schilling Award (1954), Collier Trophy (1948), Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1990).

John H. Griffith 1921-2011

John Hardy Griffith flew many early experimental airplanes, helping to explore the realm of transonic and supersonic flight. He flew nine flights in the X-1, three flights in the X-4, sixteen flights in the D-558-1 and eight in the D-558-2. Griffith was also the senior experimental pilot on the F7U Cutlass in 1957. Griffith received two Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Air Medals for combat in the South Pacific during World War II. He was stationed in New Guinea and flew 189 combat missions in a P-40 in 1942 and 1943 with the 5th Air Force. He graduated with honors from Purdue University in 1948 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1949 Griffith became a NACA research pilot for the High Speed Flight Research Unit at Edwards Air Force Base, where he flew the X-1, taking it supersonic. The X-1 was the first aircraft capable of supersonic flight and Griffith’s research contributed greatly to the understanding of the aerodynamics encountered in that region of flight. He left NACA in 1951 to fly for Chance Vought on the F7U Cutlass. From 1952 to 1960 he flew for Westinghouse as chief pilot for the Gas Turbine Division. He was later an airline pilot and flight instructor for United Airlines on the DC-6 and Boeing 727. Griffith also worked with the FAA from 1960 to 1966 in flight test certification of aircraft and on the supersonic transport evaluation team. He was a flight instructor on the DC-6 and then the B-727 for United Air Lines from 1966 to 1981. Griffith grew up in Homewood Illinois, watching commercial DC-3 planes flying over his home and dreaming of becoming a pilot. During the Great Depression, his family lost their home, and he went to live with an Aunt, graduating in pre-engineering from Thornton Junior College before joining the military. After completing his military service and education, Griffith finally began his career as a test pilot; he knew he was doing what he wanted to do. In a 45 year career, Griffith has flown nearly 80 different aircraft including 20 military propeller and jet fighters, 13 cargo and bomber aircraft, 28 trainers and light aircraft, 7 seaplane and helicopters and 6 airline transports. He flew 4,000 hours in the B-727, bringing his total flight time to over 9,000 hours.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

BGen Robert L. Cardenas, USAF 1920-2022

General Cardenas became and Experimental Test Pilot during "The Glory Days of Muroc." He has flown more than 30 different types of aircraft. He was in charge of the XS-1 supersonic project and piloted the B-29 which dropped then Captain Chuck Yeager into the realm of supersonic flight. He was also the Chief Test Pilot on the YB-49 Flying Wing that flew 42 years before the B-2. Cardenas was Commander of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing on Okinawa flying combat missions out of Thailand and Commander of the 835th Air Division, training F-105 combat crews for service in Vietnam. He was Chief of the Aircraft and Missile Programs Division; Chief of Special Operations Division at U.S. Strike Command Headquarters; Commander of the Air Force Special Operations Force and Chief of the JL Division of the Joint Strategic Targeting Staff which was responsible for the U.S. Nuclear War Plan. Cardenas served several State and Federal policy groups including an appointment to the White House as the California Coordinator for the Southwest Border Economic Action Group. Cardenas has been honored by the Distinguished Service Medal, legion of Merit with cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with four clusters, the Joint Service commendation, the Air Force Commendation, the Presidential Citation and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1995).

John Farley OBE AFC 1933-2018

John Farley did his engineering training as an apprentice at the Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough before joining the RAF for pilot training in 1955.

After flying Hunters with 4 Squadron based in Germany, he was a flying instructor at the RAF College Cranwell before joining the Empire Test Pilot’s School course in 1963. Following a distinguished pass from ETPS he became a test pilot on the RAE Aerodynamics Research Flight at Bedford. During this tour he flew all the UK research aircraft then flying.

As RAE project pilot on the P1127 prototype in 1964,he started what was to become 19 years of Harrier programme test flying moving from the RAE to join Dunsfold from where he retired as Chief Test Pilot. As the Harrier programme progressed, he became increasingly involved in overseas ventures especially with the US and various Navies, particularly enjoying 1982 when he managed 2 hours gliding in an AV-8B Harrier not noted for its soaring performance.

John Farley has flown over 80 different aircraft types,both fixed and rotary wing. In 1990 he became the first western test pilot invited by the Russians to fly the Mig-29 and more recently participated with Lockheed as a JSF Red Team member.

Col. Joseph F. "Joe" Cotton, USAF 1922-2016

Col Joe Cotton USAF Test Pilot and Al White North American Aviation Test Pilot

Col Joe Cotton with B-52
Colonel Cotton entered the Army Air Corps as a flying cadet in 1942, retired from the USAF in 1968 as a veteran test pilot, and went on to become a test pilot with United Airlines, bringing his total flying time to 16,000 hours in over 80 types of aircraft.
When his B-17 was shot down over Greece on his first wartime mission, he spent four months evading German capture before being rescued and returned to the U.S. in 1944.
He began his flight test career flying the Bell RP-63A, the "flying pinball machine," being developed as a flying target for bomber crew gunnery practice. He performed cold weather systems test on a variety of aircraft at Eglin and Ladd Fields prior to attending the Empire Test Pilot School in England.
Cotton was chief of Bomber Test at Wright Patterson while testing in all-weather including the arctic. He was pilot and later test director of the B-58 "Hustler" Flight Research and Development Program at Carswell AFB.
In 1962, as USAF Chief Test Pilot, he flew the first flight of the XB-70 at Edwards AFB. He flew the XB-70A No.2 at Mach 3.08 at 72,800 feet on April 12, 1996 in the highlight of his 62 flights in the XB-70. He remained with the project through the last flight of the Development Test and Evaluation program.
Named 1966 Pilot of the Year by the International Order of Characters, Cotton has been awarded a Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1997).

The Collection

Today is the first day of my blog. The idea of this site is to pay tribute to the men and women who have been involved in flight testing, and also to combine this with my collection of aviation and space memorabilia.

I hope that something about the people,the aircraft and times gone by can be gleaned from browsing through the pages.

As time permits, i will add pictures of my existing collection to my site along with any new items that i receive.
Hope that you enjoy it!
The Tartanterror!

PS. If anyone has information that they can add/correct on the site and/or has any photographs or signed memorabilia that they would like to gift or sell - please contact me.