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Old 02-23-2008, 07:18 PM   #31
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Re: Today's Birthday...

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Originally Posted by Eherran View Post
Great stuff as usual! I live in Florida and oddly enough, I had no idea Tibbetts had a Florida collection, let alone a UF connection. Did you learn this while at UF or while researching Tibbetts later on?
I had no idea he was a Florida Gator until I did some reading. Nor did I know that Enola Gay was named for his mother. Also he was the 2nd Paul W Tibbetts - he has a grandson of the same name that continues the tradition as a Lt. Colonel in the USAF, flying B-2 bombers and was commander of 393 Sqn.
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:59 AM   #32
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Feb 24, 1808 - John Wise



John Wise was born in Pennsylvania and came to be known as the Father of American Aeronautics. He was a pioneer of science in ballooning.

His interest in balloons began as a 14 year-old reading a German article (his family's name was originally Weiss) and in 1832 built and flew his first balloon. Unlike other balloonists of the day, he did not fly for novelty or simply to draw commercial benefit, but utilised his flights for scientific study of atmosphere, pneumatics and hydrostatics.

He flew a balloon designed to fold into a parachute in the event of collapse, which proved its worth in 1838 when his balloon ruptured and he unintentionally proved the success of the design!

He later originated the rip panel for instant deflation. (Prior to this the accepted, dangerous method of deflation was for the aeronaut to climb up the netting to the top of the balloon and grasp the valve between his knees. The balloon lines were then released. The weight of the aeronaut on top of the balloon caused the envelope to invert allowing the gas to escape through the umbilical. There are cases of the aeronaut being carried away and killed by the fouling of the umbilical in the lines, preventing the deflation.) He was among the first to recognize the effect of solar heating and he built a black balloon to make use of it.

Wise was the first to observe " the great river of air which always blows from west to east" in the higher regions of the atmosphere - what we call today the jet stream. He was keen to utilise this to make the first air crossing of the Atlantic but twice his preparations were foiled. It was suggested to him that it might be safer to test his theory of this airstream over land rather than the ocean.

At the age of 71, already the nation’s most senior, most successful and most famous aeronaut, Wise, with one passenger launched from West St. Louis over Lake Michigan. He was never seen again, nor were his remains ever recovered from Lake Michigan. He had made 463 ascents during 44 years of ballooning and this. . . “coupled with his enthusiasm, generosity, and scientific curiosity, clearly mark him as the most distinguished and experienced of American aeronauts.”


Feb 24, 1928 - Vasili Grigoryevich Lazarev



Vasili G. Lazarev was one of the original group of civilian cosmonauts, trained for the Voskhod flights that upstaged the manned Mercury missions in the early 1960's. Lazarev was a trained pilot and a physician with 15 years experience in aerospace medicine. Political interference prevented him from being aboard the first Voskhod flight but he made history in being the first to survive an aborted launch.

On 5 April 1975, Soyuz 18-1, piloted by Lazarev with Makarov successfully endured the first manned spaceflight abort. During launch third stage separation failed to occur but still ignited. The crew demanded that the abort procedures be implemented but ground control could not see the launch vehicle gyrations in their telemetry. Soyuz finally was separated from by ground control command at 192 km, and following a 20.6+ G reentry, the capsule landed in the Altai mountains near the Chinese border, tumbled down a mountainside, and snagged in some bushes just short of a precipice. This saved them from certain death.

The crew was worried that they may have landed in China and would face internment, but after an hour sitting in the cold next to the capsule, they were discovered by locals speaking Russian. Total flight duration was 1574 km and flight time 21 minutes 27 seconds. Lazarev suffered internal injuries from the high-G reentry and tumble down the mountain side and never flew again. When they were finally located and interviewed for TV, they sort of mumbled into their hands to hide the fact that their teeth were shattered.

Both cosmonauts were denied their 3000 ruble spaceflight bonus pay and had to apeal all the way to Brezhnev before being paid.

