LAKEBED LIFTOFF, limited edition of 850 prints, from a painting by Mike Machat. Print is 25 x 29 overall. Signed by the artist and Pete Everest, Jr. Brigadier General Frank Kendall "Pete" Everest Jr. (August 9, 1920 – October 1, 2004) was a U.S. Air Force officer who is best remembered as an aeroengineer and test pilot during the 1950s. He entered United States Army Air Forces aviation cadet pilot training on November 11, 1941, graduated and received a commission on July 3, 1942. Among his classmates in Class 42-F was future ETO ace Robert S. Johnson. After Curtiss P-40 aircraft training, he was sent to North Africa and flew 94 combat missions in Africa, Sicily and Italy with the 314th Fighter Squadron, 324th Fighter Group. During that tour of duty he shot down two German Ju-52 transports on April 18, 1943, and damaged another. In May 1944 he was assigned to a fighter squadron at Venice, Florida as an instructor. He asked for combat duty again and was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. There he was assigned to command the 17th Provisional Fighter Squadron, 5th Provisional Fighter Group of the Chinese-American Composite Wing at Chinkiang, China. This wing consisted of both USAAF and Republic of China pilots flying in mixed elements. He completed 67 combat missions and destroyed four Japanese aircraft before his plane was shot down by ground fire in May 1945. He was captured and tortured as a Japanese prisoner of war before being repatriated at the end of hostilities. Following a rest leave, General Everest was assigned in February 1946 to the Flight Test Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio as a test pilot. He took part in many experimental tests of the Bell X-1 and established an unofficial world altitude record of 73,000 feet. In September 1951 he was transferred to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and became the chief Air Force test pilot as head of the Flight Test Operations Division. During his stay at Edwards, General Everest tested the X-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; XF-92 and YB-52. He also took part in test programs for the F-88, 100, 101, 102, 104 and 105; the B-52, 57 and 66 aircraft. On October 29, 1953, he established a world speed record of 755.149 mph in a YF-100. General Everest test-flew the Bell X-1B to a speed of Mach 2.3 (2.3 times the speed of sound) in December 1954, making him the second fastest man in the world, Later flights in the Bell X-2 rocket plane established him as "the fastest man alive" when he attained a new unofficial speed record of 1,957 mph or Mach 2.9. The Douglas X-3 Stiletto was a 1950s United States experimental jet aircraft with a slender fuselage and a long tapered nose, manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Its primary mission was to investigate the design features of an aircraft suitable for sustained supersonic speeds, which included the first use of titanium in major airframe components. Douglas designed the X-3 with the goal of a maximum speed of approximately 2,000 m.p.h,but it was, however, seriously underpowered for this purpose and could not even exceed Mach 1 in level flight.Although the research aircraft was a disappointment, Lockheed designers used data from the X-3 tests for the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter which used a similar wing design in a successful Mach 2 fighter.
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