Saturday, June 30, 2012

Joe Mashman 1916-1994

Joe Mashman

Charles R.Woods

The diminutive XH-20 "Little Henry" was developed by a team led by Marvin Marks in close co-operation between the Helicopter and Propulsion Division of McDonnell and the AAF/USAF Rotor Wing Branch, Propeller Laboratory and Rotary Wing Unit, Aircraft Projects Section, Wright-Patterson AFB. At the time of its inception, the XH-20 was unique in being powered by two McDonnell-developed 18.42cm ramjet units weighing only 4.5kg each, mounted at the tips of the two-blade rotor and fed from tanks beside the pilot. The fuel, originally propane but later gasoline (motor car petrol), was boosted through a feed line to a delivery valve on the rotor head. From there centrifugal force took over to convey the fuel through the blades to the tip-mounted ramjets. 
Fitted as a single-seater, the first of two prototypes (46-689 and 46-690) made both its first tethered flight on 5 May, 1947, and its first free flight on 29 August in St Louis with Charles R. Wood Jr. at the controls.

The McDonnell XHJD-1 "Whirlaway," flew on April 27, 1946, with test pilot Charles R. Wood at the controls.

Alan D.Ashley 1933-2011

Alan D. Ashley was born May 14, 1933, in Gloversville. He served in the USMC and was employed as a chief test pilot for Kaman Aerospace. During his time with Kaman, Alan was involved with almost every flight test and development program, such as for the NAVY HUK-1 and the HU2K-1, the Air Force H43, the SH-2G and the K-MAX. He was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the American Legion.

Maurice Bugbee

Maurice Bugbee,Sikorsky Test Pilot

John David “Dave” Driskill 1897-1949

John David “Dave” Driskill was one of the better accomplished of the USA's aviation pioneers. He was, among other things, America’s first licensed helicopter pilot. The fact that Driskill survived hundreds of flights in the Outer Banks, one of America’s windiest and stormiest regions, testifies to his considerable skills. Owing to his many exploits and numerous aviation firsts in the region, Driskill was dubbed the The Re-Discoverer of the Outer Banks. “The Wright Brothers brought aviation to the world, but Dave Driskill brought aviation to the Outer Banks.” There is a pictorial history of Dave Driskill’s career in the Ready Room at North Carolina’s Dare County regional Airport. Driskill went on to distinguish himself as a highly skilled test pilot. He did testing for the Kellett Aircraft Company near Philadelphia. On October 3, 1949, Driskill was testing the XR-10, a helicopter destined to bring air travel to every small town in the world.

During the last flight, Driskill took a technician along as an observer. The XR-10 developed serious rotor problems. Driskill ordered the technician to jump. When he saw his parachute open, Driskill left the cockpit and jumped too. Regrettably, his parachute was snagged by the out of control rotors, and he went down with the XR-10. Not long after Driskill's death, Kellett Aircraft cancelled the XR-10 program.

Frank W. Peterson

Frank Peterson flew the first Hiller HJ-1 "Hornet" in August 1950

William 'Bill' R. Murray 1923-2008

William 'Bill' Murray was a Kaman Test Pilot. After graduating from high school in 1940, he served as a Naval Aviator in World War II. After the war, he launched a career in experimental testing and development of rotary wing aircraft working for company-founder Charles Kaman at Kaman Aircraft Corporation.
As a test pilot, he was fearless and a natural leader, inspiring those around him. Within the still young helicopter industry, he developed many of the techniques and processes required for flight testing and aircraft qualification. During this time, he participated in the development of the intermeshing helicopter blade and the servo flap controlled rotor – both signature Kaman achievements. He flew the world’s first turbine-powered drivetrain helicopter and the world’s first twin turbine powered helicopter, setting several world aviation records that stand to this day.
He was involved in testing the RotorDyne compound helicopter in England to speeds of up to 200 kts and at various times was engaged in experimental component testing on helicopter rotors, turbine engines, isolation systems, tail and tail rotor design, armor and armament systems, including the latest development of the U.S. LAMPS helicopters known as the SH-2F. At the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Maryland, he served as a demonstration test pilot at the Naval Test Center.
During his career, he held the positions of test pilot, chief test pilot, chief of test operations, vice president of test operations, executive vice president and president of Kaman Aerospace Corporation. In 1974, he received the J.H. Doolittle Award in recognition of his pioneering aviation achievements. He was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, The Tailhook Association, and past President of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Major Maurice E. A. Wright A.F.C.,B.A., F.R.Ae.S 1893-1957

Maurice Wright (left) with Gordon Slade

Maurice Wright was born in 1893 and was educated at Marlborough and Caius College,Cambridge. Shortly before the First World War, as an airminded undergraduate, he frequented Eastchurch,Isle of Sheppey, where he met Sir Richard Fairey(Dick Fairey),as he was at the time). A friendship began which was to last for more than forty years. In 1914 Maurice Wright volunteered for the Royal Naval Air Service and flew throughout the war on operations in the North Sea,the Dardanelles, Bulgaria, Syria,Aden and Egypt. After transferring to the R.A.F. in 1918 he became an Air Ministry test pilot,and in 1924, with long experience of seaplanes and flying-boats,he joined the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe as chief technical officer. In 1925 Dick Fairey,who had formed his own company in 1915, invited Maurice Wright to join the Fairey Aviation Company as a director. In his thirty-two years with the company the latter flew a great number of different Fairey aircraft—the last in 1948—bringing his total of types flown to more than 170. He was chairman of Avions Fairey and a member of the Council of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors.

