Monday, December 12, 2011

Russell 'Russ' Pengelly AFC QCVS 1945-1979

Russ Pengelly was one of Britain's most brilliant pilots. He was renowned for his aerobatic displays in the Lightning, becoming the official RAF demonstration pilot. He showed at Farnborough and many other air shows that he possessed an unique skill to display an aircraft with grace, verve and precision whilst remaining wholly within the view of the spectators.
After completing test-pilot training at the Empire Test Pilots School, Russ remained at Boscombe Down in "A" squadron as Harrier project test pilot until joining BAe at Warton in June 1977. He immediately became involved in the Tornado programme as well as participating in all the other test-flying activities at Warton and showed himself to be an outstanding test pilot in all respects.
 He was killed in the crash of Tornado P.08 on June 12th 1979 whilst carrying out a loft-bombing manoeuvre

Will 'Billy' D. Parker 1899-1981

Born in Oklahoma City, Ok, Billy Parker was bitten by the flying bug while he was still a high school student at Ft. Collins, Colo. He pioneered in writing aviation history by flying in hundreds of aerial exhibitions in pre-World War I days. He held pilot's license No. 44 and had more than 16,000 hours flying time.
When he began flying his pusher plane in the summer of 1912, he was about the only pilot doing any successful flying in the high altitude of Colorado and Wyoming, where he was appearing.
By 1916 Parker was in the United States Army at the Mexican border. As the United States drew closer to entry into the war, Parker transferred to the aviation section of the Signal Corps as a civilian flying instructor. At that time, the Army owned only 12 or 15 planes. There was no air force or air corps.

In 1917, Parker was commissioned a captain in the British Royal Flying Corps, but with America's entry in the war, he was returned to San Francisco. Billy was assigned to the U.S. Aircraft Corporation at Redwood City, California as a test pilot. Later in the war he became chief instructor at a new flying school opened in Dewey, Oklahoma.
At the close of the war, Parker spent several years barnstorming throughout the Mid-West before joining Phillips Petroleum Company as manager of its aviation division.
Among Parker's early duties with Phillips was arranging the stratosphere test flights of the late Wiley Post, which provided much valuable information on high altitude flying.Parker worked for Phillips until his retirement in 1966. He continued working as a consultant for Phillips and other companies.
Parker flew his pusher in eight to ten air shows a year including airport openings and celebrations such as the 50th anniversary of flight at Kitty Hawk, NC in 1953. Phillips Petroleum donated the Parker Pusher NX62E to the Tulsa, Oklahoma International Airport in 1968 and the Parker Pusher NX66U to the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1970. Parker attended both dedications. The engine on a pusher is located behind the pilot's seat. Early planes with the engine in front of the pilot were called tractors. Parker had an active pilot's license until 1979. He was an active member of the Early Birds, Conquistadores del Cielo, Veteran Pilot's Association, Silver Wings of World War I and the OX5 Club up to his death in 1981.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lt. Col. Joe B. Jordan 1929-1990

Joe Bailey Jordan was born on June 12, 1929 in Huntsville, Texas. He completed Air Force Basic Pilot Training and received his wings on September 15, 1950. He flew a combat tour in Korea in F-80s and served a tour of duty as an undergraduate Flight Instructor. He attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, and later graduated from the Air Force Fighter Weapons School in 1963. These two schools gave him the background to prepare him to make major contributions in the aviation sector of Flight Test, for which he was awarded the Clifford B. Harmon International Aviation Trophy in 1960, and in Foreign Weapons Evaluation in which he became the first American to fly and evaluate the Mig 21. He set world altitude record, reaching 103,395.9 ft, flying an F-104C Military 14 Dec 1959 Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA .

In late 1967 an Afghanistan pilot seeking political asylum fled to Israel in a Mig-21. A highly classified program was put together to evaluate the Mig's performance and stability characteristics and to determine the areas of the flight envelope in which the Mig enjoyed a tactical advantage or disadvantage when compared to U.S. fighter aircraft. This information was critical to the success of the air campaign then being waged in the skies over North Vietnam. Jordan was selected for this evaluation role because of his superior knowledge in flight-testing of tactical aircraft and evaluating their systems. He went to Israel to perform the initial evaluation on the Mig which was immediately used to modify combat tactics being used in Vietnam. As a direct result of Jordan's flight envelope evaluations in Israel, and in a continuing series of flight evaluations conducted after the Mig was transported to the United States, a classified training film "Project Have Doughnut" was produced. This film was used to train U.S. pilots in exploiting the Mig-21 vulnerabilities and directly lead to an enhanced combat victory ratio.

Monday, December 05, 2011

John D. Omvig 1923-1967

The first production F8U-2 ‎(BuNo 145546)‎ made its first flight on 29 August 1958 with Vought test pilot John Omvig at the controls.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Peter Sedgwick

The BAe146 made its maiden flight from Hatfield on 3 September 1981. Piloted by Mike Goodfellow, BAe chief test pilot, the other crew members of G-SSSH were: Peter Sedgwick, deputy CTP; Roger de Mercado, chief flight development engineer and Roger Hammond, instrumentation engineer. The BAe 1000 made its maiden flight on 16th June 1990, lasting 2 hours 15 minutes, flown by Chief Test Pilot Peter Sedgwick and Project Test Pilot Goerge Ellis.