Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jackie L. "Jack" Ridley 1915-1957

The Flight Test Mission Control Center at Edwards Air Force Base is named for Colonel Ridley who lost his life in 1957 in the crash of a C-47 aircraft while serving on the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group in Japan. Ridley was a pioneer of aviation engineering, an innovator, and one of the architects of modern aircraft testing. He logged more than 2,800 flight hours in his short career. He considered himself proficient in the flying of the F-80, F-86, F-84, F-89, B-29, B-45, B-47, B-50, B-25, C-47, T-33 and X-1. He first served as a test pilot on the B-24 bomber. Ridley served as pilot and project officer on the X-1 project and as pilot and project engineer on the Air Force evaluation of the XB-47. At Edwards Air Force Base, Ridley rose from Chief of the Flight Test Center’s Test Engineering Branch to Chief of the Flight Test Engineering Laboratory. He established the basic testing techniques and philosophy of the Flight Test Center. He was appointed as one of the original members of the NATO’s Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development. He served on the flight test techniques panel from 1951-1956. Many of the techniques developed by his panel remain in use today.