U.S. Naval Test Pilots at Mojave Airport
For the past 21 years, in March and September, we have invited the graduating class of the Navy Test Pilot School from Patuxent River, MD, over to the hangar for a barbecue when they are in the area flying gliders in Tehachapi and exchanging rides with the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. They visited our hangar just a few days ago! The Air Force TPS joined in the fun, too.
Roy Martin kept these young pilots captivated recalling his experiences flying F-4 Phantoms over Southeast Asia during Operation Linebacker and Operation Linebacker II towards the end of the Vietnam War.
Roy is a distinguished graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School in 1975. He was the Chief Test Pilot for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems West Region, now retired and was the Unmanned Vehicle Operator for the X-47A Pegasus flight tests. He was the Test Pilot for the F-5E Shaped Sonic Boom Demo Flight Test Program and Fellow and Past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).
Roy earned his BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from Parks College of St. Louis University and MS degree in Aero and Astro Engineering from Stanford University. He has Forty-five years flying experience with over 10,800 flight hours in over 70 aircraft types.
Back in 1997, our friend Mike Patlin had set up a program for the pilots to fly in some civilian planes, as well. One of the planes was a 1942 Boeing Stearman owned by retired United Airlines Captain, Hartley Folstad of Chino, Calif.
Hartley had flown over 20,000 plus hours and his flying background included working as an airline pilot, movie stunt pilot, air show performer and military pilot. His air show act included a delightful and talented young woman who had an unusual occupation of wing-walking!
The wing walker is Margaret Stivers, now married to Hartley, had over 200 hours wing walking experience at the time and she has been featured in national and international film projects. This unique team would synchronize the artistry of Margaret's wing walking with the flying talents of Hartley.
Margi performed a creative routine uniquely combining physically challenging gymnastic poses while the plane was doing aerobatics. The goal of the team was to rekindle the excitement of the barnstorming era and pay tribute to those aviation pioneers who dared to venture into the new world of flight.
Designed by Lloyd Stearman, Boeing Aviation started building Stearmans in 1933. During World War II, the Stearman Kaydet (as it was officially named) was the only American aircraft used by both the Army Air Corps and the Navy. After the war, Stearman's were refitted with a Pratt & Whitney R-985, 450 h.p. engine. For added reliability, while doing aerobatics and wing walking, an injected fuel system and provisions for uninterrupted fuel and oil supply while inverted have also been added, making this plane at home right side up or upside down.
Hartley and Margi just love to fly and own several Stearmans, as well as a Fokker DR1 (Triplane) replica. They keep their aircraft at Chino Airport, but live near Wrightwood.
See you on our next flight!