Here's what everyone should know about the world-class piloting skills of Colonel Michal N. W. McCoy. After World War II broke, Colonel McCoy joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and served as a ferry pilot and instructor. He trained Canadian pilots in the old Hudson Bomber until 1942 at which time he transferred as a captain to the U.S. Army Air Corps. At this time, McCoy arguably had logged more flight hours than any pilot in the world. In June of 1945 while serving with the 315th Bomb Wing on Guam, Colonel McCoy flew 22 missions in B29 "Stratofortresses" " over Japan.
After the war. Colonel McCoy made the first successful Japan-to-Washington, D.C, nonstop flight in the 'Fluffy Fuzz,' a B-29. In 1950 he pioneered a 42-hour B-50 flight from the United States to Hawaii and back non-stop, proving the feasibility of an around the world flight in a bomber. He was project officer on the first around the world non-stop flight successfully completed by a B-50 bomber, the Lucky Lady I.
Colonel McCoy enjoyed the distinction of being the dean of Strategic Air Command’s B-47 "Stratojet"
commanders. When the United States Air Force made its decision to equip SAC with the B-47, it was
Colonel McCoy who took delivery of the first "combat type" B-47. He was commander of the first B-47 wing, the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida. Within two years he had formed, trained to combat-readiness, and led his original B-47 wing, the 306th, on the first successful rotation of a SAC jet bomber force to Fairford, England from MacDill. He and his team broke all existing speed
records on the trip over and when they returned, broke them again. On their initial rotation Colonel McCoy solidified SAC's position as a Global Force utilizing jet aircraft.
To assure that the B-47 would assume a truly intercontinental stature, he was instrumental in pioneering and developing the present system of aerial refueling now in use throughout the Air Force. His list of personal decorations included Legion of Merit. Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal.
Humans are fallible, yes, but this is not the resume of a show-off or of a pilot prone to making in-flight errors during air shows in which he routinely participated. Given the track records of corporate cover-ups, cronyism and corruption, it's hard not to suspect the dubious defects record that led to an inordinate share of B-47 crashes back in the day.
While the B-47's reliability and serviceability were regarded as good overall, there was a major problem with poor avionics reliability, normal in this environment given the vacuum tube technology at the time, and the need to place some equipment outside the pressurized crew compartment. Much work was done to improve avionics reliability, but they remained problematic throughout the B-47's operational life.
Starting in 1950, several models of the B-47 included a fuel tank inerting system, in which dry ice was sublimed into carbon dioxide vapor while the fuel pumps operated or while the in-flight refueling system was in use. The carbon dioxide was then pumped into the fuel tanks and the rest of the fuel system, ensuring that the amount of oxygen in the fuel system was low, reducing the probability of an explosion. Ten carbon dioxide tanks and heaters were involved. The system was implemented largely to reduce risks from static electricity discharges occurring during in-flight refueling.
Strategic Air Command B-47 Stratojet bombers, the world's first swept-wing bomber, had initial mission profiles that included the loft bombing of nuclear weapons. As the training for this imposes repeated high stress on the aircraft, the airframe lifetime would have been severely limited by metal fatigue, and this maneuver was later eliminated.
I will post B-47 crash info next.