AFTER FLIGHT 1-22-37 PILOT, CMDR. PETERSEN
Pete: Everything on the preflight check was as advertised with the exception of the stable table; I guess the Doppler radar wasn't working. I was a little worried about it. We finally got some indications of velocity along about 25,000 or 30,000 feet, and my indications in the cockpit were pretty good after that. You only set altitude again once, didn't you, after that? Twice? Everything else on the prelaunch check list was good except I lost about 500 lbs of control gas pressure and I didn't know where it went. Is that when I went to prime? Did it take that much? Stop prime ran through the purge cycle. That button has been punched, I can guarantee you.
Okay, everything went fine. I am glad Jack got here because I have a question. What happened at drop? I'm sitting there; I thought I counted down; I don't know whether I was hanging on to the mike button or not; but I reached over and pushed the drop button and nothing happened. I leaned on it some more and nothing happened, and I had just about given up and was reaching for the mike button to tell you to drop me off manually and klunk.
Jack Allavie: Well, it was kind of interesting, I could tell that something was wrong. I reached up and touched the J hooks -- I was waiting for old Pete to say "launch me" when I took the wire off, thump, away he went.
Pete: I almost think I was off that switch when it went. I don't know. Well, anyway, it finally came off but I was surprised when it did come off because I had been leaning on it for it seemed like an hour or so.
It surprised me when it came off because I had given up. So I immediately grabbed the speed brakes and tried to light the engine. I finally got a hold on the throttle and it lit real nicely. It seems like less delay than there is down on the test stand for a ground run, and it came up just as steady as a rock and it came back and the chamber pressure stabilized out at about 350 pounds, and everything worked good. I didn't make my roundup like we had been doing on the simulator. It seems to me that the nose down trim as you are accelerating is greater, it seemed to me on the airplane, than we had been having on the simulator out here. And lt seemed to me that it takes a little more back stick to get the 12°; however, I did get up to, I think, about 2.4 g on the roundup, so they should get some strain gage data on that.
Everything worked real fine through burning. We were ahead of schedule on my velocity indicator all the way along. I was about 3 or 4 seconds late getting to 30°; we pushed over at 58. I hadn't noticed acceleration too much until I pushed over to zero g and then it really grabs ahold of you. I had been sitting there fighting it and I finally just relaxed and leaned back against the headrest and it was very comfortable. We were ahead of schedule on speed and I was indicating low on both altimeters in the cockpit.
I'd started to pullup on angle of attack a little bit and Neil called " coming level at 78,000" and I thought I was down about 70,000 ft. I got the angle of attack up to 6° by the end of the acceleration. We shut down by Neil's signal. I didn't look at my watch at shutdown, but l did see the velocity on my indicator was indicating 4100 ft/sec. I got the speed brakes out and as I got the speed brakes full open I noticed that when let loose of the speed brake handle, the suit was inflated. I hadn't noticed anything up to this point, as far as suit inflation was concerned. I looked at the cabin altitude and it was about 45,000'. I got the dampers off, and had intended to increase angle of attack with the dampers off. 6° angle of attack is where it set the whole time. I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to let the beta excursions in oscillation go beyond 5° and I'd like to keep them. down around 3°. I was 3° to 5° all the time with not too much success at cutting down on sideslip. The roll associated with this oscillation (lateral-directional) seems to me is less than we get in the F-100 for this simulated condition and less than we are getting in the X-15 simulator. Side-forces are enough so that if you just hang onto the stick and don't do anything you move the .stick enough as the result of the side forces to force the oscillation. I finally took a brave pull though, and let loose of the stick and it damped out. By this time I was slowing down far enough, and it is squirrely enough that I didn't feel that I wanted to increase angle of attack above 6°.
During this time there are some little columns of smoke came flickering up through the cockpit. This sounds like a broken record. I never saw above 45 on the cabin altitude and I got the brakes shut at about 2400 ft/sec on my indicator, which Neil called, I think, 2300. We were, of course, at a higher q than we had been on the simulator because we didn't get the angle of attack up as high. I was a little concerned, realizing this, that if I was off to the right of the track I had quite a ways to get home. The ADF however, did work in the airplane, it looked to me like the whole time.
QUESTION: Something about inertial altitude indications.
Pete: None except at the point where Neil called coming level at 78. I was reading about 70 and I didn't check it after that. Of course I was reading 20,000 on the ground (after landing).
QUESTION: Something about total velocity?
Pete: I didn't have any discrepancy, I just didn't get any velocity until the radar came in. It didn't come in until we were up to about 20,000 feet.
QUESTION: Did inertial velocity vary from radar velocity call outs?
Pete: I don't think very much. Not more than 100 ft/sec or so and this certainly would be in the lag of transmission time. He called 2,700 on the way up and I was just passing 3,000. We got the rudder pulse at 3,000 and the aileron pulse right after that. No pitch pulse on the way up.
QUESTION: Did your clock work.
Pete: Yes, very good. My times were right on what Neil's were. Everything worked well as far as I could tell. The only discrepancy that I could see was that I got in the cabin pressurization. On shutdown, the igniter ready light came on immediately and stayed on until I turned off the master switch in the pattern out here, or actually I turned the switches off going over to the master switch and it went off when I hit stop prime.
There is one discrepancy on the airplane and that was I let loose the landing gear handle after I dropped the gear and it flipped back and busted the tank pressure gage. Also, I was a little bit late getting rid of the ventral. I imagine there is a groove in the runway out there.
QUESTION: Did the ventral come off with gear or did you release it?
Pete: It came off when I released it.
Yeh, I forgot it and I didn't hear his first call and he reminded me again.
QUESTION: Did you use the side arm control?
Pete: No, I was practically here when I got to the point that I might want to use it. I had the speed brakes out full deflection from about 50,000' down to about 18.000' and some place in there coming through about 35,000' I got a pretty good little buffet. I had the angle of attack up about 10 or 12° or so.
QUESTION: Did you go to auto antenna?
Pete: I didn't go to auto-antenna until I was turning downwind here, and I didn't notice anything different at all.
QUESTION: About No. 2 APU bearing temperature?
Pete: No, didn't notice any rate. It was up at 18O after I had stopped out here and the other one was sitting down about 100. Not 180 but 160. That was on No. 2.
QUESTION: Cabin pressure?
Pete: Well, that's when I noticed it, and of course, it wasn't sudden, or I think I would have noticed. That's when it became apparent to me and I checked the gage and it was reading 45. I didn't watch it too closely, but I didn't see above 45 on that cabin altimeter which didn't give us too much pressure. I didn't feel I had too much pressure. I didn't feel that I was being penalized on the flight with what I wanted to do on the flight plan by the suit blowing up because it wasn't that tight.
QUESTION: About drop?
Pete: Well, I had just made up my mind that this was a waste of time. Now, whether I had taken my hand away from it or not, whether it was my intention or not, I can't really say. My hand was still over there someplace. I think I was still on the switch when it came off, but I had just made up my mind that this just wasn't going to work and that I was going to have to ask Jack to throw the handle manually. That was nice bunch of clear-air turbulence there going 42,000' or so.
QUESTION: Did you try to land at the 2-mile marker?
Pete: Yeh, I was shooting for the 2-mile marker. This was about 50,000 feet for 270°. I was a little long and I landed above 200 knots. Also, got the stick all the way back and I was opening the speed brakes, and I realized as soon as I started this that I should get the flap switch first but I went ahead to get speed brakes and then hit the flap switch. The flaps should have been coming up on the gage indicating about 170 or so.
QUESTION: About head bumper?
Pete: Yeh, I was
glad I had the bumper out, although you could have had your head back against