Best pilot

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by renrich, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    If there has already been a thread addressing this question, please let me know but I would like to start a thread discussing the many opinions about who was or is the best pilot who ever lived. Some names I can think of would be Jimmy Doolittle, Erich Hartmann, Wiley Post, Chuck Yeager, Ernst Udet, Hans Joachim Marseille, Marion Carl and of course Charles Lindberg. What do youall think and why?
     
  2. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    As much as I admire like Erich Hartmann, I nominate Scott Crossfield; flew the X-1, the Douglas D-558 Skyrocket, and the X-15, among others. Test pilots have to be good pilots due to the nature of their jobs. I read the book he co-authored called Always Another Dawn, an autobiography, and was very impressed with his calm under pressure.
     
  3. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Wop May should rate highly amongst this group 14 kills in WW1 including "credit" for Richthofen , his many mercy flights to deliver medicine in the early 20's to Canada's far north in open cockpit aircraft , he was the first bush pilot learning to fly and maintain aircraft in arguably the harshest climate where if you flew in some place and the thing broke you fixed it yourself . He was instrumental in the forming of the BCATP , probably set up the first para rescue SAR teams in the world rescuing aircrew that crashed on the Northwest Staging route in WW2
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Captain E.B. Jeppesen - his work probably save millions of lives since the 1930s.

    Jeppesen.com - Making Every Mission Possible



    And let's get one thing straight. There's a big difference between a pilot and an aviator. One is a technician; the other is an artist in love with flight.

    — E. B. Jeppesen



    SoD - I could almost agree about Crossfield - I met him a few times - great guy; but his death baffled me. Here was one of the greatest pilots in the history of aviation and what does he do? He takes a C-210 and flies it into a thunderstorm!
     
  5. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I don't think you can come up with the "Best Pilot" considering all the air
    services, and the thousands of men involved. One guy may have been good,
    or "excelled" in one field (i.e. testing), while another was good in aerial
    combat. You might be able to compile a list, but I doubt that you can single
    out one individual.

    Charles
     
  6. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    I agree with Charles. Hard to come up with a "best pilot" beacuse there are so many different categories. Pioneers, daredevils, barnstormers, commercial pilots, test pilots, fighter pilots, bomber pilots, search and rescue, etc., etc., etc.

    But I will say that my favorite pilots are the many bomber pilots who brought back Forts, Liberators and Super Fortresses with horrific battle damage and wounded crewmen in airplanes that had no business remaining airworthy. :salute:

    TO
     
  7. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    Amen to that !!

    Charles
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I'm going to toss another Bush pilot into the mix
    Punch Dickins who also was a WW1 flying ace flying a DH9 bomber with 7 kills
    Punch Dickins became a legend in the Arctic; flying more than 1,000,000 miles across the uncharted north, often in treacherous weather conditions, with few landing strips, unreliable weather reporting and navigation aids nearly useless as flying so close to the magnetic north pole made compass navigation unreliable. Punch, like many other pioneering bush pilots, used dead reckoning and hand-drawn maps to plot his way across the north of Canada.

    Dickins was responsible for a number of landmark flights. He flew one of the first aerial surveys of Canada in 1928 in a Fokker Super Universal (G-CASK). On 23 January 1929, Dickins delivered the first airmail to the Northwest Territories. He was the first pilot to fly along the Arctic coastline, the first to fly over the Barren Lands in the Northwest Territories, and the first to fly the full length of the Mackenzie River, a distance of 2,000 miles, which he covered in two days. In 1930, he flew the first prospectors into Great Bear Lake where they discovered uranium, later required for the Manhattan Project. In 1936, Punch conducted a 10,000 mile air survey of northern Canada.
    In 1946, de Havilland (Canada) company surveyed 80 veteran Canadian bush pilots to advise on specifications of a future utility transport for use in northern and arctic conditions. Punch provided input ranging from specifying an all metal airframe, and the location of the battery removal hatch to providing doors on both sides of the fuselage for ease of docking. After consultation with company executives, Punch Dickins enthusiastically joined the de Havilland Aircraft Company as a consultant. His expertise in the aviation world was called upon as the postwar design of the Chipmunk trainer came into fruition as a production aircraft. In 1947, as Director of Sales of de Havilland Canada, Punch was instrumental in launching the Beaver bushplane

