XF-120 Lincoln's Bond

Lincoln's Bond Painting

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Although aviation involves aircraft, the people in aviation are quite special, and none more special than the legendary test pilots of the 1950s. Aviation Artist Mike Machat was commissioned by MSgt. Tony Accurso to create a fitting tribute to the 1956 Warner Brothers epic, "Toward The Unknown," which tells the story of these courageous men in a way that had never been done before. Major Lincoln Bond, played by William Holden, returned from the Korean War as a tortured POW, and now seeks a job at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California. Base Commander BGen. Bill Banner (Lloyd Nolan) runs a tight ship, and initially has nothing but disdain for Bond, believing he'd been brainwashed by his captors. Slowly, Bond earns the right to fly at Edwards, and the story evolves from there.

During Bond's initial check-out in the new Gilbert XF-120 fighter-bomber (the Martin XB-51 tri-jet in real life), he discovers a potentially deadly phenomenon that overstresses the airframe. Already committed to production, the XF-120 is well along in its flight testing, but Gen. Banner wants to be sure of Bond's conclusion. He decides to fly the XF-120 himself with Bond flying safety chase in a North American F-100C Super Sabre, and although this flight produces no real evidence of the problem, it forms the beginning of a very special relationship between the two men. It is a bond that becomes even more critical as the film progresses. But as the two aircraft lift off from the hallowed Runway 24 at Edwards South Base, we witness the beginning of Lincoln's bond with General Banner.

Thanks to Tony for sharing!

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