Paul King and Vought VE-7
In October 1925, NACA test pilot Paul King poses with a Vought VE-7 "Bluebird" biplane, typically used as an advanced trainer, before taking flight. He's dressed in a fur-lined leather flying suit and has donned his oxygen facepiece.
It was a Vought VE-7 that three years earlier, on October 17, 1922, performed the first-ever take-off from the USS Langley, the nation's first aircraft carrier. Clearly, that flight made a test pilot, at least for the day, of Lt. Cmdr. Virgil C. "Squash" Griffin.
The event was later recalled by another naval aviator, as noted on the Vought Aircraft Web site: "We had no brakes, so the plane was held down on the deck by a wire with a bomb release at the end. This was attached to a ring in the landing gear. 'Squash' Griffin climbed in, turned up the Hispano Suiza engine to its full 180 hp, and gave the 'go' signal. The bomb release was snapped and the Vought rolled down the deck. Almost before it reached the deck-center elevator it was airborne."
July 4, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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