posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 01:18 PM
Where did this incident occur?
It is not unimagineable that someone rolled a passenger transport sized airplane. The most famous example is the time Boeing test pilot Alvin "Tex"
Johnston rolled the Model 367-80 prototype of the 707 jet liner.
Aviation artist Mike Machat describes the incident as follows:
August 7th, 1955, started as a routine test flight in clear summer skies out over Washington's Olympic Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. The sleek new
Boeing jet, prototype for what would become the famous 707 series, was being flown by the project test pilot, legendary Alvin 'Tex' Johnston. A
request from senior management had been passed to Tex to bring the Dash 80 down for a pass over Lake Washington, where the Gold Cup hydroplane races
were being held, as a number of important airline industry personnel were in attendance.
At the conclusion of the test flight Tex began a descent to maneuver for the flight over the Gold Cup race course. While the Dash 80 headed toward the
waiting crowd of some 250,000, Tex announced to his co-pilot, Jim Gannet, 'Jim, I'm going to roll this thing over the race course.' The Dash 80
came roaring across the lake at 500 feet and as he approached the race course Tex pulled the nose up and began a graceful barrel roll. Many of the
crowd hadn't even recognized what they had just seen when Tex repositioned the airplane and came back from the opposite direction, and DID ANOTHER
ROLL! Aviation buffs in the crowd were astonished but senior Boeing management was almost speechless. Many stories have circulated about what happened
after the event but contrary to rumors, Tex was not fired for his 'public relations' show."
I have seen the film footage taken by spectators. Very impressive, but not particularly dangerous as this was a 1g maneuver and didn't put any undue
stress on the airframe. For more information about Johnston's stunt and an actual photo taken by a passenger onboard the Dash 80, see the
Another famous barrel roll of a large aircraft involved a RAF Vulcan bomber flown by Roly Falk on the first day of the farnborough Airshow in 1955.