Capt. C. R. McMullin 1894-1931

Capt. McMullin joined the Royal Flying Corps from the infantry in 1917 and learned to fly at the Central Flying School at Upavon. He served in France with No. 22 Squadron and at the No. 1 Aeroplane Supply Depot. On demobilisation in 1919 he joined Mr. Holt Thomas in Aircraft Transport and Travel, Ltd., and was the first pilot to fly a passenger aeroplane on the regular air line from Paris to London (Hounslow) in August, 1919.
In 1921 Capt. McMullin was selected by the Air Ministry to proceed to China to instruct Chinese  Government students in aviation. He remained there for about one year, and in addition to instruction work inaugurated a passenger service between Peking and Pei-tai-ho. From 1923 to 1926 he was acting as pilot with the Skywriting Company, and flew on their behalf in Great Britain, America, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
In 1927 he joined the Fairey Aviation Co., Ltd., as test pilot, and in 1931 became chief test pilot of the firm.

Capt. McMullin and Mr. Kenneth Wright,both of the Fairey Aviation Company were killed whilst flying in the latter's " Bluebird " from Gosselies to Brussels on September 8 1931 and had landed en route at Nivelles to inspect some " Fairey "aircraft recently delivered to Belgium. When leaving Nivelles the machine crashed, and both occupants were killed outright. The cause of the accident is stated to be due to the airscrew breaking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Richard (Dick) Abrams 1938-1994

This is the sixth flight of the first prototype of the B-1 taken on April 10, 1975 It is signed by the Flight Commander Charlie Bock, the Pilot Ted Sturmthal and the Flight Engineer Richard Abrams.

Richard (Dick) Abrams, was a 14-year Lockheed employee who served as flight test director for the company's top secret "Skunk Works" facility in Palmdale.
In 1980, Abrams joined the then Burbank-based Skunk Works--Lockheed's Advanced Development Co.--as a senior engineer. From 1989 to 1991, he served as flight test program manager for Lockheed's YF-22 fighter plane, supervising test flights of the aircraft in the Antelope Valley at Edwards Air Force Base and the company's Palmdale facility.
Abrams was appointed flight test director for the Skunk Works in March, 1991.
In April of 1994, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awarded him its Chanute Flight Test Award in recognition of his work in flight testing the F-117 Stealth Fighter and the YF-22A Advanced Tactical Fighter.
Prior to his tenure at Lockheed, Abrams worked at the Federal Aviation Administration and at Rockwell International's B-1 division. He also spent a decade with the U.S. Air Force.
Among his professional affiliations, Abrams was a member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers, the Flight Test Historical Foundation and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In addition, he authored the book "Corsair at War."
In 1960, Abrams received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He later received a master's degree in systems management from USC

Monday, June 11, 2012

VADM Donald D Engen 1924-1999

After growing up in California in the 1920s and 1930s, Engen entered the Navy through the V-5 aviation cadet program and was designated a naval aviator in June 1942. In 1943-44 he flew an SB2C Helldiver in Bombing 19 (VB-19) and took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In 1944-45 he flew in Bombing-Fighting 19 (VBF-19). Shortly after World War II he worked briefly as a civilian test pilot for Consolidated Vultee and was a student at the University of California at Los Angeles. In the next few years, as a fighter pilot, he was in Fighting 212 (VF-212), Fighter Squadron 52 (VF-52), and Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51). In the summer of 1950, during the Korean War, he was part of the U.S. Navy’s first-ever jet sortie in combat. Other tours in the 1950s included General Line School at Monterey, California; Bureau of Aeronautics representative in Dallas; the Empire Test Pilots’ School in Britain; and Air Development Squadron Three (VX-3). He served 1955-57 as executive officer of Fighter Squadron 21 (VF-21) and in 1957-59 at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River. In 1959-61 he was PCO and skipper of Fighter Squadron 21 (VF-21). Early 1960s duties included command of Carrier Air Group 11 and as operations officer in the aircraft carrier Coral Sea (CVA-43). In 1964-65 Engen commanded the ammunition ship Mount Katmai (AE-16), was a student at the Naval War College in 1965-66, and in 1966-67 commanded the aircraft carrier America (CVA-66). In the late 1960s he completed his bachelor’s degree at George Washington University, headed the Aviation Plans Branch of OpNav, and was selected for flag rank. He served 1969-71 in the Strategic Plans Division of OpNav, then commanded Carrier Division Four, 1971-73. From 1973 to 1976 he was Deputy Commander in Chief U.S. Naval Forces Europe (CinCUSNavEur) in London. During the latter part of 1976 he was Assistant DCNO (Plans and Policy) and from 1976 to 1978 was Deputy Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet.
 After Engen retired from active naval service in 1978, he was general manager of Piper Aircraft, Lakeland, Florida, and later worked with Ketron, Inc. On re-entering government service in 1982 he was on the National Transportation Safety Board, and later served 1984-87 as Federal Aviation Administration Administrator. His post-retirement activities included flying and work at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.

Gerald "Zeke" Huelsbeck 1928-1959

On Oct. 21, 1959 after the starboard aft engine access door opened in flight causing a complete loss of control the  Phantom II prototype, the YF4H-1 (#14225) crashed, killing McDonnell Aircraft test pilot Gerald "Zeke" Huelsbeck