Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Richard W. Taylor 1922-2015

Richard W. Taylor was a flight test engineer on the B-52's predecessor, the B-47. He helped in the development of the B-52 and subsequent Boeing commercial aircraft until his retirement. As a pilot he holds nine world speed records. Taylor retired as a Boeing vice president, and remains a consultant to The Boeing Company.

Frederick Joseph Voorhies Jr 1928-2005

Gen. Irving L. Branch, Fred Voorhies and Val Prahl

Fred Voorhies was born on December Fred 1, 1928 in Lafayette, Louisiana.
He attended Southwestern Training School, Cathedral High School and graduated from the University of Louisiana with a degree in mechanical engineering where his father, Fred Sr. was in the first graduating class.In December 1952, Fred joined the United States Airforce as an aviation cadet, based at Bryan AFB, Texas. He received his wings and commission on March 16, 1953 at Malden AFB, Missouri and went to tactical schools at Shaw AFB, South Carolina and Valdosta AFB, Georgia. In the summer of 1953, he left for Korea and was based at K-14 in Kimpo, South Korea, with the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. Fred flew reconnaissance missions in an F-84 Thunder Jet with the Polka Dots Squadron. After one year in Korea, he returned to Williams AFB, Arizona and was a Flight Test Maintenance Officer with the 3525th Pilot Training Wing, where he tested the T-26 Turret and the T-33 Shooting Star until he retired in March 1956. He was awarded the Korean Service, National Defense Service and the United Nations Service medals.

In May 1956, Fred went to work for General Dynamics Aircraft Corporation in
Ft. Worth, Texas as an Engineering Test Pilot. He did flight conversion testing on the F-80 Shooting Star at Perrin AFB, Texas, Chase Flights in the F-104 Star Fighter, testing nuclear weapon pod drops from the B-58 Hustler at White Sands Missile Range from the Alamagordo AFB, New Mexico. He also tested the TFX prototype which became the F-111 Aardvark of which he was the Chief Engineer test pilot and was based at Edwards AFB, California for four years. He was also in the 136th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron of the Texas Air National Guard in Dallas, Texas. He left the Guard on April 12, 1959, with the Rank of Captain.

Fred was a member of the Caterpillar Club for having to bail out of an F-104 Star Fighter and was an Associate Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Grover 'Ted' C.Tate 1922-1996

Test Pilots G.C. Tate, Dick Johnson and O.D Lively after a test flight

B-58 Test Pilots Left to Right A.S Witchell, G.C. Tate, and C.T. Jones
Flight Test Crew E.E. Guthrie, G.C. Tate and Norm Stanberg perform an escape test from the B-58.

Grover Tate was a flight engineer and then navigator and spent almost his entire career flying in various flight test programs for some big name aircraft. The airframes he flew in operations and in test programs for include the B-26, B-58, B-36, and F-111.

E.E Guthrie

Test Pilots E.E. Guthrie, G.C. Tate and Norm Stanberg perform an escape test from a B-58

E.E Guthrie

Val Edward Prahl 1920-2013

Val Prahl in pressure suit
Val Prahl and Dick Johnson on the maiden flight of the F-111A

Val Prahl made the Maiden flight of the Convair TB-58 on 5th October 1960. He was co-pilot on the maiden flight of the GD F-111A on 2st December 1964.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dorman A.Cannon 1933 -

Dorman Cannon

Ronald G. Erhart 1936-

Ron Erhart (left) walking around the Xv-15 after a display on Capitol Hill

Ron Erhart

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens 1921-1984

Colonel Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens distinguished himself in flight test, flying nearly all of the jet fighter aircraft from the F-80 Shooting Star to the F-106 Delta Dart. He graduated from the Air Materiel Command Experimental Test Pilot School at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1949.

Called the "Silver Fox" because of his prematurely gray hair, he was the first military pilot to fly the YF-12A, the Air Force's secret titanium-skinned interceptor, and the SR-71 advanced reconaissance aircraft. From 1963 to 1968, he served as test director of the SR-71 and YF-12A test force.

