I have no clue what the story is that goes with the cover art (and since I’m female, I may never know since this is “for men,” lol) . Looks like the X-2 is now a fighter interceptor. From April 1957.
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.
Mt. Rushmore, Needles Highway, Custer State Park, the Stratobowl. The what?
Yep, the Stratobowl. A trip to South Dakota’s Black Hills is not complete without a trip to the Stratobowl – at least for me. This is where my husband’s eyes roll and he goes, “oh, that place again.” Located right off of US-16 as you enter Black Hills National Forest, most tourists drive right by, not knowing the historic spot they’ve just missed (just past Putz & Glow Indoor Mini Golf – I had to add that…).
The Stratobowl was home to a dozen manned research balloon launches from 1934 through 1959. The large depression was selected to help with the launches, shielding the balloon from wind gusts as it was prepared for lift-off. If you look at a Google Map of the area, you’ll know when you’re near: Strato Bowl Drive, Stratosphere Lane, Gondola Road. The bowl itself is private property, but there is a gravel public road that will take you to the bottom.
On your way there, visit the South Dakota Air & Space Museum at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City. In addition to having a great museum, check out their Stratobowl exhibit.
There is a series of granite slabs, each with the story behind each launch at the Stratobowl.
Airman Magazine has an extensive collection of photography on Flickr.com for download. Recently, they posted an issue from August 1957, including a blub on Iven Kincheloe being awarded the Mackay Trophy. Kinch earned the trophy for his altitude breaking flight in the X-2 in September 1956 :
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