30 December 1977: Captain Emilie Jones and First Officer Lynn Ripplemeyer of Air Illinois, a commuter airline based at Carbondale, Illinois, were assigned as the flight crew of a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter. Their flight originated at Southern Illinois Airport (MDH) at Carbondale, flew to St. Louis, Missouri (STL), and then on to Quincy Regional Airport (UIN), Quincy, Illinois. The return flight was UIN-STL-MDH. They flew two complete trips on that day.
This was the first time that an all-female crew flew a scheduled flight for a United States airline.
Their airliner was a 1969 de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 200, N3257, serial number 192. The Twin Otter is a twin-engine light transport with a strut-braced high wing and fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane can be flown with on or two pilots and can carry a maximum of 20 passengers. The Series 200 is 51 feet, 9 inches (15.777 meters) long, with a wingspan of 65 feet, 0 inches (19.812 meters) and height of 19 feet, 6 inches (5.944 meters). The wing has an area of 420 square feet (39.02 square meters). The wing has 3° dihedral. There is no sweep. The airplane has an empty weight of 5,850 pounds (2,654 kilograms), and maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 11, 566 pounds (5,246 kilograms).
The DHC-6 Series 100 and 200 were powered by two United Aircraft of Canada Limited PT6A-20 turboprop engines. The PT6A-20 has a three-stage axial-flow, single-stage centrifugal flow compressor section, and single-stage turbine. Its maximum takeoff power rating is 550 shaft horsepower at 38,000 r.p.m. N2, (2,200 r.p.m. NP). The engines drive three-bladed Hartzell constant speed propellers with a diameter of 8 feet, 6 inches (2.591 meters).
The Twin Otter has a maximum operating speed (VMO) of 160 knots (184 miles per hour/296 kilometers per hour) from Sea Level to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), and a never-exceed speed( VNE) of 202 knots (232 miles per hour/374 kilometers per hour). Its range is 771 nautical miles (887 statute miles/1,428 kilometers), and the ceiling is 20,000 feet (6,096 meters).
Operated by Mountain Air Cargo of Denver, North Carolina, N3257 was destroyed, 11 October 1985, when it struck rising terrain near Homer City, Pennsylvania. The pilot, Alton W. Cockrell, Jr., the only person on board, was killed.
Lynn Janet Ripplemeyer was born at Valmeyer, Illinois, 3 April 1951. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in education. In 1972, she was employed by Trans World Airways (TWA) as a flight attendant, and was later assigned as a flight engineer for the Boeing 727. In 1977, Ms. Ripplemeyer was hired as a first officer by Air Illinois.
In September 1983, Captain Ripplemeyer and First Officer Beverly Himelfarb of People Express Airlines flew a Boeing 737 from Newark, New Jersey, to Syracuse, New York. In 1984, Captain Ripplemeyer was the first woman to command a Boeing 747 on a transoceanic route.
30 December 1968: At the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation plant at Stratford, Connecticut, Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Paul Ervin, Jr., United States Army, set two Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Records for Time to Altitude while flying a Sikorsky CH-54A Tarhe. The helicopter’s co-pilot for this flight was CW4 William T. Lamb. The “Sky Crane” reached 3,000 meters (9,842.52 feet) in 1 minute, 38.2 seconds, and 9,000 meters (29,527.56 feet) in 7 minutes, 54 seconds.¹ (It climbed through 6,000 meters (19,686 feet) in 2 minutes, 58.9 seconds.²)
Several attempts to break the existing time to altitude records had been made on 29 and 30 December. Erwin decided to deviate from Sikorsky’s recommended climb profile and, instead, climbed vertically until reaching 20,000 feet, and then returned to Sikorsky’s profile.
On the same date, CW4 Lamb, with Erwin as co-pilot, established a World Record for Altitude in Horizontal Flight, of 9,596 meters (31,483 feet).³
According to an article in U.S. Army Aviation Digest, during the record attempt flights, the regional air traffic control center called a commercial airliner which was cruising at 17,000 feet,
“. . . be advised there’s a helicopter at your 9 o’clock position descending out of 27,000 feet at a rate of 4,000 feet per minute.”
The airliner replied, “Good lord, you mean they’re up here now?”
Another pilot on the frequency asked, “What kind of helicopter is that?”
Mr. Ervin was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his achievement.
A third U.S. Army aviator involved in the record attempts was Major James H. Goodloe, as was a Sikorsky test pilot, John J. Dixon.
