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Aviation Feats and Records in 1958
A nonstop jet plane record for flight without refueling was set by a U.S.Air Force Boeing KC-135 four-engine Stratotanker commanded by Brigadier General William E. Eubank, Jr., April 7-8. The plane flew from Tokyo, Japan, to Lajes Air Force Base in the Azores, a distance of 10,233 miles, in 18 hours 48 minutes.
On May 8, Major Howard C. Johnson set a 91,249-foot world altitude record for ground-launched planes in a U.S. Air Force Lockheed F-104A Starfighter, over Edwards Air Force Base, California.
On May 16, Captain Walter W. Irwin, flying an F-104A Starfighter, set an official world speed record of 1,404.19 miles per hour, over Edwards Air Force Base.
On May 22 and 23 a U.S. Navy Douglas F-4D-1 Skyray piloted by Marine Corps Major Edward N. Lefaivre set five world marks for climbing speed. It climbed 49,212 feet in 156 seconds for one mark.
Two U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers established marks for the east-west trip from London, England, to New York, New York, in June after setting new times on the flight from Westover, Massachusetts, to London, England. Going to England, the first tanker (Alpha) set a time of 5 hours 27 minutes 42.8 seconds; the second plane (Bravo) was about 2 minutes slower. The flight started tragically when a third tanker crashed shortly after take-off from Westover, killing 15 men. The take-off of a fourth tanker was cancelled because of the accident. On the return trip, Alpha set a time of 5 hours 51 minutes 24.8 seconds; Bravo was 5.2 seconds behind.
A distance record for nonstop flight in a single-engine plane was set by Captain Marion Boling on August 1 when he flew his Beechcraft Bonanza 6,979 miles from Manila, Philippines, to Pendleton, Oregon, in 45 hours 42 minutes.
On August 7 a British four-jet de Haviland Comet IV set a transatlantic speed record for a civilian plane flying west to east, covering 3,496 miles from New York, New York, to Hatfield, England, in 6 hours 27 minutes at an average speed of 537.8 miles per hour.
A KC-135 Stratotanker set a payload record in September when it carried over 38½ tons to an altitude of 6,671 feet.
A KC-135 Stratotanker commanded by General Curtis E. LeMay, Vice-Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, landed at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on September 12 after a record flight from Tokyo, Japan. The non-stop 7,100-mile flight was made in 12 hours 28 minutes, but the record time was not listed officially because the flight had not been intended for record-making purposes.
Jim Heth and Bill Burkhart set a new endurance record when they landed their Cessna 172 at Dallas, Texas, on September 21, after having been aloft 1,200 hours 18 minutes 30 seconds.
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This page was last updated on 05/28/2017.