I was civilian instructor/pilot cum college student working a second job as a night shift QC inspector on the F-8 IRAN line in the late 60's. (Busy guy for sure, but I loved being in and around airplanes.)My daily commute from the gate to my work station took me by the XC-142 mockup. It was in pretty bad shape being wooden and parked outdoors, but I did manage to "log" a few hours of ground simulator time after swatting my way past the resident spider colony.
Tom Humphrey, e-mail, 21.12.2020 06:35
Joe I knew your dad at LTV and my wife flew with your aunt Betty at Braniff. I have an interesting story about your dad when I first met him. If you like send me a reply and I'll share it with your. Best regards Tom Humphrey
Joseph Engle, e-mail, 26.09.2020 02:10
Yep, I’m your cousin.
Ralph, Ralph I screamed... my sister and I still laugh at that line.
Joe Pires, 03.05.2020 20:05
Tail number on aircraft that was tested aboard BENNINGTON CVS-20 in May of 1966 was 25925. Was flown by the Captain of our ship Rodney Howell.
I’m the historian for the USS BENNINGTON CV/CVA/CVS-20 and its PACT organization.
Anonymous, 03.05.2020 19:51
Gary - any way of sending me a quick video online of that? I’m the historian of the USS BENNINGTON CVS-20 and she did her initial testing for carrier ops aboard BENNINGTON in May of 1966 prior to her trip to the Paris Air Show in June of 1967.
Joe Pires. Jkpires@atmc.net
Thanks in advance. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸⚓️⚓️⚓️⚓️
Bill Moore, e-mail, 03.05.2020 16:55
Hi Joe, I am not sure if you are my cousin, but if your dad was a pilot in the F-8 and the A-7 programs, your sister is Mary Ann and your mother was Ruth Moore, I live in Asheville, NC and would like to hear from you. Bill Moore
Gary Schreffler, e-mail, 26.07.2017 15:20
I have color a 8mm home movie of the XC-142A launching from the Saratoga (CVA-60). After launching, it made a couple of passes before departing for Rota. Very cool stuff!
Lawrence Getso, e-mail, 29.12.2016 02:48
I also was on the east side of the lake and was with the others who ran in through the muck to reach the crash site. There was nothing anyone could have done at that point. It was sad situation and still haunts me to this day.
Clint Spooner, e-mail, 18.05.2015 18:57
Regarding Pete Bitar's comment, take a look at NASA Langley's "Greased Lightning" the 10 engine (electric) which has distributed lift as well as computer implemented stability control. If made in a full sized aircraft, might be a practical application of the XC-142 tiltwing principle.
Shaun Jester, e-mail, 11.05.2015 06:42
Family legend says my father, Charlie Jester, was new to the program and volunteered to operate the winch on his last flight. I've never read these comments before today, 48 years after the accident. Thank you to all who have posted! I'd be glad to correspond with any other family members or LTV folks who have stories to share. email@example.com
Pete Bitar, e-mail, 27.04.2015 21:24
What a great aircraft. I wonder, if one was able to get the original drawings and update everything with modern control systems, computerized systems management (to lighten the workload in the cockpit), and modern materials to lighten overall aircraft weight, with more efficient engines, could it fly again and be a real competitor? I believe so, but it would take a big commitment of funds and time. It'd be a great tribute to, from all I've read, a great team of people that sacrificed so much to make it fly in the first place. Modern tech could solve the problems that killed it then.
Bart van der kallen, e-mail, 25.10.2014 22:30
Hi all, Great story's to read. Sorry for my bad englisch. Ist there anybody who have THE drawning of THE plane. I'm startet to build a rc scale plane . THE software is already there. A prototyp is already flying ((semi-scale)YouTube)
i want to build a wooden model in a scale of 1:7
Thank u very mutch .
Catherine Hardesty Lugo, e-mail, 14.11.2013 04:16
My dad, Ed Hardesty, was a test pilot at LTV during this time
Joseph Engle, e-mail, 05.01.2013 22:23
I remember the day the 142 went down. My mom picked me up from Paul Keys elementary school in Irving, and told me my dad, Joe Engle, was OK, but there had been a crash. Being the son of a test pilot, I'd gone to a number of funerals for pilots, but never a memorial for three in one day.