Lazarev died of natural causes on Dec 31, 1990.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:00 AM   #33
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Feb 25, 1915 - Noel Karl Stansfeld

Stansfeld was a Canadian fighter pilot who flew with the RAF in the Battle of Britain.



Born in Edmonton but raised in Vancouver , Stansfeld (sometimes anglicised to Stansfield) joined the RAF as a volunteer pilot trainee before the outbreak of WWII. There were a number of Canadians who did likewise and who saw action early in the war. A number from 242 Sqn (the All-Canadian Squadron) became aces early in the war and Stansfeld was among their number. He shot down 7 enemy aircraft flying the Hawker Hurricane between May and September, 1940 and was awarded the DFC.

The All-Canadian Squadron was led by Douglas Bader who had this to say of Stansfeld:
"Conduct, very satisfactory. Temperate. This officer is the first Canadian in the squadron [sic]. He has a good brain, plenty of courage and is most reliable. Has a mature sense of judgement and is an excellent pilot. In combat he is ferocious and a good shot. Have a very high opinion of this officer and consider he should make a good Flight Commander with a little more experience. The best junior section leader in the squadron."

He later was forced to bail out of his plane and thereafter spent most of the remainder of the war training other pilots - perhaps he suffered burnout as a result of the trauma. He transfered to the RCAF in 1945, having risen to the rank of Squadron Leader and he was also bestowed the Czech Medal for bravery. He passed away August 10, 1995.



Feb 25, 1888 - John Foster Dulles



John Foster Dulles was one of the most influential and controversial figures in the history of twentieth-century U.S. foreign relations. He became involved in politics from an early age and forged a successful career in international business law. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson appointed him as legal counsel to the United States delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference at the end of World War I.

He remained active in politics and public life, eventually being appointed Secretary of State under the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower during the height of the Cold War. He died of cancer in 1959.



Although he was a statesman and not an airman, (Washington) Dulles International Airport was named for him. Construction began in 1958 but was not completed until 1962. President Kennedy opened the new airport with Eisenhower in attendance.

Architect Eero Saarinen, wanted to create something more than just another airport -- he wanted to find "the soul of the airport." He designed the terminal building and the control tower in that spirit and called it "the best thing I have ever done." The terminal building was selected for a First Honor Award by the American Institute of Architects in 1966. The airport utilizes Mobile Lounges to ferry passengers from the terminal to the aircraft.

The new airport was a symbol of America's stature and progress into the jet age, and was an impressive gateway to the Nation's Capital. An Eastern Airlines Super Electra, on a flight from Newark, New Jersey, was the first commercial aircraft to land at the new airport in November, 1962.

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Old 02-26-2008, 09:37 AM   #34
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Feb 26, 1888 - Mario Castoldi



Italy's most famous aeronautical engineer and airplane designer.

Born in Zibido San Giacomo, Castoldi beagan working for Macchi Aeronautica in 1922. He achieved fame for designing and building a series of seaplanes to compete in the Schneider Trophy. Many set world speed records. His first winning plane was the Macchi M.39 seaplane which won in 1926. Powered by a Fiat engine it managed a top speed of 396 km/h but success would elude Castoldi as the race was run 3 years in a row by the British with Supermarine designs.

The last Schneider Trophy was run in 1931 because of British dominance, but Castoldi's plane for that year was not ready for racing. With Mussolini's patronage the Macchi M.C.72 continued to be developed and eventually in April, 1933 pilot Francesco Agello set a speed record for a seaplane with a speed of 684 km/h.



The next year Agello set a speed record that still stands for a single piston-engine seaplane when the M.C.72 acheived 709km/hr. It was a world speed record for 5 years.

During WWII Castoldi designed fighters for Macchi - the most famous being the Macchi C.202 Folgore and M.C.205 Veltro (M.C. denoted Macchi-Castoldi). The Folgore was esteemed to be a better fighter than the Bf109 by Clive Caldwell, if only it had had better armament.



