Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Aviation chatter - For ALL Pilots and Aviation Enthusiasts

Moderator: Moderators

Mfezi
Reaching GFA
Posts: 264
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:07 pm
Closest Airfield: FAKT
Location: South Africa
Has liked: 26 times
Been liked: 16 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by Mfezi » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:34 pm

HJK 414 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:02 am
Chalkie wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:43 pm
Off subject, I know, but another good test pilot came to mind.

Who was the first person to break the speed of sound? He dit it 2 weeks before Yeager and again on the day, 20 minutes before Yeager.

Today history has been corrected. Yeager was the first to break the speed of sound in level flight.

Chalks

You have lost me ………. who are you talking about ?

JK
I believe Chris71 gave the answer. Welch's claim is contentious but well within the realm of possibility - to such an extent that Yeager's feat is often qualified as "first to officially break the sound barrier" or "first to break the sound barrier in level flight" or "in a climb".
User avatar
cage
Niner Tousand
Niner Tousand
Posts: 9922
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:47 am
Closest Airfield: FAGC
Location: ..for the grass 35
Has liked: 13 times
Been liked: 258 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by cage » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:34 pm

Come on.
Anyone can fly a fixed wing aircraft.
Let’s not forget Ivor Sikorsky or Arthur Young - they didn’t just design a new type of aircraft they also had to learn how to fly it as they went along (and wearing a hat nogal)!
:D
These users liked the author cage for the post:
MadMacs
Jean Crous
Tree Tousand
Tree Tousand
Posts: 3172
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:10 pm
Closest Airfield: FASX
Location: Barrydale Western Cape
Has liked: 140 times
Been liked: 65 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by Jean Crous » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:36 pm

cage wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:34 pm
Come on.
Anyone can fly a fixed wing aircraft.
Let’s not forget Ivor Sikorsky or Arthur Young - they didn’t just design a new type of aircraft they also had to learn how to fly it as they went along (and wearing a hat nogal)!
:D
True....true, there`s a thought 8) They sure had the brass cahoonahs for it, and wearing a hat to top it all :wink:
Jean.
Cubby Aircraft Factory
Suppliers of Nitrate, Butyrate, adhesive, Fabric.
New front seat solo Cubby Renegade
Cell : 072 6716 240
Email: cubbyaircraftfactory@gmail.com
The Hun
Taxiing
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 9:24 pm
Closest Airfield: Silver Creek
Location: Mooinooi
Has liked: 29 times
Been liked: 13 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by The Hun » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:03 pm

I think Hanna Reitsch should make it into the list.
First woman to fly a Helicopter.
First woman to fly a Jet
First woman to fly a rocket powered plane
Held several gliding records.


Roland Raible
User avatar
Chalkie
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1426
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:19 am
Closest Airfield: FAPX
Location: In RV Eden.
Has liked: 31 times
Been liked: 124 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by Chalkie » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:14 pm

HJK 414 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:02 am
Chalkie wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:43 pm
Off subject, I know, but another good test pilot came to mind.

Who was the first person to break the speed of sound? He dit it 2 weeks before Yeager and again on the day, 20 minutes before Yeager.

Today history has been corrected. Yeager was the first to break the speed of sound in level flight.

Chalks

You have lost me ………. who are you talking about ?

JK
George Welch. He was one of the pilots who managed to get airborne at Pearl Harbour. (Just for info)

The National Air and Space Museum printed an article in their magazine in the 80's about his flights in the XF-86 (Prototype of the F-86 Sabre) Jeff Birch gave me a copy of this article, but I am unable to find it today. I have tried to Google the original article, but Wiki always comes up. Here is the link to Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Welch_(pilot)

In short, he asked the design engineers what would happen if at FL310 he put the XF-86 in a full power dive? They said he would be supersonic by FL290. Well that did not happen so he kept on pushing down till he went supersonic at about FL260. He broke a few windows and was grounded. Bell HAD to be first...

History had to be 'corrected' when his claim was acknowledged, hence Yeager is now credited with being the first to exceed Mach 1 in level flight. This is fact as recorded by the National Air and Space Museum.
These users liked the author Chalkie for the post:
excolonial
Rule #2 Hurry up Slowly.
Cynic: One who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
User avatar
HJK 414
Fife Thousand feet
Fife Thousand feet
Posts: 5389
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:34 pm
Closest Airfield: EHTW
Location: wandering ...
Has liked: 49 times
Been liked: 260 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by HJK 414 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:40 pm

Interesting

Thx Chalks...….

