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Cajun76
07-19-2007, 09:46 AM
On this day in 1963: Test pilot Joe Walker takes an X-15 aircraft to an altitude of 67 miles (106 kilometers), becoming the only pilot to surpass the 100-kilometer barrier in a rocket plane until Mike Melvill, piloting SpaceShipOne, duplicates the feat in 2004.

Walker, who flew P-38 Lightnings during World War II, became a test pilot in the early '50s and gained experience in a variety of research aircraft, including the Bell X-1, X-5 and Douglas X-3, which he said was the worst plane he ever flew. But he made his name flying North American Aviation's X-15.

Walker made his first X-15 flight in 1960 and was completely surprised by the plane's power, hollering, "Oh my God!" as the afterburners kicked in (and eliciting a joking, "Yes? You called?" from a ground controller). But he would go on to make 24 flights in the X-15, including the memorable July 19 ascent, known as Flight 90.

Breaking the 100-kilometer barrier also meant penetrating the threshold of space, so the flight qualified Walker as an astronaut. When he repeated the feat a month later, he became the first person to enter space twice.

Walker also recorded the fastest speed ever reached in an X-15: On June 27, 1962, he hit 4,104 mph, or Mach 5.92.

Walker was killed in 1966 when the F-104 Starfighter he was piloting collided with a prototype XB-70 Valkyrie high-level bomber while flying in tight formation above Barstow, California.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/07/dayintech_0719

Cajun76
07-19-2007, 09:46 AM
On this day in 1963: Test pilot Joe Walker takes an X-15 aircraft to an altitude of 67 miles (106 kilometers), becoming the only pilot to surpass the 100-kilometer barrier in a rocket plane until Mike Melvill, piloting SpaceShipOne, duplicates the feat in 2004.

Walker, who flew P-38 Lightnings during World War II, became a test pilot in the early '50s and gained experience in a variety of research aircraft, including the Bell X-1, X-5 and Douglas X-3, which he said was the worst plane he ever flew. But he made his name flying North American Aviation's X-15.

Walker made his first X-15 flight in 1960 and was completely surprised by the plane's power, hollering, "Oh my God!" as the afterburners kicked in (and eliciting a joking, "Yes? You called?" from a ground controller). But he would go on to make 24 flights in the X-15, including the memorable July 19 ascent, known as Flight 90.

Breaking the 100-kilometer barrier also meant penetrating the threshold of space, so the flight qualified Walker as an astronaut. When he repeated the feat a month later, he became the first person to enter space twice.

Walker also recorded the fastest speed ever reached in an X-15: On June 27, 1962, he hit 4,104 mph, or Mach 5.92.

Walker was killed in 1966 when the F-104 Starfighter he was piloting collided with a prototype XB-70 Valkyrie high-level bomber while flying in tight formation above Barstow, California.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/07/dayintech_0719

WhtBoy
07-19-2007, 01:42 PM
Those were the days, when sex was fun and flying was dangerous.

Just for the record though, IIRC, the X-15 was solely rocket powered, therefore no afterburners.

--Outlaw.

Viper2005_
07-19-2007, 02:50 PM
Actually Pete Knight reached 4520 mph/Mach 6.7 on the 3rd of October 1967 during flight #188.

As has already been pointed out, X-15 was rocket powered and there was therefore no afterburner involved. I suppose this would technically constitute a supercruise capability, albeit one totally at odds with the spirit of the concept!

Otherwise you are correct.

See:

http://history.nasa.gov/monograph18.pdf

~57,000 lbf attached to a 30,000 lb (and rapidly decreasing!) vehicle must have been somewhere between awesome and terrifying...

Choctaw111
07-19-2007, 04:57 PM
The Valkyrie was some flying machine and one of only two built I believe. Walker collided with the Valkyrie due to what they think was an abnormal wind pattern (a kind of vortice) caused by the unique shape of the Valkyries wings. He flew into the vortice that, at the time, no one knew about. His plane got sucked into the vortice and into the Valkyrie.