The C.205 Veltro was one of the most beautiful and best-performed fighters of the war, powered by a Daimler-Benz engine, but produced in only small numbers.



After the war Castoldi retired to private life and died in 1968.
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:45 AM   #35
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Feb 27, 1887 - Pyotr Nesterov



Pyotr Nesterov - Russian pilot, an aircraft technical designer and an aerobatics pioneer - achieved world fame as the first person to perform a loop-the-loop. He was also the first to engage in aerial combat.

Pyotr Nikolayevich Nesterov was born in February 1887 in Nizhny Novgorod, to the family of a career officer who taught in the local cadet school. He excelled academically and went on to become an Artillery Officer. He quickly became an advocate of aerial warfare when he recognized the potential for balloons to assist in gunnery and transferred to the Officers Aviation School in 1911, where he earned his military pilot's license and built his first glider.

Certain that in future wars the air would be controlled by the most maneuverable aircraft, Nesterov decided to master his aircraft, to make it do everything the pilot commanded. Nesterov believed that an aircraft could fly a loop, a feat not previously performed. A maneuver like this would enable a pilot who was being pursued to immediately turn the tables on his pursuer and be on his tail.

Despite the doubts of his peers, Nesterov proved his theory on 9 September 1913 ) and became the first pilot to fly a loop. This was done in a Nieuport IV monoplane with a 70 hp Gnome engine over Syretzk Aerodrome near Kiev, before many watchers. He was then disciplined with ten days close arrest for risking government property.

The whole world soon learned of “Nesterov’s loop,” dubbed by the newspapers as the “dead man’s noose.” Congratulatory telegrams flowed in, journalists dogged him requesting an interview, and Nesterov repeated his experiment, showing that the first success was no accident.

The event was described in the newspapers as follows: “Kiev. Sensation at the Local Aerodrome. The military pilot Nesterov managed to execute an astounding somersault in the air. In the presence of a large audience and many military fliers, Nesterov took his Nieuport to a height of 1000 meters, turned his motor off and began to descend steeply, almost vertically… Lunging with gigantic velocity to 600 meters, Nesterov again started his motor, dashed upward and made a circuit in the vertical plane. The public gasped. At one point the aviator's wheels pointed upward and the pilot was head down. But at the next instant, the airplane assumed a normal position and descended smoothly to the aerodrome. Nesterov was given a thundering ovation. According to the pilot, he didn’t even feel a rush of blood to the head.”

His achievement made him famous overnight and the punishment was reversed and he was promoted to staff captain and later awarded a medal. He founded the practice of aerobatics, stressing the value of these exercises for a military pilot. Nesterov improved the flight methods and designed new flight models without rudders.

The First World War gave Nesterov the opportunity to test his air war theories in practice. With the rank of staff captain, Nesterov was able to take part in several aerial bombardments, a very new ploy which proved so successful that Austrian commanders put up a reward for anyone who could take down his plane.

Aircraft were unarmed at this early stage, and Nesterov became the first pilot to destroy an enemy airplane in flight in the history of military aviation. On 26 August, 1914 he rammed an Austrian reconnaissance Albatros heavy biplane of Baron Friedrich von Rosenthal, which had flown virtually unchallenged over the staff quarters of the Russian Third Army near Lvov. When Nesterov flew to intercept the Albatros the pilot must have been quite astonished as planes were unarmed at that time and no aerial combat tactics yet existed. Pilots would identify their foes by the distinguishing marks on their wings and fuselage and then simply try to beat their opponent at some tactical maneuver. Satisfied to “win on points,” they would simply fly away, without finishing off the defeated. After all, there weren’t many ways to finish anyone off as they had no weapons. Nesterov flew his Morane-Saulnier to take position above and behind his opponent and then dived violently, shearing off the biplanes wing with his landing gear. It transpires that his propeller also collided with the Austrian and both planes plummeted out of the sky, killing all the occupants.

Nesterov was buried in Kiev with full military honours. His ramming method was used during the Second World War by a number of Soviet pilots with success but not without loss of life. The air-combat technique of ramming Nesterov pioneered became known in Russian as "Taran".

