PILOT'S FLIGHT REPORT
Flight: 1-24-40 Date: October 17, 1961
Pilot: Joseph A. Walker B-52 Takeoff: 1000
B-52 Pilots: Squadron Leader Archer Launch: 1057
Major Allavie Land: 1108
Launch Panel: Stan Butchart
Chase: Major White
NASA 1: Cdr. Petersen
NASA 2: Neil Armstrong
The objective of this flight was to increase the maximum speed to 5700 feet per/sec and, after engine shutdown, speed brakes extended, to establish the angle-of-attack which could be flown by the pilot with roll and yaw dampers off.
The powered portion of the flight was devoted to achieving the speed and altitude, however, the climb schedule was not followed exactly due to the pilot inadvertently going to higher theta than specified for the climb profile while making a heading correction and informing ground control that the stopwatch had not functioned at engine start. Aside from this there was no problem flying the climb profile.
A rudder pulse, immediately after shutdown with the speed brakes extended and the roll and yaw dampers off, was accomplished at about 3° alpha and the airplane was damped, pullup was then instituted and from about 5700 feet per/sec to 4800 feet per/sec, the airplane was controlled at 10° angle-of-attack nominal, utilizing a technique of flying the yaw rate using the ailerons. At this point, the roll yaw stability augmentation was turned back on, the airplane pulled up to 15° angle-of-attack and a rudder pulse obtained. Then the angle of attack was reduced, roll and yaw dampers turned back off, and the angle-of-attack increased once again to 10° and the aircraft flown from about 4200 feet per/sec to 3400 feet per/sec.
The beta-dot technique was used, no other control technique was attempted inasmuch as the beta-dot had to be resorted to immediately in order to hold the sideslip excursions down. These excursions were held within a maximum of 3° to 4° each side of trim. As a result the pilot is convinced he could maintain control of the aircraft to an angle-of-attack of at least 10° if it were required for emergency situation, such as damper failure on a reentry from an altitude mission, that is, with the speed brakes extended.
The objectives of this flight were accomplished. It was refreshing to finally make a flight on which no malfunctions occurred. The speed obtained was approximately 5750 feet per/sec. I did notice that it seemed more difficult to obtain the size and sharpness of lateral control input determined to be optimum when flying the ground simulator. Another problem that was attended to was that the airplane turned out to be out-of-trim later so that a small amount of left aileron had to be used to trim wings level. Our experience in the simulator showed that this particular condition actually increases the difficulty of the control problem involved with roll yaw dampers off. Therefore, once again, the results obtained on the flight were very encouraging since we did have about as bad a flight condition as one could expect and still were able to fly the aircraft.
The landing was made uneventfully. Rather than make a right-hand approach to the intended runway, a lower than nominal high key was made 15,000 feet above the intended touchdown point with a 270 overhead pattern constant turn. It was a very comfortable pattern and the airplane touched the ground 300 feet short of the intended touchdown point.
Joseph A. Walker
Aeronautical Research Pilot