A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF MY CAREER IN THE AERO-SPACE SCIENCES (Part 2)

By Charles Roberts Hawks, Jr.


Recall to Active Duty for Korean War

Our CAA office was extremely busy during the period from 1946 into 1952. The Korean War was in full swing from 1950 and the airlines were rapidly placing in operation the new pressurized transports certificated through our office. For this reason I was very surprised to receive a phone call from my old Air Force boss General Craigie in March 1951 to the effect that the Air Force wanted me back on active duty in my old job "for a few more years". I told him I would be glad to serve whenever the nation wanted me. He made the necessary contacts with CAA Headquarters and soon I received orders back to the Air Force, effective April 5, 1951.

Back in the Air Force I was soon deeply involved in all the fascinating things going on in research and development at that time. All of the new airplanes were either jets or rockets. The coming thing in armament included thermo-nuclear weapons, rockets, target seeking missiles, inter-continental ballistic missiles, etc, plus incredible chemical weapons. Supersonic projects, including fighters and bombers, were all the rage.

We learned, to our surprise, in air combat in Korea that the Russian MiG-15 was in many ways better than our P-80, F-84, Navy Panther jet, etc. The heat was on to remedy this. [Note: the North American F-86, with its radar computing gunsight, proved to be the best weapon against the MiG-15.] Our office staff was larger than during WW II and we now had separate offices in strategic locations, such as the U. S. Naval Research Center, NASA at Moffet Field and the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena.

We still had lots of business with Wright Field, but our new boss was General Earl Partridge, CO of the Air Research and Development Command in Baltimore, Maryland. We now had a C-47 in addition to our usual C-45's and AT-6's to provide transportation and shuttle VIP's around.

I was sent on a crash refresher course to the Air University and Air Command and Staff School for senior officers. I was the only student in that class with a rank less than General or Admiral. I learned a lot about geo-politics and what to anticipate in the next 10 years all over the world, and the reasons why.

VIP Lindbergh

I had some fascinating visitors to our office. One day General Partridge called to ask me to meet and escort a General Lindbergh around my area. I was told that he was cleared for "Q" and "Top Secret" projects. The lid was off, nothing was to be held back. I thought I knew most USAF generals who I might have contact with, but I did not recall a General Lindbergh. I asked General "Pat" who he was. He laughed and replied, "You know, he is the first guy to fly the Atlantic non-stop in 1927". I spent the better part of two weeks escorting "Lindy" to all our project sites including Seattle, Muroc, Moses Lake, San Diego, Harper's Lake, JPL, and the various manufacturers.

Lindbergh explained the "General" rank to me: Just before WW II he had been a reserve Lt. Colonel. He had visited Germany, among other places, and had been received by Reichsmarshal Goring. He was presented with a special medal for his flight and had flown the Me 109 and several other German airplanes. He learned how much better they were than our P-36's, P-40's, etc. at that time. He made some speeches about how we should get going to catch up or we would be defeated if we got into a war with Germany. President Franklin Roosevelt got mad at him and rescinded his reserve commission. Lindbergh was heartbroken, but quietly did all he could as a civilian. He worked with NACA, P&W and others. He actually flew a number of combat missions in the South Pacific and had at least one victory over Japanese Zeroes in a P-38. [Note: Lindbergh had gotten himself sent to the South Pacific to show our fighter pilots how to conserve fuel on long over water flights.] The present government leadership (in 1952) felt an injustice had been done and offered him reinstatement as an Air Force officer with the rank of Brigadier General. He accepted and was told he must spend a two week active duty tour with the Air Force to complete this action. When asked what he would like to do, he replied that he would like to learn about the current research and development projects. They said, "OK, we will send you out to spend a couple of weeks with Charlie Hawks," and they did.

I found out he was still an active pilot and we checked him out in a C-45. After that he and I flew wherever we wanted, alone together. I told him I was a kid in high school when he made his trans-Atlantic flight and I thought it was great. Lindbergh was bright, interested and eager to learn all he could about everything going on. We shared hotel rooms and sometimes would talk late into the night.

