Tag Archives: Lambert–St. Louis International Airport

18 November 1978

The first Full Scale Development McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A-1-MC Hornet, Bu. No. 160775. (McDonnell Douglas Corporation)

18 November 1978: At Lambert Field, St, Louis, Missouri, McDonnell Douglas Corporation Chief Test Pilot John Edward (“Jack”) Krings, took the number one Full Scale Development (FSD) F/A-18A-1-MC Hornet, Bu. No. 160775, for its first flight. During the 50-minute test flight, Krings flew the Hornet to 24,000 feet (7,315 meters) before returning to STL.

The F/A-18 Hornet was developed for the United States Navy from the prototype Northrop YF-17, a competitor for a U.S. Air Force fighter program. (The rival General Dynamics F-16 was selected for production.) Initially, it was planned that there would be fighter variant, the F-18, and a ground attack version, the A-18. The Navy and manufacturers determined that a single airplane could perform both assignments. The Hornet was produced by McDonnell Douglas, with Northrop Corporation as the prime subcontractor.

The F/A-18 remains in production as the Boeing F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet. Current orders should keep the Hornet in production until 2025.

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A-1-MC Hornet Bu. No. 160775 is on static display at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) China Lake, near Ridgecrest, California.

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Full Scale Development aircraft, Bu. No. 160775.
Jack Krings

John Edward (“Jack”) Krings was born 2 April 1930 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John J. Krings, a refrigeration salesman, and Jean Molamphy Krings. Jack Krings attended Central Catholic High School, in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1948. He then attended Louisiana State University, graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Physics, with a minor in mathematics. While at LSU, Krings played football and was a member of the Phi Chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

On 27 December 1952, Krings married Miss Marilyn Dill at Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis. They would have several children, but later divorced.

After graduating from LSU, Krings joined the United States Air Force and was trained as a fighter pilot. He flew the Republic F-84 and served in combat during the Korean War. In 1956, Krings left the Air Force and was employed as an engineer at the McDonnell Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri. He continued to serve with the Air National Guard until 1966.

Krings was sent to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at NAS Patuxent River. He was a production test pilot and then moved on to development programs. He flew the F3H Demon, and F4H Phantom II. In 1962, Jack Krings was promoted to Chief Test Pilot. For his work as project pilot on the F-15A Eagle test program, Krings won the Iven C. Kincheloe Award of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots for 1975, and in 1979, the Jack Northrop Award and Ray E. Tenhoff Award for for the most outstanding technical paper. In 1986, the SETP presented Krings with its J.H. Doolittle Award for outstanding technical management of engineering achievement in aerospace technology.

On 27 March 1980, Kring married Joan Christian at St. Louis. It was the second marriage for both. They divorced 22 July 1988.

In 1985, Jack Krings retired from McDonnell Douglas. He then went to work in the U.S. Department of Defense as Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. He was twice warded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. In 1989, he left the Pentagon and formed a consulting company, Krings Corporation.

Jack Kring married his third wife, Barbara Lynn McKemie, at Arlington, Virginia, 7 October 1988.

John Edward Krings died at Austin, Texas, 7 March 2014, at the age of 83 years. he was buried at Cook Walden Forest Oaks Cemetery in Austin.

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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1 March 1912

Anthony H. Jannus and Captain Albert Berry, U.S. Army, prior to their flight, at Jefferson Barracks, 1 March 1912. (NASM)
Antony H. Jannus and Captain Albert Berry, U.S. Army, prior to their flight, at Kinloch Field, Missouri, 1 March 1912. The parachute is packed inside the inverted cone. (NASM)

1 March 1912: At Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, Captain Albert Berry, United States Army, made the first parachute jump from an airplane.

Pilot Antony H. Jannus and Captain Berry took off from Kinloch Field, a balloon-launching field in Kinloch Park, (now, Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, STL) and flew aboard a 1911 Benoist Type XII School Plane, 18 miles (29 kilometers) to the drop zone at Jefferson Barracks. The airplane was a pusher biplane which was based on a Curtiss pusher, and is also called the Benoist Headless.

Barry had his parachute packed inside a conical container mounted beneath the airplane’s lower wing. They climbed to an altitude of 1,500 feet (457.2 meters).

When the reached the desired altitude and were over the barracks’ parade grounds, Berry attached the parachute to a harness that he was wearing, then lowered himself on a trapeze-like bar suspended in front of the wings. He pulled a lanyard which released him. The parachute was opened by a static line.

Captain Albert Berry parachuting from teh Benoist biplane over Jefferson Barracks, 1 March 1912. (NASM)
Captain Albert Berry parachuting from the Benoist biplane over Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, 1 March 1912. (NASM)

The Associated Press reported the event:

ST. LOUIS, March 1. —For the first time in the history of a heavier-than-air flying machine, a man leaped from an aeroplane at Jefferson barracks this afternoon and descended safely to earth in a parachute. Capt. Albert Berry made the spectacular leap and it was witnessed by hundreds of cheering soldiers.

Berry and Pilot Jannus left the Kinlock aviation field in the afternoon in a two-passenger biplane, carrying beneath the machine, in a specially constructed case, a large parachute. With practiced hand Jannus steadied the machine, Berry gave a quick jerk of a rope and, while the aeroplane, first bouncing up like a cork, suddenly poised and steadied itself.

Hundreds of watchers held their breath as Berry shot toward the earth, the parachute trailing after him in a long, snaky line. Suddenly the parachute opened, the rapidity of the descent was checked and, amid cheers, the first aviator to make such an attempt lightly reached the ground.

Captain Berry landed safely.

Berry had previously parachuted from balloons. He was asked if he would repeat the jump from an airplane. “Never again! I believe I turned five somersaults on my way down. . . My course downward. . . was like a crazy arrow. I was not prepared for the violent sensation that I felt when I broke away from the aeroplane.”

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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