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Consolidated Vultee XP-81

XF-81 Featured Image

Seventy-one years ago this week, the Consolidated Vultee XP-81 made its flight test debut at Muroc Army Air Field, California with Vultee test pilot Frank Davis in the cockpit. The XP-81 was a prototype long range escort fighter powered by a combination of single turbojet and single turboprop engines. The… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

YF-16 First Flight

YF-16 Featured Image

Forty-two years ago this week, the USAF/General Dynamics YF-16 Lightweight Fighter (LWF) took to the air on its first official flight with General Dynamics test pilot Phil Oestricher at the controls. The YF-16 would go on to win the Air Combat Fighter competition following a head-to-head fly-off with Northrop’s YF-17… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

We Remember

Challenger Seven Featured Image

Thirty years ago today, the seven member crew of STS-51L were killed when the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch from LC-39B at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The tragedy was the first fatal in-flight mishap in the history of American manned spaceflight. In remarks made at a memorial service… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

Fire in the Cockpit

Apollo 204 Featured Image

Forty-nine years ago today, the Apollo 204 prime crew perished as fire swept through their Apollo Block I Command Module (CM). The Apollo 204 crew of Command Pilot Vigil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee had been scheduled to make the first… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

Gemini-Titan 2

GT-2 Featured Image

Fifty-one years ago to the day, NASA successfully completed the unmanned Gemini-Titan 2 (GT-2) space mission. The suborbital spaceflight served as a final test that cleared the way for the first manned Gemini orbital mission (GT-3) flown several months later. The Gemini Program was America’s second manned space project. Gemini… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

One Amazing Tail

Amazing Tail Featured Image_filtered

Fifty-two years ago this week, a USAF/Boeing B-52H Stratofortress landed safely following structual failure of its vertical tail during an encounter with unusually severe clear air turbulence. The harrowing incident occurred as the aircraft was undergoing structural flight testing in the skies over East Spanish Peak, Colorado. Turbulence is the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Supersonic One-Upmanship

XS-1 Ground Take-Off Featured Image

Sixty-seven years ago today, the USAF/Bell XS-1 became the first aircraft of any type to achieve supersonic flight during a climb from a ground take-off. The daring feat took place at Muroc Air Force Base with USAF Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager at the controls of the rocket-powered XS-1. Rocket-powered… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Saving Apollo

Apollo 8 Featured Image

Forty-seven years ago this month, three American astronauts became the first men to orbit the Earth’s Moon during the flight of Apollo 8. This epic mission also featured the first manned flight of the mighty Saturn V launch vehicle as well as history’s first superorbital entry of a manned spacecraft.… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

2 Weeks in a Phone Booth

Gemini 7 Featured Image

Fifty years ago this month, Gemini 7 set a new record for long-duration manned spaceflight. The official lift-off-to-splashdown flight duration was 330 hours, 35 minutes and 1 second or nearly fourteen days. Project Gemini was the critical bridge between America’s fledgling manned spaceflight effort – Project Mercury – and the… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Starfighter World Altitude Record

F-104C Zoom Featured Image_filtered

Fifty-six years ago today, USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan zoomed a modified USAF/Lockheed F-104C Starfighter to a world altitude record of 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level. The flight originated from and recovered to the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base, California. On Tuesday, 14… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History