In honor of Nesterov the Soviet Union established the Nesterov's cup for the best aerobatics crew. The cup was donated to the International Aeronautics Federation in 1962. It is awarded to the Men's World Team Champions of the World Aerobatic Championships .
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:13 AM   #36
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Feb 28, 1927 - Sir John A. Swire, CBE



Sir John Anthony Swire - British aviation mogul and great great grandson of John Swire who founded the company Swire and Sons back in 1816.

The 5th John Swire to head his family's business empire, John Anthony Swire is son of John "Jock" Swire who purchased the struggling Cathay Pacific Airways and turned it into one of the world's greatest airlines.

In 1948, Jock Swire persuaded his directors to expend yet more of the firm's greatly depleted capital on another air venture: a 45% shareholding in Cathay Pacific Airways. The airline had been formed just two years earlier by an American-Australian partnership, Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow, who had met while flying cargo-laden C47s over 'the Hump' - the famous wartime supply route across the Himalayas from India into China. Beginning with Betsy, a US Amy surplus DC3 (Dakota), purchased by Roy, in two years they had enlarged their fleet to six DC3s and a Catalina flying boat.

By 1948, however, Roy and Syd were in trouble. In need of cash to revamp their shoestring operation, they faced the threat of a hostile local takeover bid, and the possibility that their wings would be clipped by new landing right restrictions on foreign-owned airlines in Hong Kong. It was at this point that Butterfield & Swire stepped into the picture to take a controlling interest in the little company, and the growth of Hong Kong's airline was to become Jock Swire's special pride.

The Swire group also channelled part of Taikoo Dockyard's rehabilitation energies into developing an aircraft engineering facility at Kai Tak Airfield. By 1950, Pacific Air Maintenance Services (PAMAS) had merged with the rival Jardine Air Maintenance Co. and had evolved into the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO) - today a world-renowned facility. This was a shrewd development as the company held a monopoly on aircraft maintenance for the colony

Sir John oversaw the major expansion of Cathay Pacific as well as a diversification of his familiy's interests (which allegedly began in the opium trade of the 1860's) to oversee such activities such as property, including more than 1.7m acres of agricultural land in Australia, franchises for bottling Coca-Cola, aircraft maintenance and overhaul facilities, and industrial and shipping operations.

Like his father before him, Sir John was educated at Eton and Oxford. He seved in the Irish Guards in Palestine before joining the family business Swire and Sons in 1950. He assumed chairmanship of the group in 1966 and held it until he retired in 1987. He remains a Life President and a patron of the University of Hong Kong. He holds numerous honorary degrees and was knighted in 1977.
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:30 AM   #37
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Feb 29, 1936 - Jack Lousma



Jack Robert Lousma was born and educated in Michigan, with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He became an officer in the USMC in 1959 and earned his pilot's wings in 1960. He served as a reconnaissance pilot with VMCJ-2, 2nd Marine Air Wing, at Cherry Point, North Carolina, before being assigned to Houston and the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. He was then assigned to VMA-224, 2nd Marine Air Wing, as an attack pilot and later served with VMA-224, 1st Marine Air Wing, at Iwakuni, Japan. He has logged 7000 hours of flight time--including 1619 hours in space, 4,500 hours in jet aircraft, 240 hours in helicopters, and 700 hours in general aviation aircraft.

He was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 9, 10, and 13 missions. He was the pilot for Skylab-3 (July 28 to September 25, 1973) and was commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1982 when it first used the remote manipulator system grappling arm. Lousma spent 11 hours on two spacewalks outside the Skylab space station.

Among his numerous awards and decorations, he was the recipient of the Collier Trophy for 1973, presented to those who have made "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:58 AM   #38
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Re: Today's Birthday...

