“The fleet of NACA test aircraft are assembled in front of the hangar at the High Speed Flight Station, (later renamed the Dryden Flight Research Center) in Edwards, California.
The white aircraft in the foreground is a Douglas Aircraft D-558-2 Skyrocket. To its left and right are North American F-86 Sabre chase aircraft. Directly behind the D-558-2 is the P2B-1 Superfortress, (the Navy version of the Air Force B-29). Also known as the “mothership,” the P2B-1 carried aloft the D-558-2 Skyrocket under its fuselage. Once reaching altitude, the D-558-2 was released from the “mothership” after which the pilot ignited its onboard rocket engine.” (via)
And at the front: Scott Crossfield
“In this NACA Muroc Flight Test Unit photograph taken in 1949, the Douglas D-558-1 is on the ramp at South Base, Edwards Air Force Base. Three members of the ground crew are seen poising against the left wing of the Skystreak. The D-558-1 was designed to be just large enough to hold the J35 turbojet engine, pilot, and instrumentation. The fuselage cross section had to be kept to a minimum. Due to this, the D-558-1 pilots found the cockpit so cramped that they could not easily turn their heads.” (via)
Total number of D-558-1 aircraft: 3
Total flights: 228 (1947-1953)
Pilots involved: 15
Aircraft lost: 1
“The X-15 ejection seat, like all other seats of the era, was tested on the rocket sled track at Edwards AFB, California. The sled test results were mixed, with many failures of both the sled and the seat for various reasons, but ultimately the Air Force, NASA, and North American were satisfied that the seat would work as advertised.”
“TWA mechanics at La Guardia Field resemble men from space after donning metal propeller hubs. 1941”
When looking back at the life of Hughes, it is easy to become lost in a mire of recollections, rumours, accusations, Leo DeCaprio - and of course that Simpsons episode..
For the World War One based Hell’s Angels, Hughes - aged just 23 - basically assembled the world’s largest private air force - approximately ninety aircraft - at a cost of around $600,000
For the scene in which the Gotha bomber (above) was shot down, Hughes insisted that the aircraft be put into a spin - with the aircrew bailing out if necessary. Daredevil pilot Al Wilson accepted, for the sum of $10,000. A mechanic named Phil Jones volunteered to be his assistant, releasing black smoke to simulate the aircraft being hit by gunfire. Jones lost his life when the aircraft fell to earth during the filming of the scene.
Two other stunt pilots died whilst involved with the movie, including Al Johnson of the legendary 13 Black Cats. Hughes himself was injured crashing a plane (allegedly whilst trying to micro-manage his stunt pilots in the air)
Annoyingly, the advent of the talking picture during production meant that Hughes had to reshoot large sections of the film with dialogue - and cast the largely unknown Jean Harlow to replace the existing female lead.
The film ended up costing Hughes a record $4 million to make. Despite a spectacular premiere and warm reviews, it is believed that the movie takings did not recoup the costs for at least a couple of decades..
English Electric Lightning F6 “XP693” Nose section being towed to the Thundercity hangar. Cape Town, 2003. This aircraft was restored and is now one of only four remaining airworthy Lightnings, all in the same collection.
(photo by Sven De Bevere)
“The Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation J-10 (traditional Chinese: 殲十; simplified Chinese: 歼十; pinyin: Jiān Shí, meaning “Annihilator (Fighter) Ten”), known in the West as the “Vigorous Dragon”
The J-10 next-generation fighter program remained unknown outside of a China until December 29 2006, when the Xinhua News Agency officially disclosed its active duty status with the PLAAF.”
more things Chinese in a few weeks
Shenyang J-8I, 1980s
“Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) at sea with good luck message on deck to crew of Stars & Stripes, American vessel competing in America’s Cup race in Australia. February 04, 1987”
(All set for the cricket, my Australian friends?)