Earned his aircraft, Engine Mechanic’s, and Limited Commercial Pilot’s license all by the age of twenty. He would later earn his Transport Pilot’s license and Flight Instructor rating
Purchased a biplane to establish his own successful barnstorming operation.
Served as a Civilian Pilot Training flight instructor.
Joined the Army Air Corps Ferry Command following Pearl Harbor and began ferrying new military aircraft from the factory to their destinations.
Began his career at Bell Aircraft in 1942 as a production and experimental test pilot where he flew the P-39 Airacobra, the V-tailed YP-63, the P-47, the P-51 Mustang, and the captured German Focke-Wulf FW-1 90.
Selected for the top-secret XP-59A Airacomet project testing America’s first jet aircraft.
Worked on the developmental problems of the L-39, the first experimental 35 degree swept-wing airplane to fly in the U.S..
Won the prestigious Thompson Trophy as well as the Allegheny Luddlum Cup in 1946 for establishing a new world speed record for closed course air racing, 373.908 MPH.
Became the second pilot to fly the Bell X-1, and grounded it for relocation of the longitudinal trim control switch and a 20% reduction in the longitudinal trim rate and increased windshield defogging before it went supersonic under the reigns of Captain Chuck Yeager.
Began working for Boeing in 1949 and was the project test pilot for the XB-47, the world’s first swept-wing jet bomber and for the XB-52.