March1, 1924 - Donald "Deke" Slayton



Donald Kent Slayton entered the USAF as a cadet in 1942 . He trained as a B-26 pilot and flew 56 combat missions with the 319th Bomb group over Europe during World War II. After the war, Slayton earned a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

Slayton became one of the NACA test pilots at Edwards AFB in the California Desert. He would test a number of supersonic USAF fighters, including the F-101, F-102, F-105, and F-106.

Whilst a US Air Force pilot, he was chosen as one of the original seven American Astronauts in 1959. Slayton was scheduled to fly in 1962 on the second orbital flight, but due to an erratic heart rate, he was grounded. Slayton was the only member of the Mercury Seven who did not fly on the Mercury program, and in fact would fly in space on the final mission of the Apollo spacecraft.

When NASA grounded him, the Air Force followed suit. Slayton resigned his Air Force commission in 1963 and worked for NASA in a civilian capacity as head of Astronaut selection. He had the decisive role of choosing the crews for the Gemini and Apollo programs, including the decision of who would be the first person on the moon.

He was restored to full flight status in 1972, when he was selected as docking module pilot for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. On July 17, 1975, the two craft joined up in orbit, and astronauts Slayton, Thomas Stafford and Vance D. Brand conducted crew transfers with cosmonauts Aleksey A. Leonov and Valeriy Kubasov. He was the oldest person to fly into space at the time.

He subsequently went on to be involved in the Space Shuttle program before retiring. He died of a brain tumor in 1993.



Mar 1, 1935 - Robert Conrad



Born Konrad Robert Falkowski, Conrad would make legendary on television the exploits of Maj. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington whom he played in the 1970's series "Baa Baa Blacksheep".
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:51 AM   #39
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Well it's about time Doc! Those of us who are used to our daily dose of History were beginning to get a bit antsy.
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:54 PM   #40
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Re: Today's Birthday...

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Originally Posted by Eherran View Post
Well it's about time Doc! Those of us who are used to our daily dose of History were beginning to get a bit antsy.
Sorry 'boot that - recovering from a little minor surgery and was off-air for 48hrs.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:51 PM   #41
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Re: Today's Birthday...

March 2, 1969 - Concorde

The "birth" of Concorde as an operating aircraft occurred with its maiden flight on March 2, 1969.



Concorde prototype 001, registered as F-WTSS, was now packed with ten tons of test instruments. Its first flight from Toulouse had been delayed for several days due to bad weather. At 15:40 hrs, captained by chief test pilot Andre Turcat, Concorde 001 started its first take off run, with afterburners lit, the four Olympus 593 engines briskly accelerated the aircraft, and after 4,700 feet of runway and at a speed of 205 knots captain Turcat, flying manually throughout, rotated 001. The aircraft climbed steeply away accompanied by two chase aircraft, one taking film and the other to serve the calibration of Concorde's airspeed indication systems. For this historic flight the landing gear was left in the down position and the "droop-snoot" nose left lowered. Accompanying Andre Turcat that day was copilot Jaques Guignard, and engineer observers Henri Perrier and Michel Retif. At 16:08 hrs Concorde 001 made a perfect landing.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:22 AM   #42
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Re: Today's Birthday...

March 3, 1887 - Lincoln Beachey



"Lincoln Beachey was the most famous "household name" in the USA in the years before WW I. His occupation was a spectacularly exciting, glamorous and heroic one during that period of our history. Beechey had fame. Beachey had the "babes". Beechey had the admiration of an entire nation. In current terms, Beachey was the "major rock star" of his time, and huge crowds flocked to see him defy death. Dozens of men in his occupation died trying to equal Beechey's skill and heroics. There was only one man of Lincoln Beechey's ability. He was truly in a class by himself".


During the pre-war years, America's imagination was captured by the death-defyingly dangerous (frequently lethal) exploits of the first "aviating exhibitionists" - one daredevil was was so far above the rest that one-quarter of the American public went to see him during his short carreer. That man was Lincoln Beachey.

