On This Date

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Oct. 23, 1963: The first F-4C Phantom II was ferried to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for Category II performance tests. The F-4C was the Air Force version of the Navy F-4B interceptor. It was modified with a cartridge-pneumatic starter system, receptacle aerial refueling system, and larger wheels to make it into an all-weather fighter and attack bomber for the Tactical Air Command.
 
 
 
 
 

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Oct. 23, 1968: Maj. Jerauld Gentry attempted the first rocket-powered flight of a manned lifting body. The XLR-11 rocket motor failed shortly after the HL-10 was launched from its B-52 carrier, and Gentry made a successful emergency landing on the Rosamond Dry Lake bed.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 24, 1953: The first flight of the YF-102 Delta Dagger all-weather interceptor took place, flown by Richard L. Johnson.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 24, 1968: The X-15 made its final flight, piloted by Bill Dana. In 199 flights, the hypersonic aircraft completed one of the most successful space and atmospheric research programs to date.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 25, 1961: An uninhabited B-58 crew escape capsule built by the Stanley Aviation Corporation was successfully ejected for the first time. The B-58 was traveling at 431 mph at 20,000 feet.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 26, 1951: The B-47B Stratojet (#006) arrived at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The pilots at Edwards in this aircraft included Brig. Gen. Al Boyd, Col. Fred J. Ascani, Lt. Col. Frank E. “Pete” Everest, Maj. Robert Mortland, Maj. Jack Ridley, Maj. Chuck Yeager, and Capt. Joseph E. Wolfe.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 26, 1977: His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales, visited Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to view the final free flight of the Enterprise.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 27, 1961: NASA successfully tested the Saturn 1 rocket — the test vehicle that paved the way for the development of the Saturn V that carried American astronauts to the Moon.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 27, 1962: Maj. Rudolf Anderson Jr. was shot down and killed over Cuba during the October 1962 crisis. He was flying a U-2 from McCoy Air Force Base, Fla., and was brought down by a Soviet SA-2 missile. Anderson was posthumously awarded the first Air Force Cross, which had been created in 1960. Anderson and other Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command pilots provided pictures that gave U.S. leaders crucial information and proved to the world that offensive nuclear missiles were being placed in Cuba.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 27, 1999: Years of developmental testing of the C-141 Starlifter transport came to an end when the final test aircraft departed the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for March Air Reserve Base with no plans for further flight testing.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 28, 1952: The first flight of the Douglas XA3D Skywarrior took place, piloted by George Jansen. The A3D was a twin-engine jet bomber under development by the Navy to give its aircraft carriers a strategic strike capability. The aircraft became so successful that the Air Force subsequently developed its own version, the B-66 Destroyer. This aircraft was the precursor to the A3D Skywarrior. A restored A3D is in storage and awaiting display by the Edwards Air Force Flight Test Museum.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 29, 1940: A blindfolded Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson drew the first number — 158 — from a glass bowl in America’s first peacetime military draft.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 29, 1998: Sen. John Glenn, at age 77, roared back into space aboard the shuttle Discovery, retracing the trail he’d blazed for America’s astronauts 36 years earlier.
 
 
 
 
 
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Oct. 30, 1964: Bell’s Lunar Landing Research Vehicle made its first flight, piloted by Joe Walker. The LLRV was developed by the NASA Flight Research Center to simulate a lunar landing profile for research and lunar pilot training for NASA’s Apollo program.
 
 
 

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