Trip examination design at Edwards AFB in the 1960s

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Trip examination design at Edwards AFB in the 1960s

In August 1966 I was a designer with Landing as well as Recovery Division, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Clear Lake, Texas (i.e., NASA Houston). I obtained a telephone call from a friend as well as other Texas Aggie that was a young Army lieutenant meeting his ROTC armed forces commitment, appointed to the Army UH-1 Project Office. He stated the Army required a trip examination designer for helicopters at Edwards AFB, as well as he had actually placed in my name as a prospect for that trip examination setting. I informed him that was an insane suggestion, as I recognized absolutely nothing concerning trip examination design. He claimed not to stress over it– they would certainly show me.The much more I considered it, the much better I suched as the suggestion of trip examination design. It was interesting functioning for NASA Houston, I made a decision to use for the private trip examination designer setting with the United States Army Aviation Test Activity at Edwards AFB, California. My other half Jean, that was a primary education and learning instructor, concurred with me on this choice. I made an application for the setting as well as was approved.

I provided notification to NASA Houston, and also Jean provided notification to the LaPorte School District where she was a first-grade educator. We left Texas in very early September 1966 as well as made the lengthy, warm drive in our un-air conditioned MGB from Texas to Lancaster, California, the closest noncombatant community to Edwards AFB.

Ryan XV-5Ryan XV-5

Not a Valkyrie, yet the XV-5

was a distinct airplane. At Edwards, NASA and also the Air Force were flying the rapid moving companies such as the X-15, the XB-70, as well as the F-111. My brand-new company, the United States Army Aviation Test Activity, had no rapid moving companies however we did have actually a completely brought back two-place P-51 Mustang to be made use of as a chase airplane when our Navy T-28 would not hack it. As a greenie weenie, I was offered the task of minimizing information on a brand-new job, which was great with me as I required the experience. The task included the Ryan XV-5, which was a V/STOL airplane powered by twin GE J85 turbojets, with ducted followers in the wings, nose, and also tail. This permitted it to float like a helicopter and after that change to typical onward trip at a high subsonic rate. The concept was to make use of the XV-5 in search and also rescue in Vietnam, rushing to a downed air staff, floating

as well as going down an equine collar to the crewman, as well as going back to base at a much greater rate than a helicopter. Our examination pilot for the XV-5 was Air Force Major David Title, a great person. On the first proof-of idea examinations, Major Title was floating the XV-5 on the Edwards ramp at concerning 50 feet and also decreased the improvisated equine collar to replicate saving a downed air team. He incorrectly enabled a minor ahead rate to the XV-5, as well as the steed collar was consumed in one of the wing ducted followers, harming it. The XV-5 gradually came down, and also simply at influence with the ramp, Major Title started an ejection. The influence harmed the low-level ejection seat, and also it came off the rails at an angle. When he landed on the concrete ramp, the parachute covered around Major Title and also he was eliminated. The movie of the crash was awful to enjoy.

We after that got our model Bell UH-1H, which was a UH-1 Delta design with a longer tail boom to take care of the boosted torque of the up-rated Lycoming T53-L-13, with a result of 1400 shp. This rise in UH-1 Huey power was terribly required in Vietnam, with the warm environment as well as high moisture. I was appointed this task, functioning under a knowledgeable trip examination designer. My examination pilot was Chief Warrant Officer Emery Nelson, that had actually been a much-decorated Marine Corsair pilot in WWII. Emery as PIC beinged in the right-hand seat as well as I inhabited the left-hand seat on all the battle examinations, either tape-recording information by hand or running the picture panel in the cabin, recording the efficiency evaluates as well as the instrumented control setting specifications. (Can any person discuss why the PIC in rotating wing airplane inhabits the appropriate seat, while the PIC in set wing inhabits the left seat? I can not, however I assume that it has something to do with the place of the cumulative control bar on very early helicopters.)

