Won the junior pilot aerobatic meet, barnstormed the country, operated two flying schools and competed in air races in the 1930s.
Entered in the Pacific International Air Races and captured the Championship Pilot Trophy 1938. Following that success, he took part in the grueling National Air Races where he won the coveted Greve Trophy Race.
Joined the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in 1941 and Assigned to Lockheed’s Flight Test Department in 1942.
Worked as a test pilot for the P-38 Lightning where he perfected its hydraulic boosted control system, tested dive flaps that enable a pilot to maintain control in full power dives, learned to fly on one engine, performing acrobatics at low altitudes.
Became Project Test Pilot on Lockheed’s XP-80 Shooting Star, America’s first operational jet fighter, in 1944 and was later appointed Lockheed’s Chief Test Pilot in 1945.
Invented the Automatic Wing Stores Release System in 1951, and the Master Caution Warning Light System, both universally adopted.
Made the first flight of the supersonic XF-90 penetration fighter in which he would later break the sound barrier- a personal first.
Authored A Pilot’s Report on Supersonic Flight.
Became the first man to exceed 1000 miles per hour while test flying the XF-104 Starfighter in 1954.
Flight tested the XF-104 Starfighter, the T-33B trainer, and the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft and made several safety improvements to supersonic fighters
Became Lockheed-California’s Director of Flight Operations.
Piloted a Lockheed “Tristar” from California to Washington, D.C. on the first completely automatic flight of a commercial plane.
Made the first test flight of 20 different aircraft and flew over 240 different types.