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This fine book, illustrated with some nice photographs, is a personal account of William Bridgeman about his time as a test pilot who flew the American research plane : the Skyrocket.


Format 22 x 15 x 3 cm
Nbr. de pages 278
Finition Cartonné
Particularités Jaquette abîmée
Année d’édition 1956
Langue Anglais
Etat du livre Un petit peu abîmé
Auteur William Bridgeman and Jacqueline Hazard

This is the story of the test pilot who flew the American research plane, the Skyrocket, at over 1.250 miles an hour and, in the next flight, took it in an almost vertical climb nearly 15 miles into the stratosphere. Dropped from the cut - away fuselage of a B - 29 at 36,000 feet, the Skyrocket, powered by four rockets burning a ton of liquid oxygen and alcohol a minute, could reach supersonic speed in 30 seconds in a breathless climb. It was the unknown region beyond the speed of sound which she had been built to survey, and to Bridgeman had fallen the job of exploring this frightening new world. The story of his day - by - day life with the plane, of his gradual mastery of the intricacies of flying by rocket power and the complexities of controlling it at speeds never before experienced by man, form the substance of this book.

William Barton ’ Bill ’ Bridgeman ( 1916 - September 29th, 1968 ) was born in Iowa ( United States ). His father was a barnstormer and separated from his mother shortly after he was born. He was raised in Malibu ( California, United States ) by his paternal grandmother and majored in geology in college. He enlisted in the United States Navy to attend flight school at Pensacola. He graduated and was commissioned in 1941, and was sent to Pearl Harbor, where he experienced the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941. He flew Consolidated PBY Catalinas in the New Guinea / Australia sector, then four - engined Consolidated PB4Y - 2 Privateer patrol bombers on a tour of operations with VP / VPB - 109 ( the ’ Reluctant Raiders ’ ).
He was reassigned afterwards to training activities stateside from August 1944 until the end of the war, then spent two years flying transport missions from Pearl Harbor to the West Coast. Upon leaving the Navy in 1947, William B. Bridgeman joined Southwest Airways ( a local West Coast airline that eventually became Pacific Air Lines, not to be confused with today's Southwest ) to fly Douglas DC - 3's on the San Francisco - Seattle route. Bored with the airline routine, he left in 1949 to join Douglas as a production test pilot to certify A - 1 Skyraiders off the assembly line before their delivery to the Navy.
A few months later, he accepted an offer to take over the test program of the Douglas D - 558 II Skyrocket, one of the world's first supersonic research aircraft. William B. Bridgeman converted to jet aircraft on the F - 80 in early 1950 and eventually conducted a very successful test program with the Skyrocket, collecting data on the behavior of swept - wing aircraft over a wide envelope of load factors and Mach numbers deep in the supersonic range. In May 1951, he broke the world speed record, achieving a speed of Mach 1.72, then broke the record again, reaching Mach 1.88 ( 1.245 mph : 1.992 km/h ) the next month. Immediately afterwards, he broke the world altitude record with 79.494 ft ( 24,230 m ) on the Skyrocket's final flight before delivery to N.A.C.A. During this campaign, William B. Bridgeman was one of the first pilots to encounter the phenomenon of inertia coupling, a flight hazard that would dominate high - speed aircraft research for much of the 1950's.
He was on the cover of the April 27th, 1953, issue of Time magazine. He went on to fly other Douglas test programs including the X - 3 Stiletto, a promising but ultimately unsuccessful design. In 1955, he recounted his experiences test - flying the Skyraider and Skyrocket in a successful memoir, The Lonely Sky, written with Jacqueline Hazard, whom he married shortly after the book was published. He was an astronaut candidate for the United States Air Force Man In Space Soonest program, but the program was cancelled on August 1st, 1958, and replaced by N.A.S.A.'s Project Mercury.
William B. Bridgeman eventually moved to Grumman Aircraft where he conducted test programs of commercial aircraft, then pursued a career in commercial real estate. In September 1968, he was the pilot of a routine air - taxi flight from Los Angeles to Santa Catalina Island when his Grumman Goose amphibian went down in the Pacific Ocean. His body was never found.
( source : Wikipedia )
Jacqueline ’ Jackie ’ Hazard ( June 21st, 1924 - January 27th, 2015 ) was born in Los Angeles ( California, United States ). She was the youngest daughter of System Parking Mogul Jack Hazard. Growing up, she attended Westlake School for girls and later took a series of exchange graduate courses at Oxford University ( England ). Developing a career in journalism, Jackie wrote for the Palisades Post in Pacific Palisades ( California ) where she would eventually come to interview world famous American test pilot William Barton ’ Bill ’ Bridgeman who broke aviation speed and altitude records while working for Douglas Aircraft.
In 1951, Bridgeman's employer announced that he had piloted their Douglas D - 558 II Skyrocket to ’ the highest speed and altitude record attained to that time ’, landing him on the cover of Time Magazine. This led to the interview and article by ’ Jackie ’, which the two developed and co - authored into the Memoir, The Lonely Sky, originally published by Harper and Sons. Shortly after the release of their book, Ms. Hazard and Mr. Bridgeman married, eventually settling in Malibu ( California ). After her husband's death, ’ Jackie ’ and their son Christopher later purchased Hazard Ranch in Serra Retreat from her father's estate and continued her interest in literature and patronage of the arts.
Her love of theatre was brought into full force in 1990 when she personally funded and co - founded the Malibu Stage Company with Director and Theatre Critic Charles Marowitz. In addition, ’ Jackie ’ was known as a generous contributor to individuals in need as well as those trying to further their career or education. A tireless traveler, ’ Jackie ’ visited nearly every corner of the globe, whether accompanied by her son Christopher, with friends or alone she was always up for an adventure.
Prior to stepping down from the Malibu Stage Company in 2008, Mrs. Bridgeman received a number of awards over the years, including the prestigious Dolphin Award sponsored by the Malibu Times for her contributions to the Malibu community where she had lived and worked for the last sixty years of her life.
( source : - Los Angeles Times )
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