Tex Johnston Jet Age Test Pilot (Bantam 055329587X)
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Specifications Book Format Hardcover.
Customer Reviews. Write a review. See any care plans, options and policies that may be associated with this product. The barrel roll over Lake Washington was "a defining moment in the success" of air travel, he said, and Boeing getting a jump on the competition, adding:. It probably was a bit of recklessness. The good thing was, it worked. Tex Johnston was reportedly a model for the Stetson-wearing B pilot J. A tip of the Stetson to author Sam Howe Verhovek, summoned off the golf course in Chelan to share his knowledge.
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Now, at age 75, he's finally breaking the self-imposed silence in his memoirs. But he responds to several questions about the incident during an interview in the small office in his home.
There is a wooden model of the at his elbow, and the walls are covered with photographs of his days as a test pilot and big-game hunter. I still get 10 to 15 letters a week from people wanting to know about it. Most of them want photographs.
Tex Johnston: Jet-Age Test Pilot by A.M. Johnston
But Johnston does not deny that he knew exactly what he was going to do that day. He knew the limits of both man and machine and made two carefully calculated maneuvers. There was nothing spontaneous about it. He just didn't bother to inform the front office beforehand.
Allen refused to discuss the subject in interviews for years. Finally, in - 15 years after the barrel-roll incident - he broke his silence, telling how he felt that day. Allen said that when Johnston performed the first barrel roll, he thought it was a mistake, that something had gone wrong.
When he saw Johnston do the second barrel roll, Allen said, he thought the test pilot had either lost his mind or the aircraft was in serious difficulty.
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He said he turned to Larry Bell of Bell Aircraft, who had a heart condition that required regular medication, and said:. Allen said he called Johnston into the office the next morning and asked why he had done it. He said Johnston told him he had absolute faith in the airplane and that the barrel roll, while sensational from the ground, had been well within the limits of the aircraft. Responding to Allen's comments now, Johnston says there was never any danger to the fans below.
According to Johnston, the time spent writing the book was more difficult than performing aerial stunts or hunting big game. Johnston says he tells, in the book, how he fell in love with flying as a boy in Kansas, taking lessons in high school and flying and learning to fix airplanes while earning a degree in engineering from Kansas State University. He barnstormed for a time with Inman Brothers Flying Circus, performing acrobatics in open-cockpit biplanes while a stuntman walked on the wings and hung from inner tubes slung over the wheels.
As this country geared up for World War II, Johnston ferried airplanes to various military bases around the country. In , he signed on with Bell Aircraft of Buffalo, N. Bell asked Johnston to help correct a deadly problem - wings falling off its P fighter planes when student pilots engaged in simulated dogfights.
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He found the fatal flaw by pushing the airplane close to - but never beyond - its limits. When this country got hold of two German Focke-Wulf s that had cracked up and been rebuilt, Johnston was asked to test them - to see what the Germans had discovered about combat aircraft that would help U.