Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lt. Col. Joe B. Jordan 1929-1990

Joe Bailey Jordan was born on June 12, 1929 in Huntsville, Texas. He completed Air Force Basic Pilot Training and received his wings on September 15, 1950. He flew a combat tour in Korea in F-80s and served a tour of duty as an undergraduate Flight Instructor. He attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, and later graduated from the Air Force Fighter Weapons School in 1963. These two schools gave him the background to prepare him to make major contributions in the aviation sector of Flight Test, for which he was awarded the Clifford B. Harmon International Aviation Trophy in 1960, and in Foreign Weapons Evaluation in which he became the first American to fly and evaluate the Mig 21. He set world altitude record, reaching 103,395.9 ft, flying an F-104C Military 14 Dec 1959 Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA .

In late 1967 an Afghanistan pilot seeking political asylum fled to Israel in a Mig-21. A highly classified program was put together to evaluate the Mig's performance and stability characteristics and to determine the areas of the flight envelope in which the Mig enjoyed a tactical advantage or disadvantage when compared to U.S. fighter aircraft. This information was critical to the success of the air campaign then being waged in the skies over North Vietnam. Jordan was selected for this evaluation role because of his superior knowledge in flight-testing of tactical aircraft and evaluating their systems. He went to Israel to perform the initial evaluation on the Mig which was immediately used to modify combat tactics being used in Vietnam. As a direct result of Jordan's flight envelope evaluations in Israel, and in a continuing series of flight evaluations conducted after the Mig was transported to the United States, a classified training film "Project Have Doughnut" was produced. This film was used to train U.S. pilots in exploiting the Mig-21 vulnerabilities and directly lead to an enhanced combat victory ratio.