of the week
08:11:12 - 09:01:12
08:11:12 -- PICTURES OF THE WEEK: From 1952, The Bristol Type 173 prototype dual-rotor transport. Manufactured by the storied Bristol Aeroplane Company of Filton, England, the 14-passenger Type 173 was intended to be a civilian transport with a top speed of 164 mph and a range of 188 miles for regularly scheduled inter-city commercial passenger flight as well as feeder flights to and from smaller airports to larger hubs. Its dual-engine design included the capability to drive both rotors from a single engine should one engine fail. Though the 55-foot long Type 173 never actually entered commercial service the design eventually morphed into the Bristol Type 191 Belvedere, employed by the Royal Air Force as a troop transport from 1961 to 1969.
08:18:12 -- PICTURES OF THE WEEK: Top picture from 1952, showing Joseph A. Walker, Stanley P. Butchart and Walter P. Jones, standing in front of the Douglas D-558-II Skystreak. The three men were test pilots at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Research Station.
For fifteen years Walker served as a pilot at the Edwards flight research facility (today known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Dryden Flight Research Center) on research flights as well as chase missions for other pilots on NASA and Air Force research programs. The second picture shows him with the Bell X-1A which he flew for NACA on July 20, 1955. A second attempt was aborted that August when, as it was attached to the "mothership" in flight, an explosion damaged the aircraft just before its launch. Walker, unhurt, climbed back into the mothership, and the X-1A was jettisoned over the Edwards AFB bombing range. In 1964 Walker became the pilot for the testing of the Lunar Lander Research Vehicle (LLRV) shown in flight in 1965 in the third picture. On June 8, 1966, he was flying chase in NASA's F-104N for the Air Force's experimental bomber, North American XB-70A, when he was fatally injured in a mid-air collision between the planes.
Butchart would serve first NACA and then NASA for decades, including as first pilot for the "Aero Spacelines" Pregnant Guppy in 1962, picture number four above, used to ferry cargo for the Apollo moon program. He retired from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, on February 27, 1976, after a 25-year career in research aviation. He had served as a research pilot, chief pilot, and director of flight operations.
Jones was a research pilot for NACA from the fall of 1950 to July 1952. He had entered the Army Air Forces on December 8, 1942, and served until August 18, 1946. He earned bachelor and masters of science degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University.
In July 1952, Jones left NACA's High-Speed Flight Research Station to join Northrop Corporation as a test pilot. Returning from a test mission in a Northrop YF-89D Scorpion he was fatally injured on October 20, 1953, near Edwards Air Force Base.
The fifth -- and last -- of the pictures above shows debris still remaining at the impact site of Walker's crash. He was 29 years old on the day of his death.
Neil Alden Armstrong, August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012
09:01:12 -- PICTURES OF THE WEEK: Top, a Convair B-36 Peacemaker in flight. In August 1950 Convair issued a formal proposal for a swept-winged version of the B-36 with all-jet propulsion. On March 15, 1951, the Air Force authorized Convair to convert two B-36Fs, giving them the new designation of B-36G. Although the G was similar to the basic B-36, there was substantial reengineering needed, amongst which was a completely new 37-degree swept wing, and the designation was eventually changed to YB-60 (bottom seven pictures). The first flight of the Convair YB-60 took place on April 18, 1952, and performance was better than the B-36, but could not match the performance of the Boeing XB-52 -- the prototype for which had first been test-flown just three days earlier. The YB-60 never entered production. The second prototype aircraft was never completely finished, and both YB-60s were scrapped in the mid-1950s.
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