22 October 1948 – “On the fifth flight of the second prototype McDonnell XF-85 Goblin parasite fighter, 45-524, McDonnell test pilot Edwin F. Schoch unhooks from trapeze carried on Boeing EB-29B Superfortress, 44-84111, named “Monstro”, and for the first time retracts the small fighter’s nose hook in flight.
But when he extends the hook to reconnect with the mothership, buffeting over the open nose hook well (previously flown taped closed) causes the Goblin to be too unstable for reconnection. The hook is broken in the attempts, and Schoch belly lands on the dry lake at Muroc Air Force Base for the second time. This was the last flight of the second prototype.
The XF-85 was a diminutive jet aircraft featuring a distinctive egg-shaped fuselage and a forked-tail stabilizer design. The prototypes were built and underwent testing and evaluation in 1948. Flight tests showed promise in the design, but the aircraft’s performance was inferior to the jet fighters it would have faced in combat, and there were difficulties in docking. The XF-85 was swiftly canceled, and the prototypes were thereafter relegated to museum exhibits.” (1)