Then: YT-38 58-1192 at Edwards AFB with a Corvair
Now: At the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota
Sixty years ago today, on October 20, 1956, Toward The Unknown premiered to a gathering at the Edwards AFB Base Theater. This was also opening night for the brand new new theater. William Holden, Virginia Leith, James Garner, LQ Jones and other stars from the movie appeared for the event and party.
The Edwards community is celebrating by showing the movie in the same base theater, some 60 years later. Check out the Edwards AFB Facebook page for video from the festivities, including a classic car show in the parking lot.
I had the opportunity to do a presentation on TTU in the base theater last month before a special showing. Yep, I wish I was there again!
TCM will be showing Toward The Unknown November 8 @ 6 p.m. Eastern. Sure, you’ve probably seen it already, but record it on TCM HD and enjoy the sharpness!
Call me weird, but a while back I watched a newsreel from 1959, talking about the dedication of Kincheloe AFB. I’ve been to what is left of Kincheloe AFB (aka Kinross AFB) in Upper Michigan a few times, but could never find the plack and boulder seen in the newsreel. So, when my dad said he was going to visit the base on a road trip, I asked him to see if he could find it. I knew something that size wouldn’t just walk away. Well, thanks to some directions from the Kinross Heritage Park and Military Museum, he found it and snapped some photos. I have added a page to the site with photos and info, also accessible from the home page.
Additional photos from the base can be found on one of my old blog posts.
I just added a new page to the website for the Iven Kincheloe memorial in Cassopolis, Michigan, including Google Maps info. If you pass through southern lower Michigan, be sure to make a stop!
While many of us remember Capt. Mel Apt for his final flight on September 27, 1956, another flight was equally important two years earlier. Capt. Apt was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for helping save a fellow pilot. The story of flight was told in a 1956 Life Magazine article, available online.
On September 17, the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB opened a new display remembering Capt. Mel Apt and the Bell X-2. I had the honor of attending the opening, meeting Lorrie Epling (Capt. Apt’s daughter) as well as attend other X-2 events that day (which I will write more about later!). Aviation artist Mike Machat was also
Interesting fact: The flight suit on display for Capt. Apt was once owned and worn by Pete Everest. His name is on the inside of the flight suit.
It’s hard to imagine that it was 60 years since the Bell X-2 last flew. In September 1956, the Bell X-2 program flew higher and faster than anyone had ever gone before:
September 7: Capt. Iven Kincheloe rockets to a record altitude of 126,200 feet.
September 27: Capt. Milburn “Mel” Apt flys the perfect profile to reach Mach 3.196, becoming the fastest man alive. Sadly, Captain Apt lost his life in this flight.
On September 17, a small group of X-2 fans got together at Edwards AFB to remember the people and the program. I’ll be posting a number of photos and details from the event to the website over the next few weeks.
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