Thursday, April 16, 2009

Duncan McIntosh AFC OBE 1922-1987

Duncan McIntosh

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peter Maksimovich Ostapenko 1928-2012

Peter Maksimovich Ostapenko was born in Prokhladny town of Kabardino-Balkariya. He served in the Army from 1947. In 1951 he graduated from Armavir high military aviation pilot school. After graduation appointed there as pilot-instructor (till 1957). In 1958 graduated from Test-pilot school and in 1967 graduated from MAI. Between 1958 -1983 he worked as test-pilot and from 1983 as a leading engineer at A.I.Mikoyan EDB.
Ostapenko helped develop no less than 64 aircraft variants, including the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, MiG-29 and MiG-31 fighters and interceptors, and the EPOS (article 105.11) space vehicle prototype. He flew over 5,000 hours as a test pilot, made over 10,000 landings, and held eight world aviation records including absolute altitude and speed records gained in Ye-166 and MiG-25 aircraft.
He survived an ejection from a prototype MiG-31 interceptor in 1979.
He made a huge contribution to MiG's test pilot school. Awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, he also held the Order of Lenin, Red Banner Order of Labor, Red Star, and was awarded a USSR State Prize. He was also awarded the title of USSR Senior Test Pilot and USSR Senior Aircraft Builder.He was also awarded the De Lavaux international aviation prize in 1963.

Aviard Gavrilovich Fastovets 1937-1991

Aviard Fastovets was born in Kovrov town of Vladimir Region. Graduated from Air Force special school (Ivanovo town). Since 1954 served in Army. In 1955 graduated from Military aviation school of pilot elementary training (Aktiubinsk town), and in 1957 graduated from Kachinskoye military aviation pilot school. Was given a position of pilot-instructor in the school (till 1965). In 1967 graduated from Test-pilot School.

In 1967-1987 worked as test-pilot and in 1987-1991 as leading engineer at A.I.Mikoyan EDB. Took part in flight testing MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, MiG-29, MiG-29K and MiG-31 aircraft. Awarded with Lenin Order, Order of October Revolution, Honor Mark Order, medals.

Valery Eugenyevich Menitsky 1944-2008

Menitsky (2nd from left) with MIG-31

Valery Eugenyevich Menitsky was born in Moscow. Served in Army since 1961. In 1965 graduated from Tambov high military aviation school. Appointed there as pilot-instructor (till 1968). In 1969 graduated from Test-pilot school.

In 1969-1992 worked as test-pilot at A.I.Mikoyan EDB. Conducted testing and development of newest aircraft models.
He tested and flew on 65 aircraft types MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-29, MiG-31 included. He made the first flights and tested MiG-27 and MiG-29 M planes.

Awarded with Lenin premium, Lenin and Honor Mark Orders, medals.

Boris Antonovich Orlov 1934-2000

Boris Antonovich Orlov was born in the town of Kansk, Krasnoyarsk Area. In 1952 he graduated from Novosibirsk aviation technical school, and in 1955 graduated from Central united flying-technical school of Voluntary Society of Assistance to Army, Aviation and Fleet (VCAAAF) in Saransk town. He worked as a pilot-instructor, navigator, flight section commander at Novosibirsk Aeroclub till 1963. He took part in the second world championship on aerobatic flying as a member of USSR combined team in Hungary (1962). Graduated form Test-pilot school in 1965 and MAI in 1970.

Between 1965-1987 he worked as test-pilot and in 1987 became a leading engineer of A.I.Mikoyan EDB. B.A. Orlov successfully conducted a number of important tests of supersonic jet aeroplanes MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, MiG-29 and MiG-31 included.

Set one world aviation record.

Awarded with Orders of Lenin, October Revolution, Honor Mark, Labor Red Banner, medals.

Mikhail Mikhailovich Komarov 1937-1970

Born in Moscow. From 1954 he served in the Army,graduating from Armavir military aviation pilot school in 1956. He served in Air Force front-line units, between 1963-1965 he worked as a test-pilot of the Tbilissi aviation plant.

In 1965 he joined A.I.Mikoyan EDB as a test pilot and took part in testing MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-25 airplanes. He made the maiden flight of and tested the MiG-23U.

He set two world aviation records (one of them absolute). He was killed in a crash of a MiG-23 during a test flight. He was awarded the Medal of de Lavo (FAI) (1967).

