3 photos from a test pilot’s personal files.
This set of three photographs shows the deliberate ditching of a B-24 Liberator bomber in James River, (Virginia-near Langley Field), which was part of a scientific experiment conducted by the Army Air Force. Reeder recorded the names of the crew on the reverse of one photo. This experiment took place in October of 1944.
The photos are from the Reeder files, and were taken by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics- Langely Memorial Aeronautics Laboratory. Very little thought is given to all the testing, and evaluating of aircraft and onboard equipment until it was turned over to the crews who had to fly them in combat.
3 8×10 glossy photos in very good- fine condition.
John P. Reeder – A pioneering NASA / Langley test pilot was born in Houghton, Michigan on May 27, 1916, and became interested in flying in 1923 when he saw his first aircraft, a WWI Curtis flying boat. He studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1938 and was hired by NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics – which later became NASA). Reeder was assigned to the full scale Wind Tunnel at Langley Field, VA, and later transferred to the Flight Research Division in 1942.
In his first year during WWII, “Jack” flew 19 new aircraft, nine of which were fighters. In 1951, he became head of Flight Operations and Chief Test Pilot. In 1958 he was named Chief of Flight Mechanics and Technology Division. Reeder was NASA’s first helicopter pilot and best known for his pioneering work in helicopters and vertical take off and landing aerodynamics.
Reeder’s most important contribution to aviation may have been convincing NASA management to pursue advanced transport operations systems, and concepts to enhance airport runway capacity and all-weather flight. Part of this was developing the 737 Flying Laboratory that flew from 1974 to 1997.
Jack Reeder retired in 1980, yet remained active in NASA until the early ’90’s, as a consultant to two congressional committees and to NASA Aerospace Safety Advisor Panel. he was inducted into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 1992. Jack Reeder was thought of by friends and associates as one of the finest test pilots in the world!
His collection of experimental, and fully developed military and civilian aircraft was exhaustive, many of which he tested personally.