Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Explorers & Workers
  Astronauts flying time at selection

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Astronauts flying time at selection
Marc05A
Member

Posts: 10
From: Reims, France
Registered: May 2009

posted 03-07-2018 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc05A   Click Here to Email Marc05A     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anybody have a log of the flying time of NASA astronauts from groups 1 to 3 at the time of their selection?

I think that some of them had barely the required amount of flight hours when they applied (maybe Gene Cernan and Walt Cunningham)?

Buel
Member

Posts: 522
From: UK
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 03-07-2018 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Buel   Click Here to Email Buel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Rusty Schweickart covers this in his oral history where he describes how technically he hadn't got enough hours when he applied.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-07-2018 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are the numbers I found. The first number is the total hours flying time, and the number in brackets is the jet time.

The Group 1 info is from the 1959 press release. I found the Group 2 and Group 3 info in MSC Roundup newsletter issues.
  • Carpenter - 2800+ hours (300)
  • Cooper - 2300 hours (1400)
  • Glenn - 5000+ hours (1500)
  • Grissom - 3000+ hours (2000+)
  • Schirra - 3000 hours (1700)
  • Shepard - 3600 hours (1700)
  • Slayton - 3400 hours (2000)

  • Armstrong - 2400 hours (900)
  • Borman - 3600 hours (3000)
  • Conrad - 2800+ hours (1500)
  • Lovell - 2300+ hours (1600)
  • McDivitt - 2500+ hours (2000)
  • See - 3200+ hours (2300)
  • Stafford - 3500 hours (2500)
  • White - 2900 hours (1700)
  • Young - 2300 hours (1600)

  • Aldrin - 2500+ hours (2200+)
  • Anders - 1800+ hours (almost 1600)
  • Bassett - almost 2800 hours (almost 2100)
  • Bean - 2000+ hours (about 1800)
  • Cernan - 1400+ hours (1200+)
  • Chaffee - nearly 1700 hours (1400+)
  • Collins - 3000+ hours (2700+)
  • Cunningham - almost 2000 hours (1350+)
  • Eisele - 2500+ hours (2100+)
  • Freeman - 3000+ hours (2000+)
  • Gordon - nearly 2800 hours (almost 2000)
  • Schweickart - 1250+ hours (almost 1100)
  • Scott - 2300+ hours (nearly 2100)
  • Williams - 1800+ hours (1300+)

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-07-2018 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting seeing the numbers listed out like that, especially Cernan's considering his Bell 47 "flight discipline" mishap.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2811
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 03-08-2018 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any figures for Group 5?

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-08-2018 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The numbers given for the Group 5 astronauts when they were announced:
  • Brand - 2174 hours (1721)
  • Bull - 1634 hours (1424)
  • Carr - 1903 hours (1368)
  • Duke - 1736 hours (1472)
  • Engle - 3867 hours (2573)
  • Evans - 2372 hours (2084)
  • Givens - 3353 hours (2628)
  • Haise - 4760 hours (2096)
  • Irwin - 5468 hours (3780)
  • Lind - 1361 hours (1044)
  • Lousma - 1258 hours (1077)
  • Mattingly - 2582 hours (1036)
  • McCandless - 1435 hours (1339)
  • Mitchell - 2795 hours (704)
  • Pogue - 3344 hours (2509)
  • Roosa - 2758 hours (2406)
  • Swigert - 4469 hours (3503)
  • Weitz - 2510 hours (2207)
  • Worden - 1900 hours (1308)

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 1243
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-08-2018 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gen. Engle's name should include an asterisk with number of minutes flown in space per his astroflights in the X-15, although technically NASA considered him a spaceflight "rookie."

Skylon
Member

Posts: 232
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 03-09-2018 07:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's an interesting point about Engle, because I was wondering about Armstrong (especially since I was surprised he had such little time in jets)- how would the X-15 flights be counted? They aren't jets, they are rocket powered - a whole other class.

Since X-15 flights were measured in minutes, I also would be surprised if any X-15 pilot racked up more than an hour or two in terms of powered flight.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-09-2018 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Average flying times, from the Group 5 NASA news release:
  • 1959 Group 1 - 3500 hours
  • 1962 Group 2 - 2800 hours
  • 1963 Group 3 - 2315 hours
  • 1966 Group 5 - 2714 hours

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-09-2018 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
...how would the X-15 flights be counted? They aren't jets, they are rocket powered - a whole other class.
I don't think any counting method by NASA's PR department or rookie comments really mattered. There were only two X-15 pilots in the astronaut office and everyone who was relevant to selections (so not the PR department) knew exactly where that put you on the flight test totem pole.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-09-2018 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 17 press kit mentions that LMP Jack Schmitt had logged more than 1665 hours flying time.

star61
Member

Posts: 283
From: Bristol UK
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 03-10-2018 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That number of 900 hours jet time for Armstrong doesn't seem right. By the time he qualified in jets with the Navy and had a combat tour with 70+ missions, he must have had 300/400 hours surely? As a NACA test pilot flying chase and various tests himself, I would assume more than 600/700 hours in 9 years (including his Uni time). Could it be 1900 hours?

Does 1500 hours in non-jet seem reasonable? Not to me. Haven't got "First Man" to hand to check if it's mentioned.

AlanC
Member

Posts: 110
From: Scotland
Registered: Nov 2014

posted 03-10-2018 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AlanC   Click Here to Email AlanC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to "First Man", the numbers correspond with LM-12s post (Chapter 16, page 210).

