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Three test pilots talk together in front of a Douglas D-558-II Skystreak in 1952

Test pilots 1952 – Walker, Butchart, and Jones

This photo shows test pilots, (Left-Right) Joseph A. Walker, Stanley P. Butchart and Walter P. Jones, standing in front of the Douglas D-558-II Skystreak, in 1952. These three test pilots at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ High-Speed Flight Research Station probably were discussing their flights in the aircraft. Joe flew research flights on the D-558-I #3 (14 flights, first on June 29, 1951) investigating buffeting, tail loads, and longitudinal stability. He flew the D-558-II #2 (3 flights, first on April 29, 1955) and recorded data on lateral stability and control. He also made pilot check-out flights in the D-558-II #3 (2 flights, first on May 7, 1954). For fifteen years Walker served as a pilot at the Edwards flight research facility (today known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Dryden Flight Research Center) on research flights as well as chase missions for other pilots on NASA and Air Force research programs. On June 8, 1966, he was flying chase in NASA’s F-104N for the Air Force’s experimental bomber, North American XB-70A, when he was fatally injured in a mid-air collision between the planes. Stan flew the D-558-I #3 (12 flights, first on October 19, 1951) to determine the dynamic longitudinal stability characteristics and investigations of the lateral stability and control. He made one flight in the D-558-II #3 on June 26, 1953, as a pilot check-out flight. Butchart retired from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, on February 27, 1976, after a 25-year career in research aviation. Stan served as a research pilot, chief pilot, and director of flight operations. Walter P. Jones was a research pilot for NACA from the fall of 1950 to July 1952. He had been in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot before joining the Station. Jones flew the D-558-I #3 (5 flights, first on February 13, 1951) to study buffeting, tail loads and longitudinal stability. Jones made research flights on the D-558-II #3

Image Credit: NASA