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On This Day…November 15th.

15th November 1967 saw the only fatality of the X-15 program during the 191st flight when Air Force test pilot Michael J. Adams lost control of his aircraft which exploded mid-air over the Mojave Desert.

TBM-1 Avenger of VT-87 launching from the deck of the USS Randolph (CV-15) in the Atlantic on November 15, 1944.

Meanwhile, taken on the same day, a PBJ-1H prepares for take off during operations against the Japanese home islands from the carrier USS Shangri-La (CV-38).

Majors Thomas B. McGuire Jr.and Richard I. Bong. Bong and McGuire were the top two scoring U.S. aces in World War II with 40 and 38 victories, respectively; taken Nov. 15, 1944 in the Philippines.

On November 15th, ‘44 Lt Bob Elder made the first carrier landing in a Mustang. His P-51D Mustang was heavily modified and extensively land tested and today marked the first shipboard flights on the carrier Shangra-La (see above) for testing. From the ship’s log;

“NOV 15, 1944 1220hrs
Lt. Robert M. Elder, USN, made the first carrier landing of P-51 type fighter plane #414017, followed by three landings and four takeoffs all successful.”

Russian civilians digging trenches int the streets of Moscow in preparation for Nazi forces, November 15th, 1941.

2 additional images. Click to enlarge.

9 responses

  1. Great set, David.
    Those pictures of the USAAF planes taking off of the USS Shangri-La are VERY interesting. I guess when (then) Co. Doolittle & his group proved it could be done, they decided to try many more. Besides the added hook visible on the P-51 photo, I wonder what "heavily modified" things were done to the airframe / landing gear. I know Navy planes are really heavily strengthened for the shock of repeated carrier landings.


  2. I read in one of my Mustang books, may have been Roger Freemans', that the Navy ultimately had major issues with the design. The liquid cooled Merlin was probably on the top of the list, and the lack of folding wing. The Navy really liked the reliability of radial engines...and they had a great relationship with Grumman.


  3. Wow ! I always had an inkling to build a "what if" carrier based Mustang, I thought it might have been called Seahorse , I didn't know they had actually done it .
    Great set Dave.

  4. I think the coolant was a major issue, and some less for the carrier to store. It does look beautiful though.

  5. That PBJ-1H on the Shangri-La is a test, done back in the US at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Other than the Doolittle raiders, no B-25s ever operated in combat off carriers.

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