The crash deeply affected my dad, especially the loss of Stu Madison. Along with Bob Rostine, if you saw one of them, you saw the other two.
eflatguy, e-mail, 20.12.2012 23:07
Stu Madison was one cool dude. I was in scouts with his son. I remember him being a real trickster, while giving a lesson in navigation and compass usage. After a while, he revealed the magnet he had palmed in his hand. That was fun.
james, e-mail, 09.08.2011 06:06
Where are the other four a/c now? The ones that crashed.
Bob Madison, e-mail, 07.06.2011 19:41
My son, Stu's nephew, alerted me to this site; it's snswered a number of questions that have lingered in my mind. Another LTV pilot had told me (at my brother's younger daughter's wedding) that it was a "pin" failure that caused the tail rotor to go to full pitch. So LTC Chubboy's more detailed explanation is especially appreciated.
Doug Sheldon, e-mail, 28.04.2011 02:51
I was stationed at Edwards, AFB (F-111 program) during the same time frame, mid to late 60's, as the XC-142 test program. The Army's equivalent to a USAF flight control specialist was a drone MOS. An Army Spec 5 was assigned to base A&E squadron for the XC-142 and I joined him a few times on work assignments when there wasn't much F-111 activity. The XC-142 was a hydraulic nightmare. But, what a challenge, as were many of the one of a kind aircraft at Edwards.
Mark Peterman, e-mail, 23.04.2011 21:15
Shaun Jester, his mother Sue and sister are all still missing Charles. Shaun and I are friends from grade school/boy scouts. My father (also LTV at the time) and I have always loved Shaun and Sue. We were 45 years old when Shaun finally told me about how they were notified that tragic day. It was an emotional moment and apparently one that he had not confided outside the family (not even his wife) until that day. Shaun now works for another defense contractor in Ft. Worth and Sue is glad he is not a test pilot! I was way too young (b 1963) to have met Charles and only know of him through his family and some photos. Since Shaun and I still see each other (he is my brother in Christ and Scouts!) if anyone has any information about Charles they would like to send their way, drop me a line please. I will see him again next week.
Ed Flinn, e-mail, 28.07.2010 23:43
I was an aero engineer ~ propeller performance specialist ~ on this project from 1962 until the program was canx. John and Mary Ann Omvig and their two children were our next door neighbors and Lake Arlington water skiing buddies with our young families. Such a terrible loss, all three extraordinary aviators. John was a survior of jet fighter crash on a carrier in the Korean war.
The failure that caused the crash was the fracture of a funk strut on the tail prop control rod. As the ship began to pitch over, the pic (apparently)decided he had a horizontal tail aoa problem (all moving horizontal stabilizer/elevator)thus elected to go deeper into conversion to vertical flight ~ the tail prop had gone hard-over in the nose down direction with catastrophic results. There was some speculation that had he elected to accelerate to wings down conventional flight the he might have recovered...but not likely. After the crash we had one of the ships in the structural test lab at LTV, with vibration generators on just about every control system. It soon became obvioius that the funk strut assembly was readily excited in its natural frequency by many normal modes of the ship...clear failure modes. In hind sight, and by today's standards, the program should have had far more structrual dynamics testing before flight.
Tom Humphrey, e-mail, 19.07.2010 06:15
I was a LTV flight test engineer working the A-7 program but knew most of the LTV test crew that worked the XC-142A. Emailers T Morrow and Robert Chubboy were correct on the names of all three crew members killed on the fatal demonstration flight. John Omvig was the co-pilot and Charlie Jester was operating the winch in the aft section. Jester did not have an ejection seat. As I recall Stu Madison ejected as the aircraft pitched over passed -90 degrees. John Omvig ejected from the inverted aircraft just before impact with the ground. All the LTV test pilots were top notch professionals. Stu Madison though was one cool customer and it was well known that he was John Konrad's (Director of Flt Ops)golden boy and was headed for greater things. It was a terrible trajedy
Jesse P. Jacobs, Jr., e-mail, 28.05.2010 07:10
Ross Beedle wanted to know which XC-142A was on the USS Saratoga in May 1967 flying off the carrier going to Rota Spain. I was the Test Director & I know it was Airplane #4 the last three numbers on the tail were 924 It is currently at the Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. I am Colonel Jesse P. Jacobs, Jr. USAF (Ret).