The Sikorsky CH-54A Tarhe is a large single-main-rotor/tail rotor helicopter, specifically designed to carry large external loads. In U.S. Army service, it had a crew of five: pilot, co-pilot, third pilot and two mechanics. The third pilot was in a rear-facing cockpit position and flew the helicopter while it was hovering to pick up or position an external load.
The CH-54A is 88 feet, 5.9 inches (26.972 meters) long and 25 feet, 4.7 inches (7.739 meters) high. The main rotor has six blades and turns counter-clockwise, seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the helicopter’s right side.) The main rotor has a diameter of 72 feet (21.946 meters). The main rotor blades have a chord of 1.97 feet (0.601 meters) and incorporate a twist of -13°. The tail rotor has four blades and is placed on the left side of a vertical pylon in a pusher configuration. The tail rotor turns clockwise, as seen from the helicopter’s left side. (The advancing blade is below the axis of rotation.) The diameter of the tail rotor is 16 feet (4.877 meters). The chord of the tail rotor blade is 1.28 feet (0.390 meters).
The helicopter has an empty weight of 19,120 pounds (8,673 kilograms) a design gross weight of 38,000 pounds (17,237 kilograms) and overload gross weight of 42,000 pounds (19,051 kilograms).
The CH-54A is powered by two Pratt & Whitney JFTD12A-4A (T73-P-1) turboshaft engines, each rated at 4,000 shaft horsepower at 9,000 r.p.m. (N2) maximum continuous power at Sea Level, and 4,500 shaft horsepower at 9,500 r.p.m. (N2) for takeoff, 5-minute limit, or 30 minutes, with one engine inoperative (OEI). The maximum gas generator speed (N1) is 16,700 r.p.m. The T73-P-1 is an axial-flow free-turbine turboshaft engine with a 9-stage compressor section, 8 combustion chambers and a 4-stage turbine section (2-stage gas generator and 2-stage free turbine). It is 107.0 inches (2.718 meters) long, 30.0 inches (0.762 meters) in diameter, and weighs 966 pounds (438 kilograms). The helicopter’s main transmission is limited to a maximum 6,600 horsepower.
It has a useful load of 22,880 pounds (10,342 kilograms) and can carry a payload of 20,000 pounds (9,072 kilograms) from a single point cargo hoist.
The CH-54A has a maximum cruise speed of 115 knots (132 miles per hour, 213 kilometers per hour). It’s range is 217 nautical miles (250 miles, 402 kilometers). The CH-54A has a hover ceiling in ground effect (HIGE) of 10,600 feet (3,231 meters) and its service ceiling is 13,000 feet (3,962 meters).
The U.S. Army ordered 54 CH-54A and 35 CH-54B Tarhes. Sikorsky produced another 12 civil-certified S-64E and S-64F Skycranes. Army CH-54s were retired from service in 1995. Sikorsky sold the type certificate to Erickson Air-Crane, Inc., Medford, Oregon. Erickson operates a fleet of Skycranes for heavy lift, logging and fire fighting, and also produces parts and new helicopters for worldwide customers.
The United States Army has a tradition of using Native American names for its aircraft. Tarhe (pronounced tar-HAY) was a famous chief, or sachem, of the Wyandot People of North America, who lived from 1742–1818. He was very tall and the French settlers called him “The Crane.”
James Paul Ervin, Jr., was born 2 October 1931, in Arkansas. He was the second child of James Paul Erwin and Ruth Booker Ervin. He joined the United States Army in 1948. In 1955, he married his wife, Theresa M. (“Terry”) Ervin. They resided in Columbus, Georgia.
CW4 Ervin was considered a pioneer of Army Aviation. He was one of the first pilots to experiment with armed helicopters, and he served with the first transportation company to be equipped with the Sikorsky CH-34 Choctaw and CH-37 Mohave helicopters. During the Vietnam War, he was assigned to the 478th Aviation Company (Heavy Helicopter). Mr. Ervin retired from the United States Army in July 1969 after 21 years of service.
At 1735, 2 September 1969, as a civilian pilot working for ERA Helicopters in Alaska, Ervin was flying a Sikorsky S-64E Skycrane, N6964E, on the North Slope near Prudhoe Bay, when the helicopter broke up in flight and crashed near a drilling site, Southeast Eileen. Chief Erwin and two others aboard, Byron Davis and Allen Bryan, were killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that a tail rotor pitch control link failed due to a fatigue fracture. The NTSB accident report also cited improper factory installation as a factor.
At the time of the accident, Erwin had a total of 4,787 flight hours with 830 hours in type. He was 37 years old. James Paul Erwin, Jr., is buried at the Marietta National Cemetery, Marietta, Georgia.
¹ FAI Record File Numbers 9944 and 9961.
² Many sources state that CW4 Erwin set a record for Time to 6,000 meters, and some give the elapsed time as 3 minutes, 31.5 seconds. The FAI Records Database does not list this record.
30 December 1964: The United States Air Force accepted the last of 732 Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers: KC-135A serial number 64-14840. The new tanker was assigned to the 380th Air Refueling Squadron at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, New York, 12 January 1965.
As of 14 May 2018, 396 KC-135s were still in service with the United States Air Force: 153 active duty, 72 Air Force Reserve, and 171 Air National Guard. It is estimated that the fleet is 33% through their design lifetime limits.
Built as an aerial refueling tanker to support the U.S. Air Force fleet of B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers, an initial order for 24 tankers was soon increased to 250. Eventually 732 KC-135As were built by Boeing, and an additional 81 of other versions.
With the company internal designation of Model 717, the KC-135 was developed from the Model 367-80 proof-of-concept prototype, the “Dash Eighty.” The Stratotanker is very similar in appearance to the Model 707 and 720 airliners but is structurally a different aircraft. It is also shorter than the 707 and has a smaller diameter fuselage.
The Stratotanker was originally operated by a flight crew of four: pilot, co-pilot, navigator and refueling boom operator. Upgrades over the decades have simplified operation and the crew has been reduced to two pilots and the boom operator.
The KC-135R is 136 feet, 3 inches (41.529 meters) long (156 feet/47.549 meters with fueling boom extended), with a wingspan of 130 feet, 10 inches (39.878 meters), and overall height of 41 feet, 8 inches (12.700 meters). Its maximum takeoff weight is 322,500 pounds (146,284 kilograms).
The Stratotanker can carry up to 200,000 pounds (90,718 kilograms) of fuel for inflight refueling. It can also be configured to carry 83,000 pounds (37,648 kilograms) of cargo, or 80 passengers.
The KC-135A was originally powered by four Pratt & Whitney J57-P-59W turbojet engines producing 13,750 pounds of thrust (61.163 kilonewtons) for takeoff, using water injection. The fleet has been re-engined with more efficient CFM International CFM56-2B1 (F108-CF-100) engines. Modified airplanes are designated KC-135R. The CFM56-2 is a two-spool, axial-flow, high-bypass turbofan with a single fan stage, 12-stage compressor section (3 low pressure and 9 high pressure stages), annular combustor, and a 5-stage turbine (1 high pressure and 4 low pressure stages). The engine is rated at 21,634 pounds of thrust (96.233 kilonewtons).
The tanker has a maximum speed of 350 knots (402 miles per hour/648 kilometers per hour) below 26,500 feet (8,077 meters), and 0.90 Mach when above that altitude. It has a range of 1,500 miles (2,424 kilometers) when carrying 150,000 pounds (68,039 kilograms) of transfer fuel. The service ceiling is 50,000 feet (15,200 meters).
The newest Stratotanker in service with the United States Air Force, KC-135R 64-14840 is 58 years old. It is presently assigned to the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio Air National Guard.
30 December 1947: OKB Mikoyan test pilot Captain Viktor Nikolaevich Yuganov made the first flight of the Mikoyan and Gurevich I-310 prototype, S01. This would be developed into the legendary MiG-15 fighter.
S01 was a single-seat, single-engine prototype for a fighter interceptor designed to attack heavy bombers. It was intended to reach the high subsonic speed range. The leading edges of the wings and tail surfaces were swept to 35°. The wings were given 2° anhedral.
The prototype was 10.11 meters (33 feet, 2 inches) long with a wingspan of 10.08 meters (33 feet, ¾ inch). Its empty weight was 3,380 kilograms (7,452 pounds) and the takeoff weight was 4,820 kilograms (10,626 pounds).
I-310 S01 was powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine, one of 55 purchased from Rolls-Royce in 1947, then reverse-engineered by Vladimir Yakovlevich Klimov as the Klimov RD-45. The Nene used a single-stage centrifugal-flow compressor and single-stage axial-flow turbine. It was rated at 5,000 pounds of thrust (22.24 kilonewtons) at 12,400 r.p.m., for takeoff.
The I-310 had a maximum speed of 905 kilometers per hour (562 miles per hour) at Sea Level (0.74 Mach), and 1,042 kilometers per hour (648 miles per hour)—0.99 Mach—at 2,600 meters (8,530 feet). The service ceiling was 15,200 meters (49,869 feet). It could climb to 5,000 meters (16,404 feet) in 2 minutes, 18 seconds, and to 10,000 meters (32,808 feet) in 7 minutes, 6 seconds. Endurance was 1 hour, 31 minutes. Maximum range for S01 was 1,395 kilometers (867 miles).
The prototype was armed with one Nudelman N-37 37 mm cannon and two Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 23 mm cannon.
The the first production MiG 15 flew 31 December 1948, one year and one day after the prototype. More than 18,000 were built.
Viktor Nikolaevich Yuganov (Виктор Николаевич Юганов) was born at Moscow, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, 23 February 1922. He was a member of the Stalin Flying Club at age 14.
In December 1937, Yuganov entered the Red Army. He graduated from the flight school at Borisoglebsk, Voronezh, Russia, in December 1938. Yuganov was the youngest pilot in the 56th Fighter Regiment.
In July and August 1939, he flew 120 combat sorties during the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol (an undeclared war with Japan) and is credited with having shot down three enemy airplanes.
Viktor Yuganov was transferred to the 19th Fighter Regiment and was involved in the Russo-Finnish War (“The Winter War”) of 1939–1940.
After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Yuganov was assigned to the 2nd Independent Fighter Squadron. In January 1942, he was appointed deputy commander of the 521st Fighter regiment at the Kalinin Front. He shot down two more enemy aircraft.
In April 1942 Yuganov was assigned as a test pilot at the Gromov Flight Research Institute at Zhukovsky Air Base near Moscow and remained there until March 1945. He then became an inspector on the Air Staff for the Moscow Military District. In December 1946 he resumed test flying, this time at Mikoyan Design Bureau. Three years later, Yuganov returned to the Flight Research Institute where he continued testing the MiG-15.
Viktor Yuganov was awarded the Order of Lenin, and three times, the Order of the Red Banner. He died at Moscow, 24 July 1964.
30 December 1944: Four service test Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Stars were sent to Europe in late World War II: Two, 44-83026 and 44-83027, arrived at RAF Burtonwood, Lancashire, England, 30 December 1944; and 44-83028 and 44-83029, were sent to Lesina, Italy, in late January 1945.
The prototype XP-80A, 44-83020, nicknamed Lulu-Belle, was first flown by test pilot Tony LeVier at Muroc Army Air Field (now known as Edwards AFB) 8 January 1944. The first YP-80A flew on 13 September 1944. Thirteen YP-80s were built before the aircraft was put into full production as the P-80A-1-LO.
On 28 January 1945, 44-83026 caught fire in flight. The airplane disintegrated and crashed at Bold, near Widnes, Cheshire, at 12:01 p.m. Its pilot, Wright Field test pilot Major Frederic Austin Borsodi, was killed.
The third YP-80A, 44-83027, was modified to install a prototype Rolls-Royce Nene B.41 engine. It crashed at Syerston, 14 November 1945. The airplane was damaged beyond repair.
Both 44-83028 and 44-83029 were returned to the United States, 16 June 1945.-028 was latered converted to a pilotless drone. During a cross-country flight, -029 made a forced landing in rural West Virginia. The airplane was repaired and returned to service. It was destroyed in a crash near Brandenburg, Kentucky, 2 August 1945.
The Lockheed P-80-1-LO was the United States’ first operational jet fighter. It was a single-seat, single engine airplane, designed by a team of engineers led by Clarence L. (“Kelly”) Johnson. The prototype XP-80A, 44-83020, nicknamed Lulu-Belle, was first flown by test pilot Tony LeVier at Muroc Army Air Field (now known as Edwards AFB) 8 January 1944.
The P-80A was 34 feet, 6 inches (10.516 meters) long with a wingspan of 38 feet, 10.5 inches (37 feet, 7.5 inches with “clipped” wing tips) (11.849 or 11.468 meters) and an overall height of 11 feet, 4 inches (3.454 meters). The wings had 1° incidence with -1° 30° twist, and 3° 50′ dihedral. The leading edges were swept aft 9° 18′ 33″. The total wing area was 237.70 square feet (22.08 square meters). The P-80A weighed 7,920 pounds empty (3,593 kilograms) and had a maximum takeoff weight of 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms).
Early production P-80As were powered by either an Allison J33-A-9 or a General Electric J33-GE-11 turbojet engine. The J33 was a licensed version of the Rolls-Royce Derwent. It was a single-shaft turbojet with a 1-stage centrifugal compressor section and a 1-stage axial-flow turbine. The -9 and -11 engines were rated at 3,825 pounds of thrust (17.014 kilonewtons) at 11,500 r.p.m. They were 8 feet, 6.9 inches (2.614 meters) long, 4 feet, 2.5 inches (1.283 meters) in diameter and weighed 1,775 pounds (805 kilograms).
The P-80A-1 had a maximum speed of 510 miles per hour (821 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level, 520 miles per hour (837 kilometers per hour) at 20,000 feet (6,096 meters), and 495 miles per hour (797 kilometers per hour) at 40,000 feet (12,192 meters). The service ceiling was 45,000 feet (13,716 meters).
Several hundred of the early production P-80 Shooting stars had all of their surface seams filled, and the airplanes were primed and painted. Although this process added 60 pounds (27 kilograms) to the empty weight, the decrease in drag allowed a 10 mile per hour (16 kilometers per hour) increase in top speed. The painted surface was difficult to maintain in the field and the process was discontinued.
The P-80A Shooting Star was armed with six Browning AN-M3 .50-caliber aircraft machine guns mounted in the nose, with 300 rounds of ammunition per gun.
Frederic Austin Borsodi was born at Houston, Texas, 4 November 1916. He was the second of two sons of Victor Howard Borsodi, an immigrant from Austria and a government fuel contractor, and Lindsley Louise Snodgrass Borsodi.
Borsodi studied at the Kincaid School, Houston, Texas, and The Hill School at Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1935. He then attended the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1937, Borsodi traveled to England aboard RMS Queen Mary as a member of the Yale golf team. He graduated from Yale in 1939 with a bachelor of science degree.
Borsodi entered the United States Navy as an aviation cadet, 1 September 1939. He had brown hair and eyes, was 5 feet, 10 inches (1.78 meters) tall and weighed 160 pounds (72.6 kilograms). He trained as a pilot at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and was commissioned as an ensign, 15 May 1940.
In January 1940, Aviation Cadet Borsodi became engaged to Miss Marcia Chase of Hartford, Connecticut. Miss Chase was a graduate of Smith College. Their wedding took place 8 June 1940 at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford. They would have two daughters, Lindsley Chase and Barbara Chase Barsodi.
Ensign Borsodi was assigned to the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36), then based at Pearl Harbor, in July 1940. He and Mrs. Borsodi returned to the continental United States aboard SS Lurline, 25 September 1940.
On 12 April 1941, Ensign Borsodi was transferred to the Air Corps, United States Army, and commissioned a second lieutenant. Lieutenant Borsodi was assigned as an experimental test pilot at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Corporation, from March to August 1941.
Borsodi was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant 12 November 1942.
Lieutenant Borsodi was assigned to the 86th Fighter Squadron, 79th Fighter Group, in North Africa during Operation Torch. During the Battle of the Mareth Line, in southern Tunisia, March 1943, Lieutenant Borsodi was flying a ground attack mission when his Curtiss-Wright P-40 was hit by anti-aircraft fire. On fire and unable to make it back to friendly lines, he was forced to bail out in the midst of the battle. A New Zealand tank crew rescued him and returned him to Allied lines.
Lieutenant Borsodi was promoted to captain, 10 April 1943. Captain Borsodi was credited with shooting down three enemy aircraft on 20 April 1943, including a Messerchmitt Bf 109 fighter and Junkers Ju 88 bomber. On 9 June 1943, he assisted in shooting down a fourth. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Borsodi was promoted to major, 1 October 1943.
In November 1943, Major Borsodi returned to the United States, flying a captured enemy bomber. In January 1944, he was assigned as Chief, Fighter Test Branch, Air Technical Services Command, at Wright Field, Ohio.
Major Frederic Austin Borsodi, United States Army Air Forces, had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster (two awards); and the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters (seven awards.) His remains were buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, Cambridgeshire, England.