On a hot day in October of 1967, a test pilot climbed out of a white NASA step van and walked toward the silver B-52 parked in front of the hangar at the NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He had made this walk many times before, but today was going to be different. The X-15 hanging under the right wing of the B-52 was waiting, surrounded by busy crew members doing their final pre-launch checks. Just a few hours later, they would all be tipping back beers at Club Muroc in celebration of a milestone achievement.
Each week, a popular TV show opened with the actual NASA footage of the aircraft crash that critically injures Colonel Austin. Every young fan of the show could quote the words that played out during beginning of each show. As a 10 year old kid, I would never have guessed that my paths would later cross with the guy who was actually piloting the aircraft in that famous NASA video. That’s right, I worked with the REAL Six Million Dollar Man, Bruce Peterson.
In this first installment of a new Round Six series, “The Unsung Heroes of Motorsport,” Alex and Brian sit and talk wall covering and disfiguring burns with Matte Glidden, the man tasked with keeping the retaining wall at Daytona looking crisp and clean. We’re going where no other automotive site dares to tread, and laying it on thick.
A few nights ago, I was scrolling through the menu of my Amazon Firestick and came across the classic 1983 movie, The Right Stuff. For folks who haven’t seen it, it focuses on two important landmarks in aerospace. The first is the quest to break the sound barrier and the second is the creation of the space program. The movie has a great cast, but there’s one actor that steals the show. Dennis Quaid plays the role of Gordo Cooper, one of the Mercury Seven astronauts. As the movie progresses, you quickly discover that Cooper is the funnyman of the group, and a bit of a prankster. Quaid serves up an awesome performance, and because of that, you instantly become a Gordo Cooper fan
Even at 12 yrs old, I already knew that I wasn’t going to grow up and be a stick and ball professional athlete. No way. I wanted to be a professional race car driver. I wanted to be Dan Gurney. If you would have asked me who my heroes were, I would have said, “A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Don Garlits, Don Prudhomme, and Dan Gurney”. I was a gear head, but among my friends, I was a bit of an anomaly. They could quote stats consisting of their hero’s batting averages, steals, and touchdown passes. I could rattle off elapsed times, top speeds, and the names of everyone in the first three rows of last year’s Indy 500.
Something happens to all of us hotrodders every January. Once the buzz of the Holidays are over, we all go through the Winter Blues. There a lot of reasons in play that add to this holiday hangover. First of all, it’s usually cold outside. It could be that you spent a little too much on gifts and you’re trying to get your finances back in order. Maybe the looming April 15th tax deadline hit home when your 2017 W-2 just showed up in the mail and you’re certain that you owe the IRS. You probably over-indulged on the cookies and eggnog and you just can’t seem to separate yourself from the comfortable confines of your couch. Your hot rod project is being neglected, but don’t let it get you down. Round Six is here to help!
In May of 2007, the aerospace company I am employed with was contacted by Marvel and the U.S. Air Force to provide an aircraft to use as a backdrop during in-hangar filming shots. Marvel wanted to have two of the most modern aircraft available, so they chose the F-22 Raptor and the RQ-4A Global Hawk. They got that and more, and we got to hang out with Tony Stark.
It may sound odd, but I had a 30 year period in my life where I was terrified to go on a road trip. Sure, I could do a “One Tank” Las Vegas or a Phoenix trip without any hesitation at all, but a LONG road trip? No way, dude. For that three decade segment of my life, I just flat refused to do it.
June 2nd marked the 47th anniversary of the death of race car driver and designer Bruce McLaren. Although he was only with us for a mere 32 years, Bruce McLaren left an impression that is still felt to this day. Sure, many of us have heard the name McLaren and associate it with either an exotic automobile manufacturer or a hugely successful Formula 1 team, but how many of you REALLY know who Bruce McLaren was?
In the history of the Indy 500, there has been many different eras of race cars. Cars with mechanic co-drivers, Miller power, front engine Offenhauser roadsters, diesel power, turbine power, rear engine Cosworths, stock block Chevrolets, Buick V-6s, Oldsmobile Auroras, Ilmors, Mercedes, the list goes on and on.