T Morrow, e-mail, 08.01.2010 22:09
The pilots on the fatal flight were Stu Madison, Charlie Jester, & John Omvig
rudager, e-mail, 28.12.2009 17:43
I'll tell you who was in the tail of that contraption..
SOMEONE WITH GIANT F*CKING BALLS
I mean damn, what were they thinking!?
Jim Wilson, e-mail, 07.11.2009 19:31
I was 18 and driving on the East side of the lake when the aircraft went down. Myself and Martin Herndon waded through the Willows and Marsh and I was one of the first to arrive until now I didn't know the Captains name but always wondered who was in the tail section of the aircraft.
Richard Elston, e-mail, 15.07.2008 22:43
I remember the crash in May 1967. One of the other crewmember's last names was Jester. I was friend's with his daughter.
Ross Beedle, e-mail, 23.05.2008 21:43
I took photos from the port side catwalk of the USS Saratoga (CVA-60)of one of the XC-142A planes on 10/May/1967. The Saratoga deployed from Mayport, Florida, in early May to the Med, and carried one of them to the Mediterranean, where it departed the ship for Rota, Spain, then on to the Paris Airshow. It was rather amazing to see this machine move only several feet forward and then lifting off the deck rather rapidly. It would be interesting to know which one of the remaining four aircraft this one was. I see know way from the photos that I have that would identify it. Should any one care to see the pictures that I have, they can be found on my flikr page at http://flickr.com/photos/9789926@N07/
Willy Webb, e-mail, 07.05.2008 23:01
I was part of the crew that horrible day and would love to get in touch with the grandson of that wonderful pilot, Stu Madison. Please write.
arthur b north, e-mail, 22.02.2008 16:18
SFC Arthur North was Line Chief on the XC 142 from 1964 until I retired on May i 1968. and I would like to her from any of the old crew who were there during that time. I am in touch with William Dunlap who lives in Gilmer, TX and I hope to hear from then Col Billy Odneal, or Lt Col Robert Chubboy. Chuck Teague was my assistant during those years. firstname.lastname@example.org 813 238 8976 (Tampa, Fla)
Kevin Teague, e-mail, 18.01.2008 00:12
Hi, I was curious if any of you gentlemen remember my father,Chuck Teague, He was a Chief Warrant Officer, Army Aviator, and worked on the XC142 project in some capacity. We were at Edwards for 3 years from 1964 thru 1967, and were then transferred to Langley. Dad passed away in 1994 and I never really got to talk to him about the pictures I got after he passed on.
SFC Arthur North ret, e-mail, 15.11.2007 02:47
I was on this project with Lt Col Chubboy and would like to hear from any of the other Army or Air force personnel who were members of this Tri Service Test team (email@example.com) yes I am STILL alive at 81years old riding a motorcycle and flying a light Sport aircraft in Tampa ,Fla
Robert A. Chubboy, LTC USAR Ret., e-mail, 31.10.2007 17:30
I was the Army prime XTP on the XC-142 and accumulated about 130 flight testt hours including the first non-stop flight from EAFB to Dallas w/Colonel Jesse P. Jacobs. I can attest to the tragic loss of Stu Madison, John Omvig and Charlie Jester in the May 17 (I stored April 17) and have maintained ever since that had Stu Madison, the professional that he was, been doing an engineering flight test where he was tuned to every little quirk particularly in the flight controls he would be alive today. But, no he was doing an operational test, a very demanding one requiring a multitude of aircraft conviguration changes starting with engagement of the tail rotