Tuesday, April 28, 2020

S/Ldr Arthur Robert Moore DFC* 19xx-1989

 Bob Moore climbing into prototype J-29 before its maiden flight in 1948
Arthur Robert Moore joined the RAFVR about May 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he continued his elementary flying training at 7 EFTS Desford and went on to 10 FTS Ternhill for No. 19 Course, which ran from 11th April to 24th July 1940. 

Moore arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 3rd August and after converting to Hurricanes joined 3 Squadron at Wick on 19th August. He flew his first operational sortie on 4th September and his last with 3 Squadron on 19th September.

He was posted to 615 Squadron at Northolt on 10th October. He flew seven sorties with 615 between 17th October and 2nd November. 
Moore was posted to CFS Upavon on 28th December 1940 for an instructors course. He was commissioned in July 1941. 
In early June 1944 Moore was a Flight Commander with 3 Squadron. On the 8th he shot down a Me109 north of Rouen. Between 18th June and 10th August 1944 he destroyed twenty V1 flying bombs and shared another.
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 21st July 1944). 

Moore was posted to 56 Squadron at Newchurch in late August 1944. The squadron moved to B-60 at Grimbergen, Belgium on 28th September.
He shared in the probable destruction of a Fw190 on 29th September, destroyed a Me210 on 28th November and destroyed two Me109's on 17th December. 

Moore was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader and joined the RAFVR in 1950.

On 1 September 1948, the first of the Saab 29prototypes conducted its maiden flight, which lasted for half an hour. The test pilot for this first flight of the type was S/Ldr 'Bob' Moore.

He brought a 1955 Saab 92B back to England when he returned, later to become the first managing director of Saab GB Ltd. This was reputedly the first-ever Saab car imported to the UK.
He died in 1989.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

William ‘Bill’ Magruder 1923-1977

During his five years with the Air Force, Mr. Magruder, a graduate of the Air Force's Experimental Test Pilot School, supervised the engineering, and evaluated the performance, of such aircraft as the B-57 and B-52 bombers, C-124 transport and the F-86 fighter.

During his years in private industry, Mr. Magruder worked first for the Douglas Aircraft Co., now McDonald Douglas, and then for the Lockheed California Co., where he was intimately involved in that company's SST development program.
Mr. Magruder was also chief advanced design engineer for the development of Lockheed's L-1011 commercial jet transport.

A member of numerous test pilots' and aircraft industry groups and associations, he was the past president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Van H. Shepard 1925-1970

Van Shepard rose from a humble upbringing in the Great Depression to pursue his lifelong passion for aviation. After receiving his Army Air Forces pilot's wings in World War II, he became a test pilot for the US Air Force, launching a career in which he flew virtually every category of aircraft. As an industry test pilot, his accomplishments included piloting the largest supersonic aircraft in America's history, the XB-70 Valkyrie, at three times the speed of sound. Along the way, he survived a typhoon's direct hit in Okinawa, a low altitude ejection from a flaming fighter in Ohio, and an emergency landing on malfunctioning gear in California. He was killed when the aircraft he was flight testing, a "Guppy 101" owned by Aero Spacelines of Santa Barbara crashed  at Edwards Air Force Base.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Murray ‘Bob’ Hawley 1914-1962

Thomas Walter Gillespie 1924-2017

Tom Gillespie enrolled in college on a football scholarship at Virginia Polytechnic Institute VPI (VA Tech) and to the flight training school offered by the Navy V- 5 at VPI. Due to World War II, he dropped out of college and finished his flight training and flew anti-submarine patrol missions( the plane TBM avenger) in World War II. He returned as a flight instructor when the war ended. He returned to VPI after discharge and then transferred to Saint Louis University with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Two weeks after graduating, he was recalled into the Marine Corps for the Korean War as a fighter pilot flying the F4U corsair fighter jet.

Tom later completed the air force experimental flight test pilot school as a civilian and was ranked in top five out of This flight school was a prerequisite for the space astronaut program, including the original Mercury Seven to include Gus Grissom and Gordon Cooper, who he performed better than. He qualified to be one of the first astronauts in space with the Mercury 7 astronauts but a last-minute decision excluded all civilian candidates; thereby excluding Tom from being an original astronaut.

Tom continued his storied aviation career with stints at general motors with the f84 thunderstruck, Beech Craft Lear Jet and Vice President of Piper Aircraft. He finished his career running flight safety academy flight school in Vero Beach, Florida.