Today in History – June 16, 1950 XF-88A, Piloted by Capt Frank K. Everest, Damaged in Belly Landing

16 June 1950 – The McDonnell XF-88A Voodoo #46-526, piloted by Gen. Frank K. Everest, is damaged in a belly landing after engine failure at Edwards AFB, California, this date.

The McDonnell XF-88 Voodoo was a long-range, twinjet fighter aircraft with swept wings designed for the United States Air Force.

Changes in Air Force priorities, together with a shortage of money, led the penetration fighter to be canceled in August 1950. Although it never entered production, its design was adapted for the subsequent supersonic F-101 Voodoo.

“Frank K. Everest, Jr. (BGen USAF, Ret)

He entered United States Army Air Forces aviation cadet pilot training on November 11, 1941, graduated, and received a commission on July 3, 1942. Among his classmates in Class 42-F was future ETO ace, Robert S. Johnson. After Curtiss P-40 aircraft training, he was sent to North Africa and flew 94 combat missions in Africa, Sicily, and Italy with the 314th Fighter Squadron, 324th Fighter Group. During that tour of duty, he shot down two German Ju 52 transports on April 18, 1943, and damaged another.

In May 1944 he was assigned to a fighter squadron at Venice, Florida as an instructor. He asked for combat duty again and was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. There he was assigned to command the 17th Provisional Fighter Squadron, 5th Provisional Fighter Group of the Chinese-American Composite Wing at Chinkiang, China. This wing consisted of both USAAF and Republic of China pilots flying in mixed elements. He completed 67 combat missions before his plane was shot down by ground fire in May 1945. He was captured and tortured as a Japanese prisoner of war before being repatriated at the end of hostilities.

Following a rest leave, he was assigned in February 1946 to the Flight Test Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio as a test pilot. Graduating from Air Materiel Command Flight Performance School with the Class 46D, he took part in many experimental tests of the Bell X-1 and established an unofficial world altitude record of 73,000 feet.

In September 1951 he was transferred to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and became the chief Air Force test pilot as head of the Flight Test Operations Division. During his stay at Edwards, Everest tested the X-1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; XF-92 and YB-52. He also took part in test programs for the F-88, 100, 101, 102, 104, and 105; the B-52, B-57, and 66 aircraft. On October 29, 1953, he established a world speed record of 755.149 mph in an F-100A.

Everest test-flew the Bell X-1B to a speed of Mach 2.3 (2.3 times the speed of sound) in December 1954, making him the second-fastest man in the world, Later flights in the Bell X-2 rocket plane established him as “the fastest man alive” when he attained a new unofficial speed record of 1,957 mph or Mach 2.9.

He was transferred to Hahn Air Base, Germany, in March 1957, as commander of the 461st Fighter Squadron of the 36th Fighter Wing. He was assigned to North Africa in July 1958 as a group commander and later became deputy for operations at Wheelus Air Base, Libya. He became director of operations, 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, England Air Force Base, Louisiana, in January 1961, upon returning to the United States.

Everest next commanded the 4453d Combat Crew Training Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and in June 1964 he transferred with the wing to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona In May 1965 he was transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to become commander of the 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing.

In June 1966 Everest became director of aerospace safety in the Office of the Deputy Inspector for Inspection and Safety, Norton Air Force Base, California. He was transferred to the Pentagon in January 1969 as assistant director (Operational Test and Evaluation), Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering.

During the period January 1966 to September 1972, he regularly deployed to Southeast Asia where he flew 32 total combat missions in F-4 Phantom, A-1 Skyraider, F-100 Super Sabre, C-130 Hercules, C-141 Starlifter, and HC-130 Hercules aircraft.

Everest assumed command of Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, of the Military Airlift Command, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in April 1970.

He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective November 1, 1965, with the date of rank October 29, 1965. He retired from the Air Force on March 1, 1973.

General Everest’s service-wide nickname was “Pete”.”(1)

Sources: Wikipedia:Portal:Aviation; (1) Wikipedia

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