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From: (C.C. Jordan)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Blackburn's "Aces Wild" released.
Date: 12 Nov 1998 23:58:23 GMT

On Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:15:35 -0800, (Steve Hix) wrote:

>In article <>,
> (C.C. Jordan) wrote:
>> Chuck Yeager is gonna have a cow....
>> Al Blackburn's book has finally been released.
>> Central to the the book's theme is the revelation that test pilot
>> George "Wheaties" Welch was the first man to fly supersonic.

>flying what?

George Welch Broke the sound barrier on October 1, 1947 on
the maiden flight of the XP-86 over Rogers dry lake, near Muroc Field.

That is exactly two weeks before Yeager did it in the XS-1 (X-1).
The event was repeated at least once more prior to Yeager's so called "record"
flight. The Sec. USAF went nuts when he heard of Welch's stunt. The unofficial
orders were that the XS-1 was to be the first, as decreed by Truman, who was
very buddy-buddy with Larry Bell, and because a great deal of money and USAF
prestige had gone into the project. The net result was that the true story was
covered up and the USAF announced that the XP-86 had gone supersonic in April
of '48. North American Aviation was warned that any leaks of the story would
impact future contracts.

Who was George Welch? He was one of only a handful of pilots who got airborne
at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 (in a P-40). He shot down (confirmed) four
Japanese aircraft, with two additional probables. Eventually Welch became a
triple ace before being discharged in 1944. He went to work for North American
and was one the pilots who did the initial flight testing on the P-51H, P-82 and
a host of others.

Welch was killed in the crash of a F-100 when it suffered a structural
failure while Welch was wringing it out in the "upper righthand corner" of it's
flight envelope. That was in 1954.

The Bell XS-1 (X-1) record was not publically announced until well after the
event. The story was broken in the December 1947 issue of Aviation Week
magazine. The USAF was somewhat upset by the leak. As soon as the story
went public, Symington got a phone call from an Army Major General who said
something like, "Why is Yeager getting all this attention? Everyone at Muroc
knows that George Welch did it first." Thus tipped off, Symington ordered the
cover-up. This was in late November / early December, 1947.

>In level flight?

No, in a dive. The XP-86, or any other F-86, did not have enough thrust to
go supersonic in level flight. There was never any requirement for level flight.
The first guy through the sound barrier, whether diving, level, or climbing,
IS STILL the first guy through the sound barrier. The XP-86 was capable
of taking off and landing under power, something the Bell was not able to do.

Remember that after John Derry survived an out of control supersonic
dive in the De Havilland Swallow on Sept. 6, 1948, it was accepted as
a legitimate record for a British built aircraft. The only difference between
going supersonic in a dive or in level flight is power, or the lack of power.

Welch made sure that Yeager knew he had beaten him by diving the XP-86,
moving along at about Mach 1.06, while Yeager was onboard the B-29
mothership climbing out for his "record" flight on October 14, 1947. There
can be no doubt that the bomber crew and Yeager heard and felt the Ba-Boom.
Everyone on the ground at Muroc did. The general feeling on the ground was
that the first Ba-Boom was far louder than Yeager's, which came about 20
minutes later.

One final point. Welch reported a problem with his airspeed indicator on the
Oct. 1 flight. Today, the behavior Welch described is called a "Mach Jump".
The fact that he reported the previously unknown phenomenon first, and that
it was later confirmed by countless others, establishes very strong evidence
that Welch truly was the first to go supersonic.

The thing is, Yeager knew it, yet he accepted all the attention. It is time that
the truth be known. And I suspect, it is time for Yeager to surrender the trophy
to the man who really earned it. Now we will see if Chuck Yeager really has
the right stuff.

My regards,
C.C. Jordan

Now online - Flying Prototypes by Erik Shilling:
The Curtiss YP-37 and the Bell YFM-1.
The "Planes and Pilots of WWII" website.
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"In reality, there exists only fact and fiction. Opinions result from
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From: (C.C. Jordan)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Aces in a day?
Date: 17 Jan 1999 19:16:02 GMT

On Sun, 17 Jan 1999 09:20:13 -0600, "Ernest D. Foote"
<> wrote:

>"C.C. Jordan" wrote:
>> <snip>
>> Well, the facts say something else. Even the Smithsonian's
>> Air and Space magazine published excerpts of Blackburn's
>> book. While that is not an official endorsement, it says a lot
>> about the credibility of the evidence. Which by the way, is
>> extremely compelling.
>> Regards,
>> C.C. Jordan
>> <more snip>
>> "In reality, there exists only fact and fiction. Opinions result from
>> a lack of the former and a reliance on the latter."
>The fact is the magazine did not make a compelling case.

The magazine only published about 5% of the story. Please read the book.

>At least for me. Some
>of the proof offered was, to say the least, suspect.  Recalled memories of a
>"girl" who worked at the "happy bottom ranch?"  A 50 year old memory of  phone
>calls to the wife and mother by a test pilot. Do you consider this a fact?

I consider 300+ witnesses to the Ba-Booms as significant. I consider the
testimony of former North American officials as significant. I consider the
testimomy of several senior officers, including a Brig. General, as compelling.
I consider the log book entries by Welch as evidence. Need I continue?

>A jump in the airspeed indicator as the aircraft approached the transonic
>range. Imagine that!

Welch reported in person and in writing the odd behavior of the airspeed
indicator. What he saw was the classic "Mach jump". He was the first to
record this. Yeager also reported the same behavior. This evidence alone
was enough for at least one of the people at Dryden to conclude that Welch
had exceeded Mach 1.

>I guess then that you will agree with my wife that I am the greatest living
>Naval Aviator. Hey I told her that many times in the last 42 years and she will
>verify I have said so.  What more proof do you want?

Do you have 300+ people willing to support your assertion? I didn't think so.
Besides, there are about 5,000 other active and former Nasal Radiators, who will
challange your claim ! :-)

>BTW wasn't it the Smithsonian who for years pushed the idea that Langley beat
>the Wrights into the air?

I really don't recall.

>Yeager can prove he went through the sound barrier and returned.  I did not
>read anything that would  allow that kind of proof for an earlier flight by the

Yeager can prove it because of instrumentation. Yet, the same measuring
equipment DID clock Welch at Mach 1.04 a month later. Obviously, the XP-86
was capable of Mach 1, and there is a great deal of strong circumstantial
evidence to support it being done on October 1, 1947 and again on the 14th,
20 minutes before Yeager.

I am convinced that the evidence is adequate to de-throne Yeager. Besides,
Yeager KNEW he was second. The B-29 carrying the XS-1 was ROCKED
by a sonic boom while climbing out for Yeager's first supersonic flight. Welch
dove past just to remind Yeager and Bell who was first. A special message,
hand delivered by Wheaties.

Sorry Ernie, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this issue.

My regards,
C.C. Jordan

The Planes and Pilots of WWII online magazine
A member of the WWII Web-ring.
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"In reality, there exists only fact and fiction. Opinions result from
a lack of the former and a reliance on the latter."

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