Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Voodoo of Operation Firewall

Operation Firewall was an attempt to set a world record with the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. The aircraft used was the unique JF-101A, which had been modified to use the more powerful engines being tested for the proposed two-seat F-101B (visually distinguished by the longer afterburners), so it had a better thrust-to-weight ratio than standard single-seat F-101As. On December 12, 1957, 426 was flown by Major Adrian Drew and set a world speed record of 1,207.6 mph over a ten-mile course at Edwards AFB, beating the previous record held by the British (the Voodoo's record was later beat by a Lockheed F-104). Drew was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for the effort. A video documenting the flight can be seen here (clearly shot in those primitive days before ground crew wore ear protection!).

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