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Aviation Feats and Records in 1957

Bendix Trophy

The Bendix Trophy Race was held on July 28,1957. U.S. Air Force Captain Kenneth D. Chandler set a Bendix record in leading a flight of six F-102 jet interceptors from O'Hare Field in Chicago to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. The six jets completed the flight in 54 minutes 45.5 seconds, for an average of 679.053 miles per hour. The former record of 666.661 miles per hour had been established in September of 1956 by Captain Manuel J. Fernandez, Jr., in an F-100 Super-Sabre.

Harmon Awards
(announced August 10, 1957)

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Everest, who flew a Bell X-2 to a world record of approximately 1,900 mph in July 1956, was cited for his contribution to rocket aircraft advancement at Edwards Air Force Base.

Malcolm D. Ross, a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy and Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, and Lieutenant Commander Morton L. Lewis were honored for reaching a record altitude of 76,000 feet for manned balloons on November 8, 1956, despite the fact that their record was subsequently broken. On June 2, 1957, Air Force Captain J. W. Kittinger, Jr., reached 96,000 feet over southern Minnesota. Enclosed in a pressurized capsule, Kittinger hovered more than 18 miles above earth for two hours before returning to land. Kittinger's record was itself broken on August 19, 1957, when Air Force doctor Major David G. Simons reached a height of 102,000 feet over an open pit mine near Crosby, Minnesota; his flight lasted 32 hours.

Major David G. Simons ascends from an open pit mine en route to a new world altitude record.
record flight of Major David G. Simons

At an altitude of 102,000 feet, Major Simons photographs himself by the flash of a strobe light.
Major Simons at 102,000 feet

Ricks Memorial Trophy

Although it was not billed as an official race, Major P.R. Phillipy was declared the winner of a 2,580-mile flight by 12 Air National Guardsmen from Fresno, California, the purpose of which was for the pilots to practice technique. Phillipy completed the flight in 4 hours 13 minutes 40 seconds, not counting a series of 30-minute refueling stops.

Transcontinental Flights

On January 25, 1957, a U.S. Air Force Boeing 6-jet bomber flew from March Air Force Base in California to Hanscom Air Force Base in Maryland in 3 hours 47 minutes. Taking advantage of the jet stream, the bomber reached a maximum speed of 750 mph. On that same day, the Air Force also set a record for a propellor-driven airplane when a Lockheed Super Constellation was flown from California to Washington, D.C., in 4 hours 43 minutes as part of a test being performed by the Military Air Transport Service.

On March 11, 1957, a Boeing 707 passenger jet with 52 persons aboard set a record when it flew from Seattle, Washington, to Baltimore, Maryland, (2,330 miles) in 3 hours 48 minutes.

On March 21, 1957, a three-man crew in a U.S. Navy A3D Skywarrior broke two records when it completed a flight from Los Angeles to New York and back. Piloted by Commander Dale W. Cox, Jr. the plane completed the round trip in 9 hours 35 minutes 48 seconds, bettering the old record by 1 hour 42 minutes 39 seconds. The return leg of the trip took 5 hours 14 minutes 59 seconds, bettering the old record for that direction by 9 minutes 28 seconds. Both of the old marks had been set by Air National Guard Lieutenant J.M. Conroy.

On July 16, 1957, U.S. Marine Major John H. Glenn, Jr., flying a Navy F8U Crusader, set a new record on a flight from Los Alamitos Naval Air Station near Los Angeles, California, to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York. Refueling three times in flight, Major Glenn covered the 2,445.9 miles in 3 hours 22 minutes 50.05 seconds, with an official average speed of 723.517 mph.

Major John Glenn soon after he set a new transcontinental flight record.
John Glenn

The 11th annual Powder Puff Derby drew a field of 49 planes. First place in the handicap race from San Mateo, California, to North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was claimed by Alice Roberts and her co-pilot Iris Critchell, who flew a 205-h.p. Beechcraft. Second place went to Doris Eacret and Jean Parker Rose, flying a 90-h.p. Cessna, and third was claimed by Barbara Kiernan and Esther Gardiner, in a 225-h.p. Beechcraft.

Intercontinental Flights

In 1957, three U.S. Air Force B-42 Stratofortresses became the first jets to complete a nonstop flight around the world. The flight, commanded by Major General Archie J. Old, Jr., took off from Merced, California, on January 16, and returned to March Air Force Base near Riverside California, on January 18, having covered 24,325 miles in 45 hours 19 minutes.

Route of the nonstop flight around the world made by three B-52 Stratofortresses.
round-the-world route

On May 13, 1957, three U.S. Air Force Super Sabre jets flew from England to Los Angeles, California, a distance of 6,710 miles, to set a record for the longest flight by single-engine jets. Refueling three times in the air, the jets covered the distance in 14 hours 5 minutes. The pilots were Captain Jack Bryant, Captain A.B. Engle, and Lieutenant T.E. Workman.

Between November 11 and November 13, 1957, U.S. Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay and a crew of 19 set new distance and speed records when they flew a KC-135 Stratotanker nonstop and without refueling from Westover (Massachusetts) Air Force Base to Buenos Aires, Argentina, a distance of 6,325 miles, in 13 hours 2 minutes 51 seconds, and then returned over a more direct 5,204-mile route in 11 hours 5 minutes 0.8 seconds.

In the Year 1957
Boeing 707
John H. Glenn, Jr.

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This page was last updated on 07/16/2018.