October 21, 2015
Bob Hoey’s career at the Air Force Flight Test Center covered thirty two years (1955-1987). Among many assignments, Bob served as the primary Air Force Flight Test Engineer on the X-15. The X-15 was a piloted, rocket powered, research airplane intended primarily to explore the hypersonic flight environment where aerodynamic heating from friction can cause surface temperatures to reach 1200 degrees F. Often referred to as the most successful of the “X-Planes”, three were built in the late 1950’s, when the fastest production fighters were capable of achieving Mach 2 and 90,000 feet, the X-15 was designed to reach Mach 6 and 250,000 feet. Bob’s assignment required continual interaction with the test pilots, research engineers and subsystem engineers.
Bob will describe essential and unique design features of the X-15 as well as the test methods used to safely reach each of the design goals. Incidents and accidents that occurred during the first three years of flight will be discussed including the engineering test results and “fixes”. He will also summarize the 6 years of follow-on research testing.
About Bob Hoey
Bob graduated from the University of Washington in 1955 with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering. He earned an MS degree in Systems Management from USC in 1977. He served an Air Force officer and Government Civilian employee at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in California. He participated in flight test engineering for air vehicles and reentering space vehicles, spanning early stability and control testing of the Century Series fighters (F-100 through F-105), mission planning/data analysis for the AF/NASA X-15 flight to Mach 6 and 340,000 feet altitude, the first Air Force fly-by-wire flight test (F-4), the first AF digital fly-by-wire flight test (A-7 Digitac), the YF-16 prototype, and numerous “Lifting Body” vehicles.
Following retirement, Bob has served as consultant on many flight test projects. In 2003, he served as a consultant to Scaled Composites in the development of their Spaceship One. He also partner constructed a BG-12 sailplane, earning his Diamond Soaring badge in 1970. That airplane is currently on display at the Southwest Soaring Museum in Moriarty, NM. In 1979, he constructed a BD-4 (4-place homebuilt powered airplane) which he generously donated to PCAM in 2014.
In 1990, Bob began to explore the soaring flight of birds by using Radio Controlled gliders constructing several successful models of soaring birds. In 2006, Bob was presented the Spaceflight Award by the American Astronautical Society and in 2007, he was selected for the Kelly Johnson Award by the Society of Test Pilot Engineers.
NOTE: There will be no Monthly Member Meeting in September.
Location:Mesa Beverage Company, Inc.
3200 N. Laughlin Road. Santa Rosa, CA
Directions: From Santa Rosa, take Highway 101 North and exit at Airport Blvd. Turn left on Laughlin Road toward the museum. The Mesa building is located on the left side of the street a couple hundred yards past the museum.