Rockwell happened to have a ground test for the 3,000,000 lb. thrust rocket motor at Edwards Air Force Base (Muroc) and I arranged for him to see it. He was fascinated. I learned a lot from him, too. He told me details of his Atlantic flight, his survey flights of Greenland, across the Atlantic and all the way to Russia with his wife Ann in the Lockheed Sirius. Also about his experiences in the South Pacific flying P-38's and his home in Kauai. It was a rare privilege for me and we parted good friends. He was a terrific pilot and loved to fly, even a C-45!

Military aircraft projects of the period

Notable aircraft I worked on during this period include the Boeing XB-47 and XB-52; the Douglas X-2, X-3 and A-4; Lockheed F-94 series and F-104; Convair F-102 and Sea Dart, North American F-100; Hughes XF-11 and helicopter projects, Northrop YB-49, XP-79A, X-5 and T-38. Notable missiles included the Sidewinder, Maverick, Snark, Sparrow, Hawk and Atlas. I spent a lot of early mornings at Edwards, to participate in or witness prototype test flights which were made at sunrise, before the wind came up.

During this period "Chuck" Yeager, "Pete" Everest, Bill B______, Scott Crossfield, John Myers, Harry Crosby and many others were flying tests and setting records in very spectacular, but dangerous, aircraft.

Back to FAA again

By 1953 the Korean War emergency calmed down and I completed my active duty tour, returning to the CAA [Note: soon to become FAA] on April 4, 1953. I resumed my regular job as Deputy Chief, Aircraft Engineering Division, which I held until April 17, 1960 when the Division Chief, W. A. Klickoff died and I became acting Division Chief. I officially became Chief of the Division on July 10, 1960. I held this position until December 30, 1966 when I retired.

The turbine powered transports, both turbo-prop and pure jet versions, were in development from about 1953 onward. The FAA had to develop new safety design standards to evaluate these aircraft, which involved many drastically different problems from all previous models. Since all of these aircraft were being developed on the west coast, our office was directed to accomplish this. I was appointed field chairman of this committee, with most of the members chosen from our staff.

Contacts were made with NASA, the Air Force, the Navy, the U.K., the aircraft manufacturers concerned and the engine manufacturers to accomplish this. Several drafts were made, circulated to the industry for comment, and then suitable changes were made. In January 1954 we published the "Green Book," which included all of the new standards which had finally been evolved and agreed to. This was finally passed through Congress and became the law of the land. However, the last tedious part--passing through Congress--takes a lot of time. In the meantime, by agreement with the industry and the airlines, the "Green Book" was in fact the design criteria applied to all our jets and turbo-props. Boeing and Lockheed were actually building their prototypes during the evolution of the "Green Book."

The Boeing "Dash 80" airplane (a test prototype of the 707 airliner) was first flown on July 15, 1954. On January 7, 1955 Douglas decided to build the DC-8 and soon Lockheed developed the turbo-prop Electra and Convair developed the CV 880 and CV 990 jetliners. All of these were evaluated in our office. They represented the final practical step to provide rapid and safe transportation across all oceans and to anyplace in the world.

The first U.S. jet transport, the Boeing 707, went into passenger service with Pan American Airways on October 26, 1958, between New York and Paris. The other airlines and aircraft models soon followed. [Note: Other very well known jet aircraft certified by my dad's office, but not mentioned above, include the Boeing 720, 727, 737 and the Douglas DC-9 (later renamed the MD-80).]

Special Assignment to Japan

After WW II, the Japanese were prohibited from building aircraft. In 1963 this restriction was lifted and the Japanese developed a turbo-prop transport (the YS-11), a turbine powered executive type aircraft (the MU-2) and the N-62, a small personal type aircraft. All three of these were designed to meet our safety standards.

They requested FAA certification so that they could sell these worldwide. We had met with Japanese CAA representatives to assist them in understanding our complicated requirements. All three of their prototype airplanes were on flight test status and the Japanese CAA requested an FAA evaluation to determine whether they complied. The U.S. State Department directed the FAA to comply with the Japanese request. My office was made responsible for this. I chose five technical experts (including three Branch Chiefs) to undertake this mission with me.

This situation had never existed before, so the State Department conducted special meetings to brief us on Japanese customs, behavior, etc. so that we would not inadvertently cause an international incident. I was given the diplomatic rank of Lieutenant General (three stars) for the mission [Note: my father's actual rank in the USAF reserve at this time was full Colonel] so that the Japanese would not feel slighted by dealing with a low ranking representative.

We departed for Japan on May 18, 1964 on Pan American Airways. We were met by two black, chauffeur driven limousines with the U.S. flag on one fender and my three star flag on the other. Out treatment was ultra-deluxe. We were hustled directly from the airplane to a formal reception for us attended by about 300 people, including our Ambassador, Japanese government dignitaries and their engineers and scientists. On my left was the chief engineer of JCAB and on my right was Professor Jiro Horikoshi from Tokyo University, who had designed the famous A6M "Zero" fighter plane, the J2M Raiden fighter and other aircraft for Mitsubishi. They all spoke excellent English and they knew my history in detail. It was a great beginning. We flew all three of their airplanes and I participated in the YS-11 test flights.

At the end we presented them with a long list of items which must be corrected before U.S. type certification. Some of them were very expensive. On the YS-11 a major redesign was required to correct unsatisfactory stall characteristics. It cost over $30,000,000 and six months delay to accomplish. To my surprise, they were grateful for our comments and help and we all departed friends! I still receive Christmas cards from some of those people.

They did get U.S. type certification on the YS-11 and MU-2. Lugene and I have flown in YS-11's once or twice in our travels and the MU-2 is, at present, in production in Texas. [Note: The "Lugene" referred to above is my mother, Lugene Johnson Hawks. She and my father were married for over 50 years. My parents traveled extensively after my dad retired.]

Supersonic Transport

From 1960 on there was great interest in a U.S. supersonic transport (SST). My office was directed to study and develop airworthiness standards applicable to such an aircraft. The general design parameters established were to cruise at Mach 3 (approximately 2,100 miles per hour), at altitudes of 80,000 to 100,000 feet. We received applications for type certificates from Boeing and Lockheed. An enormous amount of time and money were spent on this program, especially by Boeing and Lockheed.

U.S. environmentalists vigorously opposed supersonic flights over the U.S. due to sonic boom problems and high altitude air contamination effects. The costs were high and the opposition politically overwhelming. Therefore, the airlines backed out and both Lockheed and Boeing stopped development.

[Note: the British-French Concorde SST was completed and remained operational in very limited numbers for some 20 years. Because it was much smaller and slower than the projected American SST's discussed above and due to the political opposition mentioned by my father, the Concorde was not a commercial success, although it enjoyed an excellent safety record. The Soviets designed and built the Tu-144 SST, which proved to have serious safety defects and was withdrawn from service after killing a considerable number of passengers in crashes.]

Large, Wide Body Transports

At the same time the SST was being explored, Douglas, Boeing and Lockheed became very interested in huge, wide bodied aircraft capable of carrying up to 490 passengers non-stop from Los Angeles to Paris or Tokyo. Again, new standards were required, and again we inherited the assignment.

The Boeing 747 was the first to go ahead and the preliminary Type Certification Board meeting on this aircraft was held in Seattle during the week of December 6 to December 13, 1966. I was the Chairman of the Board and it was a very important meeting. Many major problems were reviewed and decisions were made which determined the level of safety for this type of aircraft.

History has shown that we did a good job, because the Boeing 747 series airplanes have established new, very high, levels of safety and efficiency. Conducting this preliminary Type Certification Board was my last major contribution to aviation safety.

Conclusion

Statistics available at the time I retired showed that 85% of all civil transport category aircraft operated by all the countries of the world (outside of the Iron Curtain) were certified by our office. There were no fatal accidents by any U.S. scheduled airline transport category aircraft during 1966. That makes me very happy and proud. Since retiring, Lugene and I have flown over 417,176 miles, mostly in "my" aircraft models.

    C.R.H., January 30, 1988

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Copyright 1988, 2004 by Charles Hawks. All rights reserved.

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