JK
The wisest mind has something yet to learn. ...
User avatar
biffvj
Power on stall
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:29 pm
Closest Airfield: Polokwane Civil
Location: Polokwane
Has liked: 18 times
Been liked: 28 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by biffvj » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:21 pm

Hans-Ulrich Rudel
A true friend has the guts to tell you what you need to hear.
Kevin McCormack
Rolling
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 2:29 pm
Closest Airfield: Heidelberg [FAHG]
Location: Heidelberg, Gauteng
Has liked: 7 times
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by Kevin McCormack » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:26 am

Hard to be limited to one but agree Eric Brown, Bob Hoover, Guy Gibson, Group Captain Cheshire, all right up there and would also include Richard Bach.
Life is short - live every day as if it is your last!
eddy
Rolling
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:54 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 5 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by eddy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:05 pm

Kevin McCormack wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:26 am
Hard to be limited to one but agree Eric Brown, Bob Hoover, Guy Gibson, Group Captain Cheshire, all right up there and would also include Richard Bach.

Bob Hoover's exhibitions speak for themselves and it helps that he flew in the digital age so that his abilities could be share with the broader public.

617 Squadron flew some heroic missions and Gibson and Cheshire deserve credit, but probably for leadership and bravery rather than for flying skills alone.

Brown was remarkable not only for his exploits but also for his low profile outside of his chosen filed. He flew 487 different types : glider, fighter, bomber, airliner, seaplanes, helicopters (often the first to do so). He had over 2000 carriers landings - again developing techniques and landing new types (incl. 1st twin, first Jet, etc.) writing the book for others to follow.

He changed planes so often that he kept a loose-leaf folder, meticulously handwritten, of all the different cockpit layouts, hydraulics and emergency drills, to try to keep on top of things

He had no computers or simulators to model or practice the flight. He studied the technical specs of new types, and calculated his flying approach. In 1945 at the start of rotor wing aircraft development, he learnt to fly a helicopter (Sikorsky R-4B) from a book. That he did this for 3 decades without killing himself meant he was pretty good at his job.

That he was selected to fly and evaluate every German plane as the war ended and they fell into Allied hands speaks to his skill and the regard he was held. He flew everything from the Ju52 to the ME163 rocket plane and had a lifetime of firsts in aviation.

He was the leader in transonic flight testing in the UK and was designated to fly the British M52 supersonic plane and designated as 1st British sub-orbital space astronaut.

One anecdote I recall from his biography was when he was called in to be asked whether it would be possible to land a Mosquito on a carrier. He doubted it very much but said that he supposed that it COULD be done and when asked whether he would do so and said that he would attempt it, was told: "Good. The chap we had doing the tests, killed himself this morning in the process." After meticulous preparation on a deck pained on a runway, he managed it.

For his range of exploits, the range of aircraft he flew, the conditions he flew them in, and the decades he flew them (from Swordfish to Buccaneers) - he must be the most "capable" pilot - not the flashiest, but the most capable.
These users liked the author eddy for the post (total 3):
TCJean Crousjimdavis
excolonial
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1946
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:09 pm
Closest Airfield: komani
Location: East Jalalabad on the Straits.
Has liked: 115 times
Been liked: 37 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by excolonial » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:53 pm

nigelp wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:56 pm
The Wright brothers !Both of them . Without peer at that time. If we are talking powered flight that is...
Scammers and hucksters rather than pioneers depending on who you believe.... Perhaps a special mention for that?
The older I get, the more I am convinced that "A Confederacy of Dunces" is non fiction.
G-FASH
Aircraft in Hangar
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:11 pm
Closest Airfield: FASH
Location: HOUT BAY
Has liked: 2 times
Been liked: 5 times

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by G-FASH » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:35 pm

Sit back and enjoy these chaps and chapesses. D.P Davies certainly deserves a mention amongst these greats.....Handling the Big Jets anyone?

https://www.aerosociety.com/news/audio- ... -brabazon/

https://www.aerosociety.com/news/audio- ... oeing-727/

https://www.aerosociety.com/news/audio- ... v-bombers/
L1011 -PFM
User avatar
Tailspin2001
Airspeed active
Posts: 191
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:57 am
Closest Airfield: FASH
Location: FASH
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Who was the most capable pilot ever...?

Unread post by Tailspin2001 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:41 pm

I would think that Sailor Malan has to be up near the top, he served from the start of WW2 and managed to survived. One of the highest scoring aces of the Battle of Britain and the best of all.......he was a South African!! He came up with the following:


TEN OF MY RULES FOR AIR FIGHTING

Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of one to two seconds only when your sights are definitely "ON".
Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of your body: have both hands on the stick: concentrate on your ring sight.
Always keep a sharp lookout. "Keep your finger out".
Height gives you the initiative.
Always turn and face the attack.
Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.
When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as a top guard.
INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE, and TEAMWORK are words that MEAN something in Air Fighting.
Go in quickly – Punch hard – Get out!
These users liked the author Tailspin2001 for the post:
MadMacs
Use the P6 program: Prior Planning Prevents P*ss Poor Performance

Return to “General Aviation Chatter”