Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dan Duggan and Ron Gerdes 1928-2006

Daniel C Duggan

From 1970 to 1990 Dan Duggan worked as a Research Pilot at NASA Ames Research Center and tested the XV-5B Lift Fan YOV-10A Rotating Cylinder Flap Research Aircraft


Born in Oakland in 1928, Gerdes graduated from Alameda High School in 1946. Entering the Navy V-5 program (as an aviation midshipman) at UC Berkeley, he completed his naval aviator training at NAS Pensacola and served in the Korean War, flying an F9F Panther with VF-111.
His Navy flying also included F2H Banshees and A-4 Skyhawks. He completed his engineering degree at Cal in
1957, including summer work at Ames. Initially working in the Ames Flight and Systems Simulation Branch, he transferred into Flight Operations as a research pilot in 1961. During his NASA flying career, Gerdes made significant contributions to vertical flight aircraft, including the XV-5 Fan-In-Wing, X-14 Deflected Jet, UH-1 V/STOLAND, and XV-15 Tiltrotor aircraft.
He performed a key role with the NASA/DARPA/USMC AV-8 V/STOL Systems Research Aircraft Program.
Gerdes also flew and participated in airborne astronomy missions aboard the Lear 24 and Kuiper C-141.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Janusz 'Zura' Zurakowski 1914-2004

Janusz "Jan" Zurakowski was born on September 12, 1914, in Ryzawka, a region of Poland that became part of the Soviet Union after World War I. Zurakowski was interested in aviation at an early age as his elder brother flew gliders. In 1929, Jan won a national competition for building model planes and the prize was a 15-minute flight. This set him on his life's course. After completing high school, in 1934, Zurakowski joined the Polish Air Force. In 1937, he became a lieutenant pilot, and soon became a flying instructor.
At the outbreak of World War II, Zurakowski was a flying instructor. After the Nazis attacked on Sept. 1, 1939, he scored his first success against a German Dornier 17, while flying an obsolete biplane fighter/trainer. When Poland fell to enemy forces, Zurakowski escaped to England, joined the Royal Air Force and during the Battle of Britain was credited with destroying three enemy aircraft. Later, he joined Polish Squadrons, serving as Flight Commander and Squadron Leader. For his wartime services he was awarded the Polish Virtuti Militari Cross and the Polish Cross of Valour with three Bars.
In 1945, Zurakowski was posted to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment where he tested Britain's first jet fighter, the Vampire. Jan retired from the RAF in 1947, and then joined the Gloster Aircraft Company as chief experimental test pilot, flying Meteor and Javelin fighter aircraft. Jan and Anna were married in Paris in 1948. They lived for a few years in Britain, where Jan continued his career as a test pilot. During his career, Zurakowski also demonstrated a new air stunt called the "Zurabatic Cartwheel" and established a new air speed record in 1950 between London-Copenhagen-London. In 1950 he set an international speed record flying between London and Copenhagen in a Meteor aircraft. In 1951, he demonstrated the "Zurabatic Cartwheel" considered to be the only new manoeuvre in 20 years.
In 1952, he immigrated to Canada to join Avro Aircraft in Malton, Ontario, as chief development pilot. That same year he became the first to break the sound barrier, in Canada, flying a CF-100 fighter aircraft. His display of the CF-100 to the Europeans at Farnborough in 1955 (the first non-British aircraft allowed to display there) is legendary.
When the Avro Arrow, Canada’s pride in aeronautical engineering and design achievement, was ready for testing, Zurakowski, completed the much-heralded first flight of this supersonic aircraft. A short and unassuming man, Zurakowski climbed aboard the Avro Arrow RL-201 for its first flight at 9:51 p.m. on March 25, 1958, at Toronto Malton Airport under hazy sunshine. All the plant employees and many dignitaries attended this event. When Jan landed, he was hoisted shoulder-high by the cheering crowd. It was a fitting tribute to the Arrow and its pilot.
On his 7th flight, Zurakowski pushed the jet to 1,600 kilometres an hour and tests indicated the Arrow, with its twin Iroquois engines, could become the world's most advanced interceptor. In August, 1958, he tested the second Arrow to come off the production line. Jan retired from flying on October 1, 1958. Normal retirement age for high-speed test pilots was 40, and he was already 44. He became the Liaison engineer for the Arrow, but this proved to be a very temporary job.
The Arrow was conceived to protect Canada during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, when the Soviets had introduced new long-range bombers capable of flying over the North Pole to attack North America. It was intended to replace the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck as a supersonic all-weather receptor. But soaring costs and the development of competing missile technology prompted Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to cancel the 10-year-old project in 1959, leading the aircraft company A.V. Roe to lay off 14,000 employees while the government ordered all plans and prototypes destroyed. Zurakowski retired before the Arrow project was cancelled by the government, but remained bitter about the cancellation for numerous years.
Zurakowski tested over 100 planes, with the Arrow being the last one. In recognition of his contributions to Canadian aviation, Zurakowski received numerous awards. In 1958, he received the MacKee trophy for his experimental work

Friday, July 07, 2006

Simon Hargreaves OBE

Simon Hargreaves spent 20 years in the Royal Navy as a Sea Harrier pilot 1996 as Commanding Officer of 899 NAS. He completed ETPS in 1987 and, during his tour at Boscombe Down, was involved in the flight test programmes of Harrier, Jaguar and Tornado..
He joined BAES at Dunsfold as a company test pilot and quickly became involved in the Joint Strike Fighter programme, which took him out to Lockheed Martin Skunk works to participate in the X-35 Concept Demonstrator Aircraft programme. Simon flew the X-35A and X-35C before performing the first flight and all subsequent envelope expansion flying on the X-35B STOVL aircraft.
On return to the UK he became DCTP at the BAES Warton where he participated in the flight test programmes of Typhoon, Tornado, Harrier and Hawk. He remains active in the Royal Navy Reserve Air Branch, initially flying Sea Harrier and now the Hawk. He has 7,000 hrs on a large variety of types, including around 850 hrs on the Hunter.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Brien S. Wygle 1924-2020

The maiden flight of the 737 was on 9 April 1967, just two years after the project launch. Boeing's assistant director of flight operations, Brien Wygle (Left) was in command and Lew Wallick (Right) the chief test pilot was co-pilot. Airplane PA099, Manufacturer Serial Number 19437 is the Boeing 737 Prototype. The airplane was painted in December 1966 in an olive drab, dark green and yellow color scheme, and formally rolled out in a ceremony in the Thompson site the same month. Assigned registration was N73700. The airplane was then moved to the Flight Center flight line for final functional tests, fueling, and engine runs. The airplane made its first flight April 9, 1967 from Boeing Field to Paine Field. The Captain was Brien Wygle and the co-pilot was Lew Wallick. Brien S. Wygle is a leader in Northwest aviation with decades of experience as a pilot, engineer and aircraft project manager for The Boeing Company. Until his retirement, Wygle had flown and participated in the development of every Boeing military and commercial jet airplane. He was the chief pilot on the first flight of the Boeing 737 and co-pilot on the first flight of the Boeing 747. Wygle retired as a Boeing vice president.