Bill to Break the Sound Barrier
If you were the first woman to break the sound barrier, who would you pick to fly the chase plane behind you?
Jacqueline Cochran tapped her friend, Colonel Chuck Yeager for the task for her May 18, 1953 flight. A logical decision, since he was the first pilot to break the barrier in 1947.
Here is his final bill for his expenses, including the replacement of dead chickens that stampeded when her low-flying Sabre jet flew over a ranch.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Pilot William C. Hopson of the U.S. Mail Service in Winter Flying Clothing
Regularly scheduled airmail service first began in the United States on May 15, 1918. “Wild Bill” Hopson remains one of the more colorful of the early airmail pilots. A former cab driver who survived several close calls (once landing upside down in a cornfield), he perished when his plane crashed during a storm in 1928. Check out his “Pilot Story” at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.
70 years ago on April 18, 1943, a squadron of American P-38 Lightnings intercepted and shot down a flight carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy and planner of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In an intelligence coup, U.S. Naval Intelligence had earlier decrypted Japanese transmissions detailing Yamamoto’s travel plans to the Solomon Islands. The P-38 Lightning was selected as one of the few fighter aircraft capable of making the 1000 mile roundtrip intercept mission.
The Battle of Bismarck Sea, March 2, 1943
Japanese attempts to check Allied advances in New Guinea during World War II were frustrated when their convoy of reinforcements was intercepted and destroyed by coordinated air assaults by American and Australian forces.
From: APPOINTMENT IN TOKYO
Lost in a storm on February 12, 1935, the airship USS Macon emerges from the clouds in this stock Navy footage.
RIGID AIRSHIP GROUND OPERATIONS, SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA, 1934 - 1935
Macon’s sister airship the USS Akron shared the same fate and was lost in the Atlantic 2 years earlier. However lessons learned from the Akron disaster enabled the rescue of nearly the entire crew of the Macon.
Both were among the largest airships ever built, and included their own complement of Sparrowhawk “parasite fighters” that could be launched while in flight.
Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine Patent, missing from the National Archives
December 17 is the anniversary of the Wright Brother’s historic first flight in 1903. For most, it’s a day to celebrate a pivotal milestone in aviation history. But here at the National Archives and at other archives, libraries, and museums it’s a reminder of the threat that cultural institutions face on a daily basis. The patent for the Wright Flyer is missing—presumed stolen—last seen in 1979, and it’s not the only item missing.
When such records are stolen —sometimes for resale on web auction sites— our shared history is lost and our ability to maintain accountability in our government is lessened. Together, with your help, we can return our cultural heritage to its rightful place.
For More Information:
- Help the National Archives Recover Lost & Stolen Documents
- US National Archives Archival Recovery Team on Facebook
via the AOTUS Blog: The Impact of Theft
Amelia Earhart sent this letter to President Franklin Roosevelt regarding preparations for her planned world flight on November 10, 1936:
“Some time ago, I told you and Mrs. Roosevelt about my confidential plans for a world flight.”
-America Earhart to FDR
Amelia Earhart was born on this day - July 24, 1897
Here’s a letter Earhart wrote to Franklin D. Roosevelt in November of 1936 detailing her upcoming around-the-world flight and asking for assistance from the Navy.
65 years to the day after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in the rocket-propelled XS-1, Felix Baumgartner becomes the first human to break it using only gravity.
On October 14, 1947, Captain Charles Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier during powered level flight while flying the experimental Bell XS-1 aircraft.
World War I was the first conflict to see widespread use of airpower. Initially used to locate the enemy; airplanes quickly found offensive uses. This form records the events of a U.S. First Pursuit Group patrol over the front lines in France on September 27, 1918. At the end of the action 2nd Lt. W.W. White sought credit for shooting down two enemy planes.
First Pursuit Group Reconnaissance Report, 09/27/1918