Lincoln Beachey’s impact on aviation and air showmanship was enormous. He was the first man to fly upside down, the first in America to perform an inside loop (Nov 18, 1913), the first man to tail-slide on purpose, and the first to figure out how to recover from a spin. He was the first to fly inside a building, the first to pick up a handkerchief from the ground with his wingtip, and once even dressed as a woman to dance “her” biplane wheels across cartops and cobblestones in downtown Chicago. Beachey went on to perform such feats as flying over Niagara Falls and under the International Bridge. He is also credited with the first flight in Puerto Rico and as the first to fly over Washington DC, finishing that flight with a landing on the White House Lawn.

He performed for the largest audiences in the history of the United States. At a time when the U.S. population was 76 million, 17 million people saw him in one 30-week period. He made more than the national average annual income every day that he performed. The United States Congress adjourned twice from formal sessions, in 1906 and 1914, to watch him fly. Beachey’s many contributions to the industry back in the first decade of powered flight are still seen today in the techniques and maneuvers employed by air show pilots the world over.

Beachey came from a humble background. His father was a blinded soldier from the Union Army. Lincoln and his brother, Hillery, worked from a young age to support his family. He was swept along by the new technology of flight and was already a balloonist by the time the Wright Bros were aloft at Kitty Hawk.

By 1905, Lincoln and Hillery Beachey were working full time in aviation, assisting with and operating airships and captive gas balloons, and by 1907, "The Year of The Airships," Lincoln had become one of the most well known and most successful airship aeronauts in the U.S. One of his flights was observed by a small group which included Wilbur and Orville Wright, whom he met.

The 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet, was the turning point for Beachey and he transitioned to winged aeroplanes. By 1911, he was famous throughout the U.S. as an aviator, flying over Niagara Falls and then, less than a month later, breaking the world's record for altitude at the great Chicago International Aviation Meet. He commanded a significant fee for his exhibitions of flight. His successes and escapes from what seemed to be certain death continued into 1912, as did his fame and status as one one the most accomplished aviators in the U.S. Lincoln Beachey was regarded as one of the greatest of the period's aviators at the time he abruptly retired, deeply saddened and feeling trapped by his success. He returned to flying in 1913 but was affected by the deaths of many of his flying friends.

The exhibition season of 1914 belonged to Beachey. He was the first aviator in the U.S. to loop an aeroplane, and he did so over 1,000 times between November 1913 and November 1914. His races with legendary race car driver Barney Oldfield drew tremendous crowds, thunderous applause and over $250,000 in receipts. In the U.S., 1914 and Beachey marked the high point of exhibition flying, while in Europe, war, on the ground and in the air, put a temporary end to civilian flying

On March 14, 1915 (just 11 days after his 28th birthday) - Beachey met his end whilst performing an aerial show at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, when pulling out of a dive from 3,500' over San Francisco Bay, the wings of his airplane broke away. Beachey survived the crash, but was trapped in the wreckage and drowned.

There is no doubt that he was one of the greatest aviators of his day and of all time. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1966.
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Old 03-04-2008, 07:43 AM   #43
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Re: Today's Birthday...

March 4, 1896 - Malcolm Charles McGregor



Renowned as a First World War flying ace, ‘Mac’ McGregor helped establish civil aviation in New Zealand.

As a 20-year-old, McGregor sailed for England to join the war effort in 1916. After three months of advanced training with the Royal Flying Corps, he was posted as a fighter pilot to No 54 Squadron in France. On 29 June 1917, his operational flying was cut short by injuries sustained in a crash landing. After recovering in England, he served as a flying instructor. He found these duties frustrating, however, and in March 1918 he was reprimanded for allegedly performing stunts.

He returned to France in May that year, now with No 85 Squadron of the recently established Royal Air Force. Flying SE5a fighters throughout the final offensives of the war, McGregor was promoted to captain in June, and given command of his own flight. H e sonn became an ace with 11 victories (he was was credited with downing 10 enemy aircraft and an observation balloon). A recommendation for the Distinguished Flying Cross in August 1918 described him as 'a pilot of exceptional, even extraordinary skill' and 'a clever leader, full of resource and dash'. He was awarded the DFC and bar. and

The war over, McGregor returned to New Zealand in August 1919 and began farming. Times were tough as he tried to raise a young family as a farmer and drover.