Emery Nelson was a superb examination pilot as well as a grad of the Navy’s Pax River examination pilot college. I found out a whole lot from him as well as he allow me fly the bird every possibility we obtained (I had an exclusive set wing certificate at the time)!


The model UH-1H was checked at high elevations over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Edwards DOD Aero Club had an Air Force Beech T-34A for service. On February 12, 1967, I finished check-out of N10560, which was hangared at Edwards South Base (with U-2s as next-door neighbors). South Base was a brief area with garages a couple of miles southern of the Edwards primary path as well as tilted in the direction of it.

In order not to hinder Edwards’s primary web traffic, we would fly the website traffic pattern at 500 feet AGL. The T-34 was a gorgeous traveling as well as touchdown maker, and also a lot easier to fly than the taildraggers that I was utilized to. My logbook reveals that I had concerning 230 overall hrs during that time, as well as I, that had actually restricted airplane radio experience, was connecting with the specialist tower drivers at the primary Edwards path.

Jean and also I flew the T-34 a fair bit, however the trip I bear in mind most was to the Merced, California, Antique Airplane Fly-In. The flight terminal was unrestrained, with a mobile FAA tower on the area. A lot of the vintages during that time really did not have radios as well as my method rate in the T-34 with complete flaps was much faster than the antique airplane. I needed to make numerous go-arounds, cycling the touchdown equipment each time. I lastly obtained us on the ground, tired!

Emery Nelson and also I did a fair bit of screening on the model UH-1H, yet the one I bear in mind most was us taking the bird to its outright ceiling– around 25,000 feet! The Vne at that elevation was 60 knots, and also the pulling back blade delay was trembling the bird so hard that we can hardly check out the control panel. It was quickly time to damage it off as well as go back to base. I shed the examination record that outlined this climb to 25,000 ft.

Flight trip screening the prototype UH-1H was coming to an end and also Army military opening up competition competitors the second 2nd manufacturing of the Light Observation Helicopter (“Loach!”), with the Hughes OH-6 winning the initial manufacturing buy. Challengers were Bell, Hughes, and also Fairchild-Hiller. I was designated the Fairchild-Hiller access with their FH-1100 (YOH-5), yet F-H took out from the competitors prior to it began.

Along this time around a Bell Helicopter trip examination team from Texas saw our center for some job. We had our fellow Texans over for supper and also I delicately discussed that we would not mind returning to Texas. A number of weeks later on I got a telephone call from the elderly trip examination designer that had supper with us, and also he recommended that I send out a resume to Bell Flight Test. I did, a deal was made that I approved, which had Jean as well as me leaving California on Thanksgiving 1967 for Texas. The following early morning at our motel in Phoenix, we gained from the paper that my university, Texas A&M, defeated competing Texas 10-7 in the after that- standard Turkey Day video game to win the Southwestern Conference. Means to go, Aggies! Job ’em!

Dean was birthed in Bryan, Texas, near the A&M College of Texas. After finishing from secondary school in 1956 he employed in the Army and also was appointed to the 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, NC as an 11 Bravo Infantryman. Upon splitting up from the Army in May, 1959, he returned house and also enlisted at Texas A&M in Aeronautical Engineering after not having actually fractured a book in 3 years! He approved a setting with the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (NASA Houston) in the Landing as well as Recovery Division. He after that approved a placement as a noncombatant trip examination designer for the U.S. Army Aviation Test Activity at Edwards AFB, trip screening helicopters. From Edwards, he approved a placement as a speculative trip examination designer at Bell Helicopter, as well as from there a setting at Swearingen Aircraft, San Antonio, as trip examination designer on the Merlin III and also the Metro turboprops. He has a Commercial License with Instrument, Glider, as well as Multi-Engine Ratings as well as is a Glider Instructor. He and also his other half Jean have actually both flown competitors aerobatics, however things that he is most happy with is flying 55 children in the EAA Young Eagles program!
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