23 November 2002, 00:49:47 UTC, T minus Zero

Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113) lifts off from LC-39A, 00:49:47 UTC, 23 November 2002. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113) lifts off from LC-39A, 7:49:47 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, 23 November 2002. (NASA)

23 November 2002, 00:49:47 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) lifted off from Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission STS-113. The mission commander, Captain James D. Wetherbee, United States Navy, was on his sixth space flight and shuttle pilot Lieutenant Colonel Paul S. Lockhart, United States Air Force, was on his second. Mission Specialist Captain Miguel López-Alegría, USN,  was on his third space flight while Commander John B. Harrington, USN, was on his first.

Flight crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-113), left to right, LCOL Paul S. Lockhart, USAF; CAPT Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, USN; CDR John B. Herrington, USN; CAPT James D. Wetherbee, USN. (NASA)
Flight crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-113), left to right, LCOL Paul S. Lockhart, USAF; CAPT Michael E. López-Alegría, USN; CDR John B. Herrington, USN; CAPT James D. Wetherbee, USN. (NASA)

STS-113 delivered the P1 truss (the Port Side Thermal Radiator Truss), a major structural component of the International Space Station, into orbit, while also carrying the three members of Expedition 6, who were to spend the next four months on board the space station: Captain Kenneth D. Bowersox, USN, was on his fifth space flight; Test Cosmonaut Nikolai Mikhailovich Budarin (Николай Михайлович Бударин), Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA), on his third flight; and Donald R. Pettit, Ph.D., NASA, was on his first. ISS Expedition 5 members Colonel Valery Grigoryevich Korzun (Валерий Григорьевич Корзун), Soviet Air Force, Peggy Annette Whitson, Ph.D., NASA, and Sergei Yevgenyevich Treshchov (Сергей Евгеньевич Трещёв), RSC Energia, having completed their assignments to the ISS, were returned to Earth aboard Endeavour.

Endeavour landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (LSF), Kennedy Space Center, at 19:38:25 UTC, 7 December 2002. The duration of mission STS-113 was  13 days, 18 hours, 48 minutes, 38 seconds.  Endeavour remained docked with the ISS for 6 days, 22 hours, 51 minutes, 00 seconds. While in orbit, NASA astronauts López-Alegría and Herrington performed three EVAs (Extravehicular Activity, of “space walks”).

Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) in Earth orbit, photographed from the International Space Station. The P1 Truss is in the open cargo bay. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) in Earth orbit, photographed from the International Space Station, 25 November 2002. The P1 Truss is in the open cargo bay. (NASA)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes

23 November 1959

Boeing 720-022 c/n 17907, N7201U. (Boeing)
Boeing 720-022 c/n 17907, N7201U, parked on the taxiway at the south shore of Lake Washington. (Boeing)

23 November 1959: The first Boeing 720 airliner, a 720-022, registered as N7201U, made its first flight at Renton, Washington. The 720 was a development of the 707 and no prototype was built. N7201U was used by Boeing for flight testing and was then delivered to United Airlines, 1 October 1960. The airline named the new 720 Jet Mainliner Capt. F. M. Crismore. Over the next two years, United acquired 29 Boeing 720s.

N7201U was sold to Contemporary Entertainment, owned by singer Bobby Sherman and his manager, Ward Sylvester, in January 1973. It was repainted in a gold and black livery and christened The Starship. As a VIP transport, it was used by such rock bands as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and Elton John. It was last chartered by Peter Frampton.

N7201U was withdrawn from service in 1977 and after being stored for several years, was broken up at Luton Airport near London, England, in 1982.

The Boeing 720 was a variant of the Model 707, intended for short to medium range flights. It had 100 inches (2.54 meters) removed from the fuselage length and improvements to the wing, decreasing aerodynamic drag.

Boeing built 154 720 and 720B airliners from 1959 to 1967.

The Boeing 720 was operated by a flight crew of four and could carry up to 149 passengers. It was 136 feet, 2 inches (41.25 meters) long with a wingspan of 130 feet, 10 inches (39.90 meters) and overall height of 41 feet, 7 inches (12.65 meters). The airplane had an empty weight of 103,145 pounds (46,785 kilograms) and Maximum Takeoff Weight of 220,000 pounds (100,800 kilograms). The four Pratt and Whitney JT3C turbojet engines produced 12,000 pounds of thrust, each, while the more efficient P&W JT3D turbofans used for the 720B produced 17,000 pounds of thrust, each. The maximum cruise speed was 611 miles per hour (983 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed was 620 miles per hour (1,009 kilometers per hour). Range at at maximum payload was 4,370 miles (7,033 kilometers).

The last flight of a Boeing 720 was on 9 May 2012, when a 720B aircraft used by Pratt and Whitney Canada as a test aircraft was placed in the National Air Force Museum of Canada at Trenton, Ontario.