Flying remained McGregor's passion. He was a founding member of the New Zealand Air Force in 1923 and regularly attended its refresher courses over the following years. In September 1930 he was promoted to squadron leader and appointed commanding officer of No 2 (Bomber) Squadron. He was granted a commercial pilot's licence in April 1929, and formed Hamilton Airways with one de Havilland Gipsy Moth, which toured the country the following year; two other Moths were acquired later. Many New Zealanders gained their first experience of flying through a joyride with the company.

Numerous short-lived aviation ventures followed before McGregor secured regular employment as chief flying instructor to the Manawatu Aero Club in 1932. Another flying accident resulted in a lengthy hospitalisation after he crashed during a competition in which pilots had to burst hydrogen balloons with their propellers.

After his recovery he participated in the 1934 London-Melbourne centenary air race. With navigator H. C. Walker, McGregor flew a standard, single-engined Miles Hawk Major into fifth place and in the process broke two light-plane records.

Shortly afterwards McGregor became service manager with the newly formed Union Airways of New Zealand. He travelled to the United States and Britain in 1935 to investigate airline operations and equipment, and recommended that the company order de Havilland DH86 airliners. Union Airways commenced services from its Palmerston North base in January 1936, but McGregor was destined to enjoy little of its subsequent success.

On 19 February,1936, while approaching Wellington's Rongotai aerodrome in wretched weather conditions, McGregor's Miles Falcon Major monoplane collided with the anemometer mast and crashed. He died of his injuries at Wellington Hospital two hours later. His sole passenger, C. W. F. (Bill) Hamilton (who later achieved international recognition for developing the jet boat), survived with minor abrasions.

Six feet three inches tall, of lean build, with fair hair and blue eyes, Mac McGregor was perhaps the best-known display pilot of his time in New Zealand; he possessed an exceptional technical knowledge of aviation. His popularity was demonstrated by the extraordinary response to a national appeal launched immediately after his death, which raised over £5,000 to support his widow and their four young children.
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Old 03-05-2008, 05:30 AM   #44
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Re: Today's Birthday...

March 5, 1931 - Geraldine "Jerrie" Cobb




Born March 5, 1931: Jerrie Cobb, pilot, first woman to qualify as an American astronaut.


Learned to fly at 12, earned her pilot's license at 16, and received her commercial and flight instructor's license at 18.

In 1952 she became the only female international ferry pilot in the United States.

As chief pilot for Fleetway, she flew over wild terrain and mountains, once being arrested as a spy after a forced landing in South America.

In 1960, Cobb was one of 25 women secretly recruited by NASA for evaluation for the Mercury space program, qualifying better than John Glenn. In fact 13 women passed the testing but none of them went on to become astronauts. Four of them had logged more flying time than any of the 7 men chosen.

Passed the same 87 physical and psychological tests administered to military pilots for the selection of the seven male astronauts; in fact her results were considered "extraordinary." At the time, At the time, Cobb had already flown 64 types of aircraft, including a jet fighter. She had set records for speed, distance and absolute altitude.

No women were chosen although many, including Cobb, surpassed the "Right Stuff" guys who were chosen. The women's program was killed by Lyndon B. Johnson. NASA officials admitted many years later in a Congressional hearing they had "no intentions" of letting women into space.

In 1973, astronaut Jim Lovell infamously said "We've never sent any woman into space because we haven't had a good reason to. We fully envision, however, that in the near future, we will fly women into space and use them the same way we use them on Earth -- and for the same purpose."

J.C. is one of the four Americans to hold the Golden Wings of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale and was chosen pilot of the year for 1959 by the National Pilot's association.

She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her piloting of medical supplies in South America.
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Old 03-06-2008, 09:27 AM   #45
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Re: Today's Birthday...

