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  Space Cover 161: Yeager Flown X-1A Cover, 1953

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 161: Yeager Flown X-1A Cover, 1953
stevedd841
Member

Posts: 195
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 05-13-2012 07:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 161 (May 13, 2012)

Above: A flown cover for Chuck Yeager's Mach 2.4 flight in USAF Bell aircraft 48-1384, December 12, 1953, over Edwards Air Force Base, California, is shown in excellent condition after being found in a box of low end space covers going to auction. Refer to volume 2 of the Ellington-Zwisler Rocket Mail Catalog, 1973, United States, EZ-73, for additional information concerning this pilot signed, flown, rocket powered X-1A aircraft cover.

Space Cover #161: Chuck Yeager X-1A Flown Cover, Dec. 12, 1953

A surprising flown X-1A cover signed by U.S. Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager was recently found and of interest to the Space Cover of the Week community. The Yeager pilot signed cover was flown on his high-Mach rocket plane flight, December 12, 1953, over Edwards Air Force Base, California. Yeager was flying this fourth and final X-1A speed record attempt, hoping to beat test pilot Scott Crossfield's Mach 2.005 speed record set in the Douglas Skyrocket only three weeks earlier.

The USAF Bell X-1A aircraft was powered by a hot, uprated 8,000 pound thrust XLR-11 rocket engine. At the time of Yeager's epic flight, there was no possibility of pilot egress nor was there a pilot ejection means to bail out. Safety had taken a back seat to the test pilot's mission of testing the operational capability of the rocket plane for this flight.

After launch on December 12, 1953, under rocket power, Yeager quickly climbed to 62,000 feet altitude over Edwards Air Force Base, California. Leveling out at 76,000 feet altitude at a speed of Mach 1.9, Yeager went to full thrust pushing his aircraft forward to Mach 2.44 on rocket power at 1,650 miles per hour. After throttling back and cutting his rocket engine, Yeager's X-1A aircraft began a slow roll and yaw to the left. As Yeager corrected for the anomaly, his aircraft then rolled sharply right. With a subsequent correction, his aircraft snapped back to the left and then began to tumble violently, out of control. In test pilot language, Chuck Yeager was in deep trouble, and he knew it. He was experiencing something new at hypersonic speed in the X-1A. The inflight phenomenon would later be known as "inertial coupling."

Yeager's aircraft was snapping, rolling, and spinning about all three flight axes as he plummeted through 50,000 feet altitude. He lost consciousness, unable to break out of his death spiral back to Earth. And then, inexplicably at 25,000 feet altitude, he regained consciousness and was able to do something almost impossible. He was able to break out of the aircraft's inertial coupling and was able to bring the X-1A back under his control. After landing and successfully completing his flight, Yeager again had made his mark as a legendary test pilot, who in a dire, inflight emergency was able to save his experimental, rocket powered aircraft and himself. His X-1A flight to Mach 2.44, wresting it from certain failure, and bringing it back under control and unbelievable success on December 12, 1953, over Edwards Air Force Base, California, indeed, may have been Chuck Yeager's finest hour.

And in an accumulation in a box of Skylab, space shuttle, rocket engine test, and recent unmanned space satellite covers proceeding to auction, was this incredible flown X-1A cover, signed by pilot Chuck Yeager on his aircraft's test flight date, December 12, 1953, Edwards Air Force Base, California.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1279
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-13-2012 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW!!! Congratulations Steve! I've been hunting for that cover (and/or the owner of that cover) for years! And all along it was hiding in a box of Shuttle stuff...

LM1
Member

Posts: 453
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 04-07-2014 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A recent episode of Pawn Stars featured the PSA Graded cover shown here. It was called a "First Day Cover" but Corey recognized it as an event cover. The event was the 25th Anniversary of the 1st Supersonic Flight by Col. Chuck Yeager.

The cover is autographed and dated by Yeager. Corey stated that the cachet was a USPS cachet. Apparently it is a DuBeau cachet by space cover servicer Ray DuBeau. The cover sold for $200 because of the autograph. Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager is now 91.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1402
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-07-2014 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw that show, too, and Corey went gaga over the cover and did buy it for $200. It's not an especially significant cover and Yeager was as good a signer as Glenn for many years. In my opinion, Corey paid about $150 too much for this, although with the proper hype, he could make a profit from an easily impressed walk-in.

LM1
Member

Posts: 453
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 04-07-2014 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that the cover may be overpriced, but if it is framed with a great photo of Chuck Yeager above it, it should sell well.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1402
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-07-2014 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it was matted and framed well and the end result was impressive and it should sell for over $100. But as far as just the significance and rarity of the signed cover, nothing very special in my opinion. It's a good example of the matting/framing being more expensive/costly than the object it presents.

LM1
Member

Posts: 453
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 04-07-2014 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If they added a few Yeager-related covers (perhaps 6) it would add to the value of the framed photo. Here is one such cover that they could use:

albatron
Member

Posts: 2173
From: Stuart, Florida, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 04-07-2014 06:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Bob, he paid about $150 too much. While the presentation is very nice, if he had added Hoover and Cardenas at a minimum, it might approach the $200 mark.

Al

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