    Perhaps his greatest legacy to bush flying was his contribution to the remarkable family of de Havilland Canada STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) aircraft that have become the world leaders in this field. The DHC series of light transport aircraft for use in the north were heavily influenced by Punch Dickin’s experience as a bush pilot. The rugged little Beaver and its offspring: the Otter, Twin Otter, Caribou, Buffalo and Dash 7 aircraft have been employed world-wide in conditions as harsh and varied as tropical jungles and Antarctic expeditions.
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Marion Carl was also a test pilot after WW2. If I am not mistaken he was the second man to exceed mach 1 in the Douglas Skyrocket. Of course he was in the Marine defense of Midway. Was in a Wildcat and survived. My criteria for best pilot would not necessarily be based on courage in combat but rather an instinctive ability to fly and handle an aircraft. The ability to pilot many different types of aircraft would seem to be a real qualifier.
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I like this definition, and it seems that the test pilot community pushing the envelope at high speeds and altitudes all the way down to spin recovery, etc have to be first place to look.

    Crossfield and Yeager are at the top of my list - at the risk of being a lightning rod, his (Yeager's) skill as a fighter pilot coupled with skating on very thin ice with all the dangerous ships gives him the nod with me... remembering that personality didn't seem to be on the list.

    There are a lot of pilots that we probably don't know about over on the Sov side also but offhand I don't know of a/c like the SR71, X-15, etc that they had that REALLY pushed the envelope for both materials and ability to stay in the air - Hell flying the U-2 at max altitude where the stalling speed and max speed was only 5kts difference would be a whole new world for most of us...

    Lindbergh, LaVier, Bob White, Welsh and several others come to mind at a half notch lower and I can't really define 'why' - but they all were Giants in the Aviation community as pilots..

    Then the other questions - Kurt Tank, Edger Schmeud, Kelley Johnson, Uncle Willy M. and one or two more - who was the greatest Designer/Developer Giant?

    and where does a Bob Hoover or Paul Mantz fit in?
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Roscoe Turner?
     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Joe - another great stick and balls guy.

    Except for combat leadership and contribution he fits with Doolittle and Lindbergh and right there with Hoover and Wiley Post and Mantz on skill and balls

    Then we have a few women to talk about that fit maybe in both those categories - lol
     
  13. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    I'm voting for this guy...

    1st Lt. Lawrence DeLancey managed to get his B-17 back to England after a direct hit by flak killed two of his crew over Cologne, Germany.
     

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  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    You got to admit - he exemplified the image of a pilot!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Wow! You met Crossfield? Awesome!

    Yeah, one of the greatest pilots in the world, and he flew in harms way, apparently on purpose! And the 210 is no slouch; it's not like he was flying a 150 or a Cub or a Tripacer.

    They say the airplane came apart mid-air, so it must've been pretty turbulent up there.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    He would attend an annual meeting of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots - my father in law is a member, Always wore his powder blue suit! :lol:
    I think he was trying to "beat the storm."
    Thunderstorms usually are although there have been several 210s come apart in rough air in recent years. Because they go at a pretty good clip, many pilots forget about rough air penetration speeds when they encounter sever turbulence.
     
  17. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    What about Orvile and Wilbur Wright. They invented the whole business and I wonder how many people really would have been able to fly the Flyer I
     
  18. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  19. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Glad Paul Mantz was brought up as he flew many different types as well as some one of a kinds like the thing he was killed in, probably being inebriated at the same time.
     
  20. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    I have to agree with Adler and say Heinz Bär as well.... Combat proves a pilot, and the man proved more than any other in my book....

    And for the mix, how bout Jimmy Doolittle and his accomplishments???
     
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