Flight No. 2-21-37
Major Robert White
Prior to launch, the only thing that didn't indicate it was working properly was the lox pump bearing temperature gauge. Aside from that, after we pressurized the tanks, the lox pressure went up to 65, relieved, and came back down. However, after I went to prime or to igniter idle the pressures were both down to about 45. The pump inlet pressure and the tank pressure were both the same right at 45. Everything looked real good and I went ahead and dropped off. Got a very good light immediately -- right up to 100%.
I didn't call on the countdown. At about five seconds, I turned on the launch light, then gave another quick look across the board that everything was good. It was time to go so I threw the switch. I think one thing that helped in getting the time off balance was the fact chase (1) had lost his radio completely and usually you get an indication from him of a good light or something like that. I guess a few people got a few seconds behind, but the climb out looked pretty good. As soon as I rotated, the sun was right in my eyes, I actually was flying the airplane with my hand up blocking out the sun to get a good look at the instruments. If that eye (camera) that was looking at me was working you will probably notice the shadow. As the acceleration increased, I finally gave up and let my head relax back against the head rest and then dropped my hand down. I thought I was flying according to the presentation and was getting a very good profile. I thought I was holding up beautifully the rotation angle of attack and the climb angle, so it was a little bit of a surprise to find I came out as low as I did on profile.
Radar altitude callouts matched the callout on my inertial indicator fairly well. This new clock is excellent -- I can read lt. I pushed over at the 46-second point and was going through about 5,000 ft/sec when the clock was going through about 70 seconds, with I thought, not much burning time left. When radar called low on profile, about the only thing I could do was to make sure I was holding 1°a instead of zero, but by then it was too late to do much about the profile.
The velocity at shutdown showed about 58 - 5900 ft/sec on the indicator as close as I can recall. It was a little surprising that the clock went by 85 seconds and I was still under thrust. I believe the clock had shown something like 88 1/2 seconds when the engine stopped. Shutdown was okay with no problem there. I looked out as per Bob Hoey's request and I could see the valley and the lakebed (Rogers). I reduced a and shut off the roll and yaw damper and gave a weak rudder pulse at zero g. On the speed brake call from ground control, I opened them up and then pulled on up to 8°a.
It was real fine at 8°a. The feeling was definitely evident that if I went above 8° the airplane would start getting a little wobbly so I figured if I could just sit there and hold on to 8°a without any problem at all, fine, I'd let it sit there; which I did. The indicator showed I had about 1° of right sideslip.
I think about this now in relation to that window going, it might have some effect. At one time, I did start to push in the rudder to bring the sideslip needle back to zero and this, of course, was going to have its influence in roll so I left it alone. However, even with that 1°, indicated sideslip, the airplane seemed to be trimmed up nicely. I didn't have to manhandle it at all. I could sit there at about 8° angle of attack and just ride along without any problems. I made a couple of small control inputs as the b needle passed the null a little bit. There was just no problem at all, but this 1° apparent directional out trim condition stayed with me all the way. When the controller called the velocity about 3200 or 3400 feet, whichever it was right there, I turned the dampers back on and closed the speed brakes. I did the pushover and pullup, decreased a, opened up the speed brakes, turned off the dampers and trimmed it back up again. I would guess at about 2.5 Mach number at 70,000 feet, somewhere in that neighborhood, when I said, "Good Lord, not again", that's where the right windshield panel went. I reached down and turned the dampers back on. I could see out the left windshield panel fairly well, and the lake was just off to the left so it looked like it would be real handy for a left-hand circle landing pattern. As I got down lower I realized I couldn't see out the right side. For all intents and purposes, the visibility out of the right windshield was nonexistent. I asked the chase plane to stay in close, thinking right after it happened that it might also happen on the left side. In that event, I considered going to high face plate heat when I got subsonic, jettison the canopy and see what happened from there. The pattern was as per usual, but on the final approach I was quite surprised at what a compromise it offered being able to see out of only one windshield. I thought it would be no problem at all, but I would estimate I delayed perhaps 2 seconds when I normally might be correcting the trim changes and taking care of the ballooning when the flaps went down. I let the trim change throw me back up a lot higher than I think I ordinarily would. I stayed on the side stick, however used it throughout the entire flight, and landed on it. I had a fairly decent sink rate the last 10 feet I suppose, then arrested it nicely before the touchdown so I think the landing was fairly normal, about 185 knots, and somewhere not too far short of the touchdown point.
The rollout seemed to be very good as far as direction is concerned. I did make a couple of corrections on the lateral control input to jog the tail end of the airplane into line and that seemed to be fine. I opened up the speed brakes kind of late in the landing. There was no smoke in the cockpit during the flight and aside from the windshield there was really nothing at all that I didn't expect. Everything else continued to work fine.
I guess we used
most of the fuel because the chase indicated there was only a wisp when
we went to jettison.