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

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. (Missouri Historical Society N30169)

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 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.

A local newspaper reported:

BERRY JUMPS 1500 FEET FROM BIPLANE

Parachute Drops 300 Feet Before Opening at Jefferson Barracks.

LANDS HARD BUT SAFE

Jannus, Driver of Machine, Says “Never Again,” After Sunday Exhibition.

     Albert Berry, formerly a professional parachute jumper, and son of Capt. John Berry, licensed balloon pilot, carried out his twice deferred jump from an aeroplane yesterday afternoon. After riding as a passenger with Anthony Jannus in a Benoist biplane from Kinloch Field to Jefferson Barracks, he cut loose his parachute at a height of about 1500 feet. He landed hard, but safely, just south of the mess hall.The soldiers at the barracks were startled when they saw the parachute and man falling, for it did not open until it had dropped like lead for 300 feet.

     After Jannus and Berry had warmed themselves in the office of Col. W. T. Wood, Jannus climbed into his machine and flew back to Kinloch. He lost his bearings, mistaking the St. Charles for the Natural Bridge road, and flew almost to the Missouri River at a height of nearly 4000 feet. Realizing his mistake, he flew back to his hangar. This trip occupied twenty-seven minutes. The flight to Jefferson Barracks required only twenty minutes, with the passenger aboard. The air line distance between the two pints is about seventeen miles.

Jannus Dislikes Experience.

     Tom Benoist, originator of the plan and builder of the aeroplane used, said he would have like to have done with it. Jannus said:

     “As far as I am concerned, Sunday will be the last time for this stunt. We are in duty bound to the people who paid admission to see the jump a week ago Sunday, to do it once more. We hope to get through with it next Sunday. After that, never again.”

     Berry’s ideas are different. He will continue the jumping as an exhibition trick if he can find an aviator to co-operate with him. It is understood already offers of large guarantees have been made him by promoters of amusement enterprises, one of them in New York.

     Berry had made so many jumps of the same nature from hot-air balloons that he was expert in the work, and he had not suffered from the hard landing. But both he and Jannus were chilled through, and plenty of hot cocoa from thermos bottles was needed to get them warm.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat,  Vol. 37—No. 288, Saturday, 2 March 1912, Page 1, Column 6.

The Washington Times wrote:

CAPITAL AVIATOR FIGURES IN AERIAL FEAT AT ST. LOUIS

Antony Jannus Drives Biplane From Which man Drops in Parachute.

     Antony Jannus, a former Washington boy, and Capt. Albert Berry, of St. Louis, winner of the national balloon race from Indianapolis last year, figured in a spectacular aerial performance in St. Louis yesterday afternoon, Capt. Berry jumping from an aeroplane in a parachute. Jannus was the aviator.

The feat of Captain Berry and Jannus is the first time that a man has jumped from an aeroplane in a parachute. This accomplishment was considered dangerous by the majority of aviators, it being thought that the aeroplane, becoming free of the extra burden, would spring upward, turn turtle, and crash to the earth. Captain Berry jumped from an altitude of between 1,000 and 1,500 feet, made a perfect landing, while the aeroplane, driven by the Washington boy, flew on without any difficulty in maintaining an equilibrium.

     Since Captain Berry has accomplished the feat of dropping from an aeroplane, it is possible this new “stunt” will be experimented with by the army aviators within a year.

The Washington Times, Number 7376, Saturday, 2 March 1912, Page 3, Column 6

© 2021, Bryan R. Swopes

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