March 6, 1887 - Reuben Fleet



Founder of Consolidated Aircraft - manufacturer of the Catalina

Reuben Hollis Fleet graduated from the Culver Military Academy in 1906. He then formed a successful real estate business and became a state legislator.

He was called to active duty in early 1917 to attend aviation training at the army aviation school in San Diego. Upon receiving his pilots wings as military aviator No. 74, Capt. Reuben Fleet was assigned to Air Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to plan and supervise aircrew training. In testimony to his fine staff work, this program trained nearly 11,000 pilots by November 1918. During his duty in Washington, Major Fleet was given the task of establishing the first U.S. Air Mail from Washington to New York. Within six days, he had assembled the necessary modified Curtiss JN-4's and the service was inaugurated on May 15, 1918.

In 1922 Major Fleet left the Army and, acquiring the assets and engineering talents of Gallaudet Aircraft Corporation and the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company, a year later founded Consolidated Aircraft in Buffalo, N.Y.

In a leased factory, the new company developed a successful series of training planes in which literally every military pilot learned to fly during the next decade. It was, however, the great flying boats developed by Fleet and the Consolidated team in 1929, which made his company an industrial giant—the Admiral Patrol Bombers for the U.S. Navy and the commercial Commodore Flying Boats for Pan American Airways. Large contracts from the Navy for Seaplane Patrol Bombers required a larger factory and year round test flight capability. With typical Fleet determination and courage, he elected to move his entire company to San Diego, California.

In the spring of 1935, in a move unprecedented in industry, he transferred his entire Consolidated operation in 157 freight cars of machinery and materials as well as 411 employees and families to the newly constructed factory in San Diego.

Times at first were lean, but in the arms buildup for World War II Consolidated prospered, selling seaplanes and Liberator bombers to the U.S. government and its Allies. The firm's employment in San Diego reached a peak of 41,000 in 1943. Hordes of people migrated here from the south and midwest to find jobs at Consolidated, and the term "Rosie the Riveter" was coined there.

Consolidated was the parent of Convair, later a Division of General Dynamics Corp.

Today, the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center in Balboa Park is one of the world's finest planetariums and remains an enduring gift to the social fabric of San Diego from the Fleet family. RH Fleet died in October, 1975.



March 6, 1913 - Aleksandr Ivanovich Pokryshkin



Pokryshkin was the great tactician of the Soviet Air Force during the Second World War.

He almost singlehandedly fought to change the obsolete Soviet tactics that were in place in 1941 when the war started. Going against the establishment and openly defying the party-approved combat doctrine almost cost him his career and possibly his life. After openly criticizing the official tactics that led to huge losses and teaching his fellow pilots new tactics he invented himself, he was grounded and scheduled to be court martialed. However the word of his inventions reached some superiors in Moscow, and instead of a court martial Pokryshkin was awarded and promoted. By the end of the war, his writings had been published and distributed to all Soviet pilots, and he toured fighter regiments extensively lecturing young pilots on his techniques.

His early victories were scored inthe MiG 3 fighter but later he and his unit flew Bell P-39 Aerocobras and P-63 Kingcobras (although this was kept secret by the authorities). He lost favour with his superiors because he preferred flying these aircraft to planes of Russian manufacture. He notched up 65 kills flying on the Eastern Front, despite being relegated to desk duties for much of the last year of the war.

He was eventually promoted to Air General after Stalin's death but his frank honesty and refusal to follow political dictates saw him looked over for promotion many times during his post-war career. Pokryshkin was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union for the third time. He was the first person ever to receive the award three times, and he is the only Soviet soldier to be awarded this during wartime. He died in 1985.



March 6, 1937 - Valentina Tereshkova



Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was the first woman to fly in space, aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. She orbited the earth 48 times and spent almost three days in space. With a single flight, she logged more flight time than the combined times of all American astronauts to that date. It would be 19 years before the next female cosmonaut would fly into space, and 20 before the USA would send Sally K. Ride to be the first American female to earn her astronauts wings.
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