On This Date

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Aug. 7, 1951: A world speed record of Mach 1.88 was set by the Navy’s D 558 II Skyrocket piloted by Douglas test pilot William B. “Bill” Bridgeman at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
 
 
 
 

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Aug. 7, 2003: The Air Force’s Automatic Air Collision Avoidance System put two F-16s into automated maneuvers to avoid collision during a test flight. Maj. James Less, and Swedish Air Force Maj. Richard Ljungberg flew the Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA/F-16) while Maj. Scott Wierzbankowski flew a standard F-16 during the test.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 8, 1949: Air Force Maj. Frank K. “Pete” Everest flew the Bell X-1 to a peak altitude of 71,902 feet. This was the highest altitude achieved by the first generation of X-1 research aircraft.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 8, 1955: The X-1A was lost after an explosion took place while still mated to its mother ship at an altitude of 30,000 feet, just 70 seconds before launch. NACA pilot Joe Walker escaped unharmed from the cockpit, whereupon the research plane was jettisoned over the bombing range. The accident, which took place on its second mission with NACA, was caused by the reaction of an Ulmer leather gasket with liquid oxygen.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 9, 1976: The Boeing YC-14 – a twinjet short take-off and landing tactical military transport aircraft – made its first flight. It was Boeing entry into the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Medium STOL Transport completion, which aimed to replace the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The YC-14 was competing against the McDonnell Douglas YC-15. Head to head testing began at Edwards Air Force Base in November 1976. Testing ended in later summer, 1977. Two YC-14s were built and, after completion of testing, both were returned to Boeing: one is stored at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and the other is on display at the nearby Pima Air & Space Museum.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 10, 1951: North American Aviation announced that a second Air Force jet, the F-86 Sabre, had successfully completed a KB-29F mid-air refueling certification at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 10, 1961: U.S. Navy Cmdr. Forrest S. Peterson took X-15 No. 1 on its first flight with the XLR99 engine, reaching Mach 4.1 in the skies over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 11, 1956: Capt. Robert M. White made the initial flight test of a side-stick controller in an F-102A. This unique control arrangement was devised to accommodate the radar displays planned for the upcoming F-106 interceptor.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 11, 1972: The F-5E Tiger II made its first flight, flown by Northrop’s chief test pilot Hank Chouteau.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 12, 1972: The F-15A successfully passed its first flight performance milestone six weeks ahead of schedule. This milestone consisted of Mach 2 flight, and altitude and g-load targets.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 12, 1977: With Gordon Fullerton and Fred Haise at the controls, Rockwell’s OV-101 Space Shuttle Enterprise was released from a specially-configured Boeing 747 Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and made its first unpowered free flight to the Rogers Dry Lake bed. The Enterprise was a prototype, non-orbiting model of the spacecraft, built for Approach
and Landing Tests.
 
 
 
 
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Aug. 13, 1965: An AFFTC test team conducted the first Air Force handling qualities evaluation flight of the Army’s XV-5A. The XV-5A was an experimental V/STOL flight research vehicle, a mid-wing airplane powered by two J85-GE-5B non-afterburning turbo jet engines.
 
 
 

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