On May 1, 1965, at Edwards Air Force Base, Stephens established four world speed and altitude records in the YF-12A. He averaged 2,070 miles per hour over a 17-kilometer straight away course, then held 80,257 feet to establish a world record for sustained horizontal flight. Those records stood until 1977, when they were surpassed by the SR-71. He was Chief of Fighter Operations at Edwards Air Force Base from 1952 to 1955. He flight-tested the YF-100A, YF-102, XF-104, X-5, X-1B, Navy F2H3, F4D, the F-94 series, F-86, F-89D, F-89H, and YF-101.

A member of the International Order of Characters, Stephens was a Fellow and past president of the society of Experimental Test Pilots. He was a P-47 fighter pilot during World War II and has been honored with the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Thompson Trophy, MacKay Trophy, Flying Tiger Trophy, Federation Aeronautique Internationale Gold Medal, Henri De La Vaulx Medal, Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement and Aerospace Walk of Honor.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Turp Gerard

Turp Gerard.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Edward Donald 'Don' Jergens 1921-2017

Don Jergens was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and has lived in Palm City since 1986, having relocated from Hurst, Texas. He was a veteran of the Army Air Corps, serving in WWII with the 97th Bomber Group, 15th Air Force. . He was a B17 Pilot and took part in the Ploesti oilfield raids earning him two Distinguished Flying Crosses. He was an experimental test pilot with Bell Helicopter, and was also the original test pilot for the CH-47 Chinook

Frank Tefft

Frank Tefft

Roman Petrovich Taskayev 1954-

Roman Petrovich Taskayev was born in the town of Khilok of Chita Region. From 1971 he served in the military.In 1975 he graduated from Kharkov high military aviation school and served in Air Force front-line units (till 1981). Graduated from Test-pilot school in 1983.

Between 1983-1998 he worked as test-pilot at A.I.Mikoyan EDB. He tested more than 40 aircraft types. He worked on the development of the following prototypes MiG-29, MiG-31 and MiG-AT. For the first time in Russian Aviation history, Roman made a transit flight over North Pole on MiG-31 with in-flight refuelling. During 1998 he joined A.S.Yakovlev EDB as a test pilot. He has set one world aviation record and has been awarded the Order of Labor Red Banner and Order of Courage medals.

W/Cdr Jack M.Henderson OBE AFC* 1931-1990

Jack Morton Henderson was born on 4 November 1931 and spent four years in dairy farming and banking in New Zealand. He joined the RAF in 1950 and was posted for pilot training and intensive study to Cranwell in 1951-1953, where he earned the Queen's Medal and four other awards. He completed the RAF flying instructors' course in 1954 with special distinction then served as staff instructor in 1954-56, instructing on jets and pistons, including ground instruction and training instructors.

Henderson graduated from the ETPS in 1959, gaining the Edwards Award for outstanding performance, and joined the RAE Aero Flight where he made the first flight of HP.115 on 17 August 1961.

Besides his intensive flying on the HP.115, Henderson played an instrumental role in the success of the Hawker P.1127, which evolved into the Harrier. In November 1961 he evaluated the P.1127 on behalf of Aero Flight, the Royal Aircraft Establishment, in a series of six flights and was the first service pilot to fly the type.

Henderson, who was OC of RAE Aero Flight, also commanded units formulating and flight-testing novel concepts, such as the jet VSTOL, delta wings, slender wings, and electronic flight controls. He flew on the Short SC.1, AVRO 707A and C, Hunting H.126, Short SB.5.

Henderson also tested and advised on American, German, Canadian and French research aircraft, such as the Bell X-14, Dornier Do.31 test rig, EWR VJ101 and Ryan VZ-3.

Henderson was also involved in establishing new flight test techniques and flew 160 types and Mks of aircraft. He served as RAF Project Manager for the Anglo-French Jaguar aircraft programme and planned and controlled flying display and all supporting arrangements for the 1968 and 1970 SBAC "Farnborough International" Airshows.

Sadly, Henderson had suffered long periods of illness and was retired as a Wing Commander on medical grounds in the late 1960s.His illness grew increasingly worse and he passed away on 20 September 1990. He was married to Joan Henderson and had a son and a daughter and was holder of OBE, Air Force Cross (AFC) and Bar.