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-10-2018 07:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by star61:
Does 1500 hours in non-jet seem reasonable? Not to me.
Groups 1, 2 and 3 straddle a unique period in aviation history. Prop, transition, and jet. Armstrong was very much a transition guy. He started in props. Flew jets in combat. Back to his favourite machine in the reserves — the F8F, a prop, then NACA. The quoted numbers are both reasonable and accurate.

Thing is people look at these hours and value jet time over prop time. Sure, during the transition jet time was important because they were different. Not harder, just different. If you can get past that it's not so much what you're flying, but what you're doing in that time airborne.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-11-2018 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Armstrong had amassed 1900 hours in jets by the time of his first space flight. From the Gemini 8 press kit:
He has logged more than 3,400 hours flying time, including 1,900 hours in jet aircraft.

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-11-2018 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well that seems to confirm the math.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-12-2018 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few of the Apollo press kit crew biographies mention helicopter time:
  • Apollo 11
    Aldrin - 139 hours

  • Apollo 15
    Scott - 188 hours
    Worden - 107 hours
    Irwin - 387 hours
    Gordon - 121 hours
    Brand - 326 hours
    Schmitt - 177 hours

star61
Member

Posts: 283
From: Bristol UK
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 03-13-2018 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I certainly wasn't valuing jet time over props. It just seemed even considering that period being a transition era, 900 hours over 10+ years of combat and flight test seemed low.

I assume maybe NACA test pilots just got fewer opportunities for hour building that service personnel.

Skylon
Member

Posts: 232
From:
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 03-14-2018 07:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skylon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
Armstrong had amassed 1900 hours in jets by the time of his first space flight.
It sounds like Armstrong really started sopping up T-38 time once he was in the Astronaut Office.

I really find these numbers interesting in the context of the reputations of these guys. Carpenter's lack of time in jets does seem glaring on paper. Glenn's 5000 hours flying, with a little more than a fourth of that in jets is a good reminder of his WW2 service — and age. Others seem to contrast with those reputations — Elliot See — whose flying skills have been questioned in the historical narrative of space flight had more flight hours logged than all but two members of his astronaut group when he was selected.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 03-14-2018 07:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The numbers for Jim Irwin are impressive in all three categories.

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-14-2018 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by star61:
...900 hours over 10+ years of combat and flight test seemed low.
Yeah, but there was about three years between his leaving VF-51 and joining the NACA High Speed Flight Station. I think most of his flying then was probably on the F8F.

And yes, I reckon NACA pilots didn't get that much opportunity to just go bore holes in the sky. I remember Milt Thompson writing about scrambling to build his cross country time.

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-14-2018 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skylon:
It sounds like Armstrong really started sopping up T-38 time once he was in the Astronaut Office.
It wasn't just Armstrong, I think they were all busy flying round the country.

See looks like a case of the old story that hours in a log book by themselves don't tell you very much.

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-14-2018 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM-12:
The numbers for Jim Irwin are impressive in all three categories.
Irwin was such a nice low profile kind of guy that I think people forget just how experienced he was. Don't forget he was a YF-12A test pilot (which was probably the next best thing to the X-15, but he never said much about it). Also he joined "late" having missed out on selection because of his T-6 mishap (if I recall correctly, long time since I read "To Rule The Night").

JohnPaul56
Member

Posts: 133
From: Montclair, NJ, USA
Registered: Apr 2010

posted 03-16-2018 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JohnPaul56     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Didn't know that Jim Irwin tested the YF-12A. Any photos of him in the aircraft?

oly
Member

Posts: 314
From: Perth, Western Australia
Registered: Apr 2015

posted 03-16-2018 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
...looks like a case of the old story that hours in a log book by themselves don't tell you very much.
When you consider the era in aviation that is being considered here and the type of aircraft being flown, 100 hours flight time needs to be put into perspective.

Take an X-15 test flight as an example. The time doing pre-flight activities, being strapped into the seat and sealed inside, and riding the B-52 wing up to altitude, this time is not logged. Only the drop, powered flight and glide time. I am not sure of the average X-15 flight duration.

Many aircraft being test flown by test pilots, or early jet aircraft, or high powered prop aircraft, were flown for relatively short durations. It would take more flights to clock 100 flight hours while doing 30 minute sorties than it would doing 5 hour cross country flights but your log book still shows 100 flight hours. It's the type of flying they accrue in that 100 hours that is important.

Jurg Bolli
Member

Posts: 872
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 03-16-2018 11:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The longest flight was #51 by Armstrong who overshot during reentry, it lasted 12 min 28.7 sec. The others were around 7-11 minutes.

David C
Member

Posts: 743
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 03-17-2018 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JohnPaul56:
Didn't know that Jim Irwin tested the YF-12A. Any photos of him in the aircraft?
Never seen any, but you'd think there would be some.

LM-12
Member

Posts: 2534
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 04-22-2018 12:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found a few numbers for the MOL astronauts re-assigned as NASA Group 7 astronauts in a 1969 MSC news release announcing the change (some of the total flying hours weren't mentioned in the release):
  • Bobko - ? hours (2100+)
  • Crippen - 2000+ hours (1800)
  • Fullerton - ? hours (4000+)
  • Hartsfield - 2700+ hours (2300)
  • Overmyer - 2500+ hours (2000)
  • Peterson - 2770+ hours (2400+)
  • Truly - ? hours (2500+)
MOL astronaut Lt. Col. Albert H. Crews, USAF was re-assigned to non-astronaut duty in the NASA-MSC Flight Crew Operations Directorate. He had "over 5000 flying hours."

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2018 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement