History Hour: Operation SAGEBURNER sets new speed record
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of United States Naval Aviation, the Navy sponsored a series of record-setting flights, known as Operation SAGEBURNER. The project was designed to set new speed records at low altitudes flying McDonnell F-4A Phantoms (F4H-1).
On August 28, 1961, Lieutenants Huntington Hardisty and Earl De Esch, United States Navy, flew a McDonnell F4H-1F Phantom II to a World Air Sports Federation – Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – World Speed Record of 902.714 miles per hour (1,452.777 kilometers per hour) over a 1.864 mile (3 kilometer) course at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. They flew BELOW 125 feet (38.1 meters) above the ground.
McDonnell F4H-1F, Bu. No. 145307, flying at extremely low altitude, August 28, 1961. (U.S. Navy)
An earlier speed record attempt, on May 18, 1961, ended tragically when Commander Jack L. Felsman, and Ensign Raymond M. Hite, Jr., were killed and their F4H-1F Phantom II, Bu. No. 145316, destroyed when a pitch damper failed which resulted in Pilot Induced Oscillation. This became so severe that the Phantom’s airframe was subjected to 12 Gs, causing it to break apart in flight. Both engines were torn from the airframe.
McDonnell F4H-1F Phantom II Bu. No. 145316, SAGE BURNER. The object on the centerline hardpoint appears to be a Mark 43 weapon. (U.S. Navy)
The world-record-setting airplane, McDonnell F4H-1F Phantom II, Bureau of Aeronautics Serial Number (Bu. No.) 145307, SAGEBURNER, is at the Paul Garber Restoration Facility of the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum.
McDonnell F4H-1F Phantom II, Bu. No. 145307, SAGEBURNER. (U.S. Navy)
Ramping up demand: European airlines in the post COVID-19 world
The current pandemic has sent passenger demand for air travel into a nosedive and many airlines are fighting for surviva...
Top 7 Must-Follow Pilot podcasts in 2020
With a rapid spread of digital technologies, people went from reading paper newsletters and books to listening to podcas...
Boeing 777 fuel indicator discrepancies prompt FAA directive
The Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive regarding the fuel quantity indicating system of t...
Wizzair receives its first A320neo
On May 29, 2020 Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizzair accepted its first A320neo aircraft. The next generation aircraft bea...
American Airlines A319 declares Mayday over engine loss
American Airlines flight AA387 from Guadalajara to Dallas, United States, declared Mayday after losing one of the aircra...