United Airlines' Boeing 720-022, N7201U. (Unattributed)
United Airlines’ Boeing 720-022, N7201U. The airliner’s name, “Jet Mainliner Capt. F. M. Crismore,” is visible under the cockpit windows. (Bill Larkins via Wikipedia)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes

22 November 1972

Boeing B-52D-60-BO Stratofortress, 55-0100, Old One Hundred, dropping 500-pound bombs on a target in North Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force)
Boeing B-52D-60-BO Stratofortress, 55-0100, Old One Hundred, dropping 500-pound bombs on a target in North Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force)

22 November 1972: The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers began combat operations in the Vietnam War with ARC LIGHT strikes against enemy troop concentrations and supply lines in June 1966. The B-52s flew so high and fast that they could neither be seen nor heard on the ground. It was more than six years before the first of the eight-engine bombers would be lost to enemy action.

Boeing B-52D-65-BO 55-0110 at U Tapao RTAFB. (U.S. Air Force)
Boeing B-52D-65-BO 55-0110, weapons loading. (U.S. Air Force)

B-52D-65-BO 55-0110, call sign OLIVE 2, was assigned to the 96th Bomb Wing and attached to the 307th Strategic Wing, 3rd Air Division. It flew combat missions from Anderson Air Force Base, Guam and the  U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand. On 22 November, -110 was crewed by Captain Norbert J. Ostrozny, aircraft commander; Captain P. A. Foley, co-pilot; Bud Rech, radar navigator; Captain Robert Estes, navigator; Larry Stephens, electronic warfare officer; and Staff Sergeant Ronald W. Sellers, gunner.

Captain Norbert J. Ostrozny, U.S. Air Force

Near Vinh, OLIVE 2 was struck by an exploding SA-2 Guideline, a Russian-made command-guided surface to-air missile. The B-52 was seriously damaged and on fire, and the flight crew turned toward the base at U-Tapao.

After crossing the Thailand border, Captain Ostrozny ordered the crew to eject from the stricken bomber.  All six crewmen escaped the doomed Stratofortress and were later rescued by a Sikorsky HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant search-and-rescue helicopter.

55-0110 crashed 15 miles southwest of Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. It was the first Stratofortress lost to enemy action in more than seven years of combat.

Boeing B-52D-30-BW Stratofortress 55-662 crosses the perimeter fence on approach to U-Tapao Airfield, Thailand. OLIVE 2 did not return from its final mission. (U.S. Air Force)
Boeing B-52D-30-BW Stratofortress 55-662 crosses the perimeter fence on approach to U-Tapao Airfield, Thailand. OLIVE 2 did not return from its final mission. (U.S. Air Force)

The United States Air Force flew more than 125,000 combat sorties with the B-52 from 1966 to 1973. During that time, the bombers delivered 2,949,615 tons of bombs against enemy targets. A total of 31 B-52s were lost during this time. 73 crewmen were killed in action and 33 captured and held as prisoners of war.

My thanks to Colonel Knox Bishop, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), for contributing the additional details.

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes

22 November 1961

Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Robinson, U.S. Marine Corps, with the McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom II, Bu. No. 142260, with which he set a world absolute speed record, 22 November 1961. (U.S. Navy)
Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Robinson, U.S. Marine Corps, with the McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom II, Bu. No. 142260, with which he set a world absolute speed record, 22 November 1961. Colonel Robinson is wearing a Goodrich Mark IV full-pressure suit for protection at high altitudes. (U.S. Navy)

22 November 1961: In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Naval Aviation, a number of speed and altitude record attempts were planned, using the U.S. Navy’s new McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom II fighter. On the morning of 22 November, Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Robinson, United States Marine Corps, took off from Edwards Air Force Base on Operation Skyburner, an attempt to set a new World Absolute Speed Record. He was flying the second Phantom II built, Bu. No. 142260.

The Phantom carried three external fuel tanks for this flight. It had a 600-gallon (2,271.25 liter) centerline tank and two 370-gallon (1,400.6 liter) wing tanks. Robinson flew southeast toward NAS El Centro, then turned back to the northwest. Over the Salton Sea, he began to accelerate the YF4H-1 to build up speed for the record run over a measured twenty-mile course back at Edwards AFB. The Phantom’s two General Electric J79-GE-3A afterburning turbojets used a tremendous amount of fuel at full throttle and the centerline fuel tank was quickly emptied. Robinson jettisoned the empty tank over the Chocolate Mountain gunnery range. Continuing to accelerate, the two wing tanks were next jettisoned as they ran dry, this time at Bristol Dry Lake.

The Phantom entered the east end of the speed course in full afterburner. Having burned off more than 1,300 gallons of fuel, 142260 was much lighter now, and aerodynamically cleaner after dropping the external tanks. Robinson exited the west end of the 20-mile (32.2 kilometer) course in less than one minute.

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale rules require that a speed record must be made with two passes in opposite directions. The average speed of the two runs is the record speed. The Phantom was flying so fast that it covered another 105 miles (169 kilometers) before it could turn around. During the turn, it was still travelling at 0.9 Mach. Robinson again put the engines in afterburner as he approached the course from the west. On the second run the fighter was even lighter and its recorded speed was more than 1,700 miles per hour (2,736 kilometers per hour). The average of the two runs was calculated at 2,585.425 kilometers per hour (1,606.509 miles per hour.) This was the new FAI Absolute World Speed Record.

In the next few weeks, the same YF4H-1 would establish a world record for sustained altitude in Operation Top Flight.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Robinson, U.S. Marine Corps with the McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom II, Bu. No. 142260, with which he set a world absolute speed record, 22 November 1961. (U.S. Navy)
Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Robinson, U.S. Marine Corps with the McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom II, Bu. No. 142260, with which he set a world absolute speed record, 22 November 1961. (U.S. Navy)

FAI Record File Num #9060
Status: ratified – retired by changes of the sporting code
Region: World
Class: C (Powered Aeroplanes)
Sub-Class: C-1 (Landplanes)
Category: Not applicable
Group: 3 : turbo-jet
Type of record: Speed over a straight 15/25 km course
Performance: 2 585.425 km/h
Date: 1961-11-22
Course/Location: Edwards AFB, CA (USA)
Claimant Robert B. Robinson (USA)
Aeroplane: McDonnell Douglas F4H-1F “Phantom”
Engines: 2 G E J79

McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom II, Bu. No. 142260, during Operation Skyburner. (U.S. Navy)
McDonnell YF4H-1 Phantom II, Bu. No. 142260, during Operation Skyburner. (U.S. Navy)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes

22 November 1952

Major Charles Joseph Loring, Jr., United States Air Force (1918–1952)
Major Charles Joseph Loring, Jr., United States Air Force (1918–1952)

MEDAL OF HONOR

LORING, CHARLES J., JR.

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Air Force, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing
Place and date: Near Sniper Ridge, North Korea, November 22, 1952
Entered service at: Portland, Maine. Born: October 2, 1918, Portland, Maine
Citation:
Maj. Loring distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While leading a flight of 4 F-80 type aircraft on a close support mission, Maj. Loring was briefed by a controller to dive-bomb enemy gun positions which were harassing friendly ground troops. After verifying the location of the target, Maj. Loring rolled into his dive bomb run. Throughout the run, extremely accurate ground fire was directed on his aircraft. Disregarding the accuracy and intensity of the ground fire, Maj. Loring aggressively continued to press the attack until his aircraft was hit. At approximately 4,000 feet, he deliberately altered his course and aimed his diving aircraft at active gun emplacements concentrated on a ridge northwest of the briefed target, turned his aircraft 45 degrees to the left, pulled up in a deliberate, controlled maneuver, and elected to sacrifice his life by diving his aircraft directly into the midst of the enemy emplacements. His selfless and heroic action completely destroyed the enemy gun emplacement and eliminated a dangerous threat to United Nations ground forces. Maj. Loring’s noble spirit, superlative courage, and conspicuous self-sacrifice in inflicting maximum damage on the enemy exemplified valor of the highest degree and his actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Air Force.

The Lockheed F-80C-10-LO Shooting Star, 49-1826, of the 8th Fighter Bomber Squadron is similar to the F-80C-10-LO, 49-1830, flown by Major Loring. (U.S. Air Force)
This Lockheed F-80C-10-LO Shooting Star, 49-1826, of the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 8th Fighter Bomber Wing, is similar to the F-80C-10-LO, 49-1830, flown by Major Loring. (U.S. Air Force)

During World War II, Lieutenant Charles J. Loring, Jr., had been a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt fighter pilot assigned to the 22nd Fighter Squadron, 36th Fighter Group in Europe. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in support of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He flew 55 combat missions before being shot down by ground fire over Belgium on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1944, and made a prisoner of war.

Partially visible behind the Republic P-47D marked 3T S, serial number 44-20211, is P-47D-22-RE 42-26041, nick-named "Doogan". Charles Loring was flying this Thunderbolt when he was shot down on Christmas Eve, 1944.
Partially visible behind the Republic P-47D marked 3T S, serial number 44-20211, at RAF Kingsnorth, is P-47D-22-RE 42-26041, nick-named “Doogan”. Charles Loring was flying this Thunderbolt when he was shot down over Belgium on Christmas Eve, 1944.

Flying the Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star with the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 8th Fighter Bomber Wing, during the Korean War, Major Loring served as the squadron operations officer.

Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., United States Air Force, Operations Officer, 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron ("Headhunters"), at K-13, Suwon, South Korea, Fall 1950. (U.S. Air Force)
Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., United States Air Force, Operations Officer, 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron (“Headhunters”), at K-13, Suwon, South Korea, Fall 1950. (U.S. Air Force)

Medal of Honor

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes