6 April 1959: At Edwards Air Force Base, in the high desert of southern California, Colonel Edward Hamilton Taylor, United States Air Force, set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over a 1000 Kilometer Course of 1,126.62 kilometers per hour (700.05 miles per hour),¹ flying a McDonnell RF-101C-75-MC Voodoo, serial number 56-0119.
The F-101 Voodoo was the first production airplane capable of speeds over 1,000 miles per hour (1,609.34 kilometers per hour). Colonel Taylor’s RF-101C was an unarmed photographic reconnaissance variant.
Nine days later, Captain George A. Edwards, Jr., flew another RF-101C to a World Record for Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 500 Kilometers of 1,313.677 kilometers per hour (816.281 miles per hour).²
Edward Hamilton Taylor was born 8 October 1920 at Lone Oak, Texas. He was the son of Dr. Edward and Mrs. Viola Taylor. He graduated from Austin High School, Austin, Texas, and attended the University of Texas in Austin.
Taylor enlisted in the Texas National Guard on his eighteenth birthday, 8 October 1938. He was appointed an aviation cadet, Air Corps, Army of the United States (A.U.S.), 7 February 1942, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, 10 November 1942. He was promoted to first lieutenant, 9 September 1943, and captain, 6 April 1944. On 6 April 1945, Taylor was promoted to major, A.U.S. Following World War II, Taylor reverted to his permanent rank of first lieutenant, Air Reserve…
Edward Taylor was a combat veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, flying reconnaissance missions over Saipan and Iwo Jima in the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, F-80 fighters in Korea, and over North Vietnam in both the RF-101C and the RF-4C Phantom II.
His final Air Force assignment was as Director of Aerospace Vehicles Training, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Colonel Taylor retired from the Air Force on 1 January 1968 after 29 years of military service.
A Command Pilot with over 5,000 hours of flight experience, he had been twice awarded the Legion of Merit; the Distinguished Flying Cross, also twice, and fifteen Air Medals.
Colonel Edward Hamiton Taylor, United States Air Force (Retired) died at Austin, Texas 17 June 2007. He was buried at the Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, Austin, Texas.
His record-setting Voodoo had been on display at Bergstrom AFB, Austin, Texas, Colonel Taylor’s hometown. The airplane’s nose section with its reconnaissance array is now in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum. (1)