"HEY PARD, YOU'LL GET A FREE STEAK AT PANCHO'S TONIGHT!" Aviation Artist Mike Machat makes no secret of his special love for the post-war flight test era at Edwards Air Force Base. In this image, Mike has captured the special moment on final approach to Rogers Dry Lake when chaseplane pilot Bob Hoover keys the mike and acknowledges Chuck Yeager’s accomplishment that morning, winning the steak dinner at Pancho Barnes’ ranch by becoming the first pilot in history to fly faster than sound. General Yeager chose a landing scene for this painting’s subject, and a six-month research phase ensued prior to actual artwork production, to ascertain exact markings, configurations and such details as the exact pattern of liquid oxygen frost shown on the X-1’s lower fuselage. The artist flew approaches to the Edwards Lakebed, and made trips to Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., to observe actual X-1 aircraft firsthand. While much material existed for the first Bell X-1 aircraft, S/N 46-062, finding data on the actual P-80 chaseplane proved a bit more challenging. The Air Force Archives at Maxwell AFB, AL identified a special production block of 31 photo-recon FP-80 aircraft, with half the planes assigned to Langley AFB, VA, and the other half going to March AFB, CA. On October 10, 1947, FP-80A-5, SN 44-95477 was assigned TDY from March to Muroc for a “special project.” U.S. EDITION: 1947 signed/numbered by Mike Machat, Mr. R.A. “Bob” Hoover and BGen Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager. Overall Print Size is 24 x 28
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