3 April 1962: At NAS Point Mugu, Ventura County, California, future NASA astronaut, U.S. Navy test pilot Commander John W. Young, set a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) time-to-altitude world record by flying his McDonnell Aircraft Corporation F4H-1 Phantom II, Bureau of Aeronautics serial number (Bu. No.) 149449, from the surface to 25,000 meters (82,020.997 feet) in 230.440 seconds.
FAI Record File Num #9092 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – retired by changes of the sporting code
Class: C (Powered Aeroplanes)
Sub-Class: C-1 (Landplanes)
Category: Not applicable
Group: 3 : turbo-jet
Type of record: Time to climb to a height of 25 000 m
Performance: 3 min 50.44s
Course/Location: Point Mugu, CA (USA)
Claimant John Watts Young (USA)
Aeroplane: McDonnell Douglas F-4H-1
Engines: 2 G E J79
This was one of a series of time-to-altitude record flights flown at NAS Point Mugu during March and April 1962. The airfield’s Runway 21 ends on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and the elevation is 9 feet above Sea Level. Ther restricted airspace of the Pacific Missile test Range assured that these flights could be conducted safely and without interfering with civilian air traffic. The U.S. Air Force had used the same runway when it conducted time-to-altitude record flights with a Lockheed F-104A Starfighter in 1958.
John Young was a test pilot assigned to the Naval Air Test Center, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, where he was a project officer for F4H and F8U armament systems. He was selected as a NASA astronaut and served as Pilot of Gemini III; backup pilot, Gemini IV; Commander for Gemini 10; Command Module Pilot on Apollo 10; back-up commander for Apollo 13; Commander, Apollo 16; and back-up commander for Apollo 17. Later, he was Commander of the maiden flight of the space shuttle Columbia STS-1 and again for STS-9. He was in line to command STS-61J.
McDonnell F4H-1 Phantom II Bu. No. 149449, redesignated F-4B-11-MC, served with VF-96 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) (NG613), VF-151 aboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43) (NL108) and was later assigned to Marine Air Group 13, VMFA-323, “Death Rattlers”, based at Chu Lai, South Vietnam with tail code WS. On 2 August 1968 it was hit by small arms fire near An Hoa, 17 miles southeast of Da Nang. Unable to land, the pilot, Major D.I. Carroll, USMC, and Weapons System Officer, First Lieutenant R.C. Brown, USMC, ejected one mile off the coast. Both were rescued by a U.S. Army helicopter. The record-setting Phantom II was lost in the South China Sea.
© 2015, Bryan R. Swopesby