Victor Vasilyevich Ryndin 1942-

Victor Vasilyevich Ryndin graduated from the Chernigov military aviation pilot school in 1965 and the graduated from Test-pilot school in 1971 and MAI in 1975.

Between 1971-1989 he worked as a test-pilot at A.I.Mikoyan EDB. He took part in testing MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, MiG-29, MiG-31 aircraft and their versions. He tested aviation armament systems, navigational systems, electronic equipment. He tested over 70 aircraft types.

Awarded with Order of Labor Red Banner, Order of October Revolution, Honor Mark Order, medals.

Aleksandr Vasilyevich Fedotov 1932-1984

One of the leading test pilots of his era, Aleksandr Fedotov was a Major General in the Russian Airforce, he graduated from Flight School Stalingrad in 1950. He was a pilot in the airforce from 1950 to 1957,graduating from the Aravmir School for Military Pilots in 1952 and worked then as an instructor pilot.

In 1958 he graduated from testpilot school and worked for the OKB Mikoyan. In 1965 he worked for the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI). Between 1961 and 1977 he achieved 18 world records, including three absolute records on E-166 and MiG-25-jets. He held since August 31, 1977 the world altitude record for planes that take off under their own power (123,524 feet).

Between 1976 and 1978 he was involved in the EPOS "Spiral"-Program. In 1977 he performed the maiden flight of the MiG-29. He died in a crash of a MiG-31 (together with V. S. Zaytsev) in 1984.

He became a Hero of the Soviet Union in 1966 and in 1969 a Meritious test pilot of the Soviet Union.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

James Thomas Fitzgerald, Jr. 1920-1948

Yeager,Lundquist and Fitzgerald with the Bell X-1

James Fitzgerald was a US Army Air Force test pilot who had joined the X-1 program, and was 2nd person to fly supersonic after Chuck Yeager.Fitzgerald had been an accomplished fighter pilot during World War II before he was shot down and held in a German prisoner of war camp until liberated in 1945. Though denied the opportunity to continue flying combat in the Pacific, Fitzgerald was later selected to become an Air Force test pilot. He completed seven flights aboard the X-1 including four at supersonic speeds. Fitzgerald first surpassed Mach 1 during the 71st flight of the program on 24 February 1948. He reached a top speed of Mach 1.1 before a fire forced him to shut off the engine and jettison the propellants. Fitzgerald continued flying the X-1 over the next few months until he was tragically killed in September 1948 following a landing accident aboard a T-33.

Herbert H. Hoover 1912-1948

Herbert (Herb) Hoover was born on May 18, 1912, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He spent the next 22 years in Knoxville and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1934 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
After graduation from the University of Tennessee, he was accepted by the Army Air Corps and trained at Randolph and Kelly Fields. He was then assigned to a tactical group at Mitchell Field. Because his position in the Army, as a Lieutenant, was temporary, he took the U.S. Civil Service exam in the spring of 1937, hoping to get a job with the Dept. of Agriculture. However, before anything with the Dept. of Agriculture materialized, he accepted a job with American Airlines and had even gone as far as being measured for his pilot's uniform when General Frank of Mitchell Field pulled some strings that resulted in Herb being offered a piloting job with the Standard Oil Company in South America. When he accepted the job with Standard Oil, he said he didn't want to become what he called a "taxi driver," serving at the beck and call of corporate officials who wished to be flown from place to place. Instead, upon arriving in Venezuela, he was put to work as an aero "truck driver," which involved hauling equipment, personnel, and hospital patients from camp to camp. Although there wasn't much difference between "taxi driver" and "truck driver" he had the opportunity to do more important aerial photography mapping of unexplored territory in the interior of Venezuela.
After three and a half years in South America, Herb yearned to return to the United States, which he did in December 1940 when he accepted a job as an experimental test pilot with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in Hampton, Virginia. Because of his experience flying through bad weather, he volunteered to test fly the XC-35 through thunderstorms. He became one of the first pilots to fly through thunderstorms deliberately on bad-weather flying research. He already had the reputation as a cool pilot in tight situations; once, during an instrumentation calibration flight in a NACA SB2C Helldiver, the plane's cockpit canopy hood came loose in flight smashing Hoover across the forehead inflicting a deep cut that bled profusely. Though stunned by the blow and blinded by blood flowing into his eyes, Hoover instinctively retained control of the dive bomber, cleared his eyes, and despite his injuries, brought the plane back to Langley for an emergency landing.
On another occasion, while he was firing a rocket-propelled model from a P-51 Mustang in a Mach 0.7 dive, the model disintegrated, showering the Mustang with wreckage. The wreckage punctured the plane's coolant tank, but again Hoover brought the plane in for a successful forced landing.
Soon, he was put in charge of all flight operations and then became chief test pilot for the NACA at the Langley Memorial Laboratory, in Hampton, Virginia. He flew more than a hundred different types of airplanes.
When the Air Force-NACA transonic flight research program began at the Muroc Flight Test Unit, California, Herb initiated the NACA flight operations of the Bell XS-1 (tail #6063) research airplane under Bell engineer, Robert Frost's careful tutelage in August 1947 and made his first NACA glide-familiarization flight on October 21, 1947, for stall check, (one week after Capt. Chuck Yeager became the first pilot to exceed the speed of sound in the AF XS-1, Tail # 6062). On Hoover's flight, the little rocket plane touched down hard on its nose wheel, and the landing strut collapsed. Repairs and subsequent maintenance work kept the XS-1 grounded until December 16, 1947, when Hoover made the first rocket flight ever performed by a NACA pilot, attaining Mach 0.71. He flew another checkout flight the next day reaching Mach 0.84. In January 1948, NACA pilots (Hoover and Howard Lilly) completed seven subsonic flights in their XS-1 and by the end of the month Hoover had reached Mach 0.925. On March 4, 1948, Hoover attained Mach 0.943 at 40,000 feet. Then, six days later, on March 10, 1948, Hoover dropped from the B-29 on a stability and loads investigation, fired three of the four rocket chambers and began to climb, leveling out at 42,000 feet. The NACA XS-1 rapidly accelerated to Mach 0.93 and Hoover fired the fourth chamber. Under full thrust, the rocket research aircraft shot to Mach l.065, approximately 703 mph. Herbert Hoover had become the first civilian pilot to exceed the speed of sound. After engine burnout, he coasted to the dry lake. Despite emergency efforts, Hoover found he could not extend the nose landing gear. He held off on the nose as long as possible, and even though the plane skidded to a stop on the underside of the nose, the damage was slight. On NACA powered flight 11, Herb became not only the first civilian, but the second person to exceed the speed of sound.
He received the Octave Chanute Award in 1948 for "contributions to the application of flight test procedures to basic research in aerodynamics, and the development of methods for scientific study of transonic flight." In 1949, he was awarded the Air Medal "for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on March 10, 1948," when he first broke the sound barrier.
Herb flew the XS-1 in its exploratory tests in the transonic and supersonic range and was the flight instructor who trained other NACA pilots (Lilly, Bob Champine, and John Griffith) in the flying qualities of the XS-1 while flying back and forth from Langley to Muroc and maintaining his job as chief of the Langley research pilots.
Hoover lost his life on August 14, 1952, when the B-45 jet bomber he was flying on a mission to test various research instruments tore apart in mid-air and crashed near Barrowsville, Virginia. According to the accident report that was declassified 30-years later, Herb was almost certainly killed instantly when, after ejecting, his body collided in the air with portions of the crumbling plane. The ripcord of his parachute was not pulled. The co-pilot, John A. Harper, escaped with minor injuries.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Joseph A. Cannon 1918-2007

Joe Cannon a native of Niagara Fall,NY was widely known throughout the American aerospace industry for his activities in flight research and marketing for Bell Aerosystems. He joined Bell in 1942 as a test pilot after civilian flight training at Niagara University and service with the RCAF as a flight instructor.
During his 22 years service with Bell, Joe Cannon had flown more than 50 types of aircraft,including the Bell X-1 Rocket research airplane. In addition to his service as a test pilot, he held several upervisory positions at Bell, including manager of flight operations at the B-29 plant in Marietta,Ga from 1943-1945,chief of flight test for the company from 1953 until 1957 and manager of aerospae marketing from 1960 until his appointment as manager of the expanded air-cushion vehicles marketing group.

Sqn Ldr G.E.C Eric Genders AFC DFM 1920-1950

George Eric Clifford Genders, legendary British fighter ace and test pilot. He was a graduate of the Empire Tests Pilots' School and later Commanding Officer of the RAE's Aero Flight. His untimely death in the crash of the tailless DH.108.was a major loss to British Aviation.

George Eric Clifford “Jumbo” Genders, who was born in Doncaster in 1920, enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in July 1939. Called up two months later, he undertook pilot training and was posted as a Sergeant to No. 245 Squadron in Northern Ireland. But in November 1940 he joined No. 73 Squadron and was embarked on an aircraft carrier for the West Coast of Africa, where, on arrival, he flew one of the Squadron’s Hurricanes over to Egypt. Then, having undertaken further training at No. 70 O.T.U., he was posted to No. 33 Squadron in Greece in early 1941.Genders proved himself to be an exceptional fighter pilot from the start, bringing down a Bf. 109, and damaging another, over Larissa in Greece in mid-April 1941, following a surprise dawn attack on his airfield by elements of II/JG 77. Such was the speed and ferocity of the German strike that the other two pilots of his stand-by Flight were both shot down and killed.
Soon afterwards, during a German raid on shipping in Piraeus, Genders claimed three Ju. 87s, although there appears to be some confusion over the exact date of the engagement - most probably it was 24 April, when three Stukas were reported missing and not claimed by any other pilots. It seems possible, too, that he brought down the Bf. 109 of Hauptmann Franz Lange, Kommandeur of II/JG 77, on his way home from Piraeus.His success continued apace over Crete. On the 3 May 1941, during a 25-strong enemy attack on shipping in Suda Bay, Genders claimed two Ju. 88s shot down and another brace damaged, statistics that won him the accolade of tenth most successful Allied pilot in this theatre of war.
Subsequently evacuated, No. 33 Squadron was reformed in Egypt, and afterwards heavily engaged over the Egyptian-Libyan border area, not least during Operations “Brevity”, “Battleaxe” and “Crusader”. For his own part, Genders shot down two Fiat G50s on 17 June, shared in the destruction of a Savoia SM79 on 22 November and damaged a Ju. 88 on the same date. And in between such combat successes, he flew on numerous ground-strafing sorties, once setting three enemy trucks alight with his very first burst of fire. A well merited D.F.M. was gazetted in April 1942, the same month in that he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer.Joining No. 103 Maintenance Unit at Aboukir in May 1942, Genders went on to serve as a test pilot on many aircraft types, a posting that met with his approval.
Among the projects assigned to Genders was a specially modified Spitfire V. The latter was stripped of all extraneous equipment and armed with only two .50-inch machine-guns, in order to reach sufficient altitude to engage the Lufwaffe’s Ju. 86Ps, hitherto unmolested reconnaissance aircraft that had pressurised crew quarters. No such luxury prevailed in Genders’ stripped-down Spitfire, where the temperature sometimes ‘dropped to 67 degrees below zero - 99 degrees of frost!’, or for his fellow pilots, Flying Officer G. W. H. Reynolds, D.F.C. and Pilot Officer Gold, the whole shortly to become known as “The Three Musketeers of Strato” for their gallant deeds ‘ten miles above earth’. Genders fought his first high altitude engagements in late June, damaging Ju. 86Ps on the 26th and 27th of the month, but it was not until 6 September that he was able to share in the actual destruction of such an aircraft.

Having accumulated a fine wartime record as a test pilot out in the Middle East, Genders attended the Empire Test Pilots’ School at Cranfield in January 1946. Subsequently posted as a Squadron Leader to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in May, he continued his good work, and was rewarded with an A.F.C. in the New Year Honours of 1949.

Latterly he was employed in testing the D.H. 108, the swept-wing research aircraft without horizontal tail surfaces and Britain’s first supersonic jet, also known as the “Flying Wing”, in order to assist ongoing research into the development of the Comet airliner.Only three such aircraft were ever built, one claiming the life of Geoffrey de Havilland, son of the famous aircraft manufacturer, when it exploded over the Thames Estuary in September 1946, and the other two, on being released into service, their respective R.A.F. pilots. Tragically, Genders was one of the latter, having got into trouble over Hartley Wintney in Hampshire on 1 May 1950. An eye-witness described how he saw the D.H. 108 ‘whirling head-over-heels and then windmilling, wing-tip over wing-tip ... like a sheet of paper caught in a sharp, unsteady breeze’. Another witness saw Genders bale out at around 200 feet, but ‘instead of falling clear he stopped several feet from the plane, and swung round apparently attached to it’

Igor Viktorovich Votintsev 1953-

The Sukhoi SU-47 Berkut made its maiden flight at Zhukovsky on September 25th, 1997, in the hands of Sukhoi's test pilot Igor Votintsev.

Igor Viktorovich Votintsev