Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gale J. Moore 1921-

During WW 11,Gale Moore piloted B-17s and B-29s. After the War, he joined Los Angeles Airways and flew U.S. airmail in Sikorsky S-51 helicopters.
A co-worker told him that Hughes Tool Co. in Culver City, California, was seeking a test pilot for an unconventional helicopter, and that piqued his interest. Testing an experimental helicopter for Hughes would be the ultimate challenge to his flying ability. In 1952, he became a Test Pilot with Hughes Aircraft Division.
The Hughes XH-17 was flown by Gale Moore at the Hughes Airport in Culver City on 2 October, 1956 on its maiden flight

Flugkapitan Erich Warsitz 1906-1983

Erich Warsitz was a German test pilot from the 1930's. He held the rank of Flight-Captain in the Luftwaffe and was the chief test pilot selected by the Heinkel firm. He is remembered as the first person to fly an aircraft under liquid-fuelled rocket power,the Heinkel HE 176 on June 20 1939 and also the first to fly an aircraft under turbojet power with the Heinkel HE178 on August 27th 1939.He was a brave and courageous man who risked his life and on that flight did not wear a seat belt!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Alvin M. "Tex" Johnston 1914-1998

Tex Johnston (Right) with Guy Townsend
Barrel Roll of the Dash-80

Crew of the Boeing Dash-80 Maiden flight, Pilot Tex Johnston, Co-Pilot Jim Gannett and the Flight Engineer Tom Layne.

Flown cover on Boeing 707 Record Flight between Seattle and Baltimore,signed by Tex Johnston. By the time Johnston broke the transcontinental speed record in 1957 by flying from Seattle to Baltimore in three hours, 48 minutes, orders for the new 707 were pouring in.

Tex Johnston (1914–98) was one of America’s significant aviation pioneers, and he deservedly became a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He grew up a classic all-American boy and experienced a pretty good rags-to-riches life, which included a paper route and saving to buy his first glider and his first motorcycle. But his passion was flying—that’s where he ended up no matter how many detours he took or how high he rose. His first exposure to an airplane came as a kid of 11 when a barnstorming pilot offered a free ride to the locals, and he was the only one to take the offer. From that point he was committed, and he devoted his free time to the study of airplanes. Still, his route from Kansas to the hall of fame was circuitous and unusual in that it did not include military flying. His journey included training and employment as a mechanic, catch-as-catch-can flight instruction, and—finally—civilian flight school. He moved from barnstorming to the Apollo program without making a fatal mistake in an accident-prone profession. With a little bit of luck and a lot of skill (knowledge, training, and practice), this Kansas boy who wanted to be a test pilot eventually made it without fighting in either World War II or Korea. Over his career, he flew or tested just about every significant aircraft, from biplanes to the supersonic XP-59—the first American-made jet. As he rose through the ranks at Bell and Boeing, he played a key role in making planes faster and safer. Even when his job title put him behind a desk, he kept flying until his projects went into space.
Tex Johnston was one of the pioneers of military and commercial aviation. He made helicopters functional for oil exploration and made the Boeing 7–series planes safe and successful for passenger flight.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Diana Barnato Walker MBE 1918-2008

Diana Barnato Walker was born in 1918.Growing up between the wars in a wealthy family made Diana want to achieve something on her own. This ambition took her to Brooklands where she spent her pocket money on a few hours flying instruction in a Tiger Moth, going solo after only 6 hours. "Don't break the airplane", pleaded her instructor, "it is the only one we have with a control panel". The airplane wasn't broken and Diana's total time increased to about 10 hours before the pocket money ran out.
However, Diana's aviation career really took off with the formation of the Air Transport Auxiliary. At the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 Diana had volunteered as a Red Cross nurse but soon determined to apply for a job as a ferry pilot and was accepted into the ATA training programme. An amazing miscellany of flying and other skills assembled to form the core of ATA – Amy Johnson (lost in 1941 on an ATA mission); her husband Jim Mollison; Lettice Curtis, (Liveryman of the Guild and the first lady to fly a Lancaster); a bookmaker; a conjuror; a one-eyed, one armed fifty year old World War I air veteran and the legendry Poppa Fairweather who navigated "by cigarettes". He would chain smoke on a flight, seven minutes per fag, and by counting the butts, could calculate his time and thus distance on course.

