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01 OCTOBER 2000 
Record Setting Pilot Visits Museum

Col Joe Rogers and Ernie White holding framed portraits of -459 presented to the Colonel in a small ceremony during his September 2000 visit to the Museum.

F-106A 56-0459’s and her "assigned" Pilot & Crew Chief.


During the morning of the 20th of September (2000), McChord Museum was the stage for a pair of long awaited reunions. One gathering was for a group of men who served their proudly during the war in Korea, the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing. The other was between a pilot and his former mount, Colonel Joseph Rogers and the museums F-106 Delta Dart S/N 56-0459.     

In the first weeks of December of 1959, the then Maj. Rogers and –0459 leapt into the skies of Edwards AFB CA. during “ Project Firewall “, The Project was a joint Convair - USAF’s attempt to break the World’s Absolute Speed Record of 1483.84 mph set in the Soviet Ye-152-1, a modified MiG-21.

In two weeks of flying, Rogers piloted the F-106 to her limits. Unfortunately each flight was troubled by uncontrollable compressor stalls, causing violent yawing oscillations that nearly cost the Colonel his life.

On the 14 of December, after engine changes and adjustments to the aircraft proved to be unsuccessful in correcting the stalls, -0459  was pulled from the program leaving Col. Rogers attempt for the record in question.

In the early morning hours of the following day, another F-106A from the flight test fleet, S/N 56-0467 joined “ Project Firewall “  as a replacement for  –0459 . Later that afternoon on his first flight in the aircraft, Rogers easily flew the F-106 to a record breaking speed of 1525.95 . In fact –0467, flying with a stock engine, was still accelerating when exiting the official course boundaries !

For his record flight Col. Rogers was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross, the DeLavaulx Metal, and was the 25th recipient of the Thompson Trophy. Col. Rogers credits his record flight for his inclusion in many of the  top USAF aircraft test programs and for he being  selected to command the Air Force’s largest squadron, the 317 FIS based in Alaska.

A exhibit depicting the story of the “ Firewall Project “ and Col. Rogers very interesting Air Force career is currently planned for the Museum Gallery. The McChord Air Museum Foundation would again like to thank Col. Joe Rogers for his continued support to the project.

(UPDATE - Opening on December 15, 2001 the “ Firewall Project “ display is ready for all to see ! ! )  

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P.O. Box 4205
McChord AFB, WA. 98438-0205
e-mail - mamfound@mcchordairmuseum.org