When flying Diana had a number of escapes from potentially dangerous situations, although she is too modest to allow that her escapes were not only due to divine intervention but also to the fact that she was a 'damned fine airman! However, in her personal life she was not so fortunate. She became engaged to Squadron Leader Humphrey Gilbert in May 1942 who sadly died soon after in a Spitfire crash. Then her marriage to Wing Comander Derek Walker in 1944 came to a tragic end eighteen months later when Derek was killed in a P51 cash at Hendon.
With the end of the war bringing ATA activity to an end DBW determined to continue flying, and did so by obtaining her 'B' licence and then flying for the Women's Junior Air Corps. Flying cadets in a Fairchild Argus on air experience sorties called for a commercial licence as the girls paid a small fee for their trips.
Yet another major tragedy in DBW's life occurred in 1948 with the death from cancer of her adored father, at the unduly early age of 53. A few years later, after winning the Jean Lennox Bird Trophy for her work with the WJAC, Diana went supersonic! One evening in the Mess at RAF Middleton St. George the Wing Commander Flying, John Severgne, suggested Diana might like to fly a Lightning. Would she! But, of course, it wasn't as simple as that. Nevertheless, on 26 August 1963 and following clearance from the Minister of Defence (Air), Diana found herself flying a Lightning. Officially timed at Mach 1.65 (1,262 mph) Diana was, at the time, the fastest lady in the world!
After beating cancer herself, soon after her record breaking flight, DBW continued flying for a few more years with the WJAC; became Master of the local hunt; Commodore of the ATA Association and took up sheep farming in Surrey. From first solo in a DH 82 in 1938 to breaking the sound barrier in a T14 in 1963 and with many hundreds of hours and 125 different types in her logbook Diana Barnato Walker is certainly an Aviatrix Extraordinaire

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lorren (Rus) Stiles

Lorren 'Rus' Stiles has been a Test Pilot with Sikorsky Aircraft for 25 years. He was the Chief Program Pilot for the RAH-66 Comanche for 12 years and made the first flight of the prototype in January 1996.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ray J. Goudey 1921-2019

Lockheed Experimental Test Pilot Ray Goudey
Flight Crew and Chase Crew for the 1st flight of the Lockheed L-329 Jetstar. Left to right they are Bob Schumacher (copilot), Ernie Joiner (Flt Test Eng), Kelly Johnson (Designer), Jim Wood(USAF Flight Test), Ray Goudey (Pilot) and Tony Levier (Chief Test Pilot/Chase plane for 1st flt).
Ray Goudey was the 3rd Pilot to fly the Lockheed XF-104 after Tony Levier and 'Fish' Salmon.
Ray Goudey was the 2nd pilot to fly the U-2 after Tony Levier. He subsequently flew the 1st flights on the U-2B and U-2C models

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Jacqueline Auriol 1917-2000

Jacqueline Auriol was France's most distinguished aviatrix. She was born 5 November 1917 in Challans, France, the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder and timber importer. After graduating from the university in Nantes, she studied art at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris.
In 1938, she married Paul Auriol, son of Vincent Auriol, a prominent leader in the Socialist party. During World War 11, Madame Auriol, by that time the mother of two sons, evaded Gestapo agents and assisted the French Resistance. After the war ended, Vincent Auriol became President of France, and Paul Auriol served as his father's press secretary.
She soon became immersed in the social activities of the Palais Elysee and she took up flying in 1947, earned her tourist license the following year, and started stunt flying. In July 1949, she was severely injured when a seaplane, in which she was a passenger, crashed into the Seine. Over the next two years, she underwent 22 operations to rebuild her face. But she did not give up flying. Between her last two operations in the United States, she earned her helicopter rating in only four weeks at the Bell Aircraft factory in New York.

In 1950, she gained her military license and qualified at the Flight Test Centre at Bretigny, France, as the world's first woman test pilot. On 11 May 1951, she set a new women's speed record in a British Vampire jet, flying 508.8 mph beating Jacqueline Cochran's previous record, set in a P-51. This began a friendly rivalry between the two ladies, and they traded the women's world speed record for over a decade,she went on to beat her own record on 21 December 1952 in the Mistral.

Flying a Mystere IV on 3 August 1953, she became the second woman to break the sound barrier. She then reclaimed the speed title from Cochran on 31 May 1955, this time in the Mystere IVN. The title of "fastest woman" returned to Auriol two more times: on 22 June 1962 in the Mirage IIIC and on 14 June 1963 in the Mirage IIIR. Later, she was one of the first pilots to fly the supersonic Concorde. She was awarded the 1952,1953, and 1955 Harmon International Trophies, the Paul Tissander Diploma in 1953, the 1963 Gold Air Medal, La Grande Medaille de L'Aero Club de France in 1963, and the Legion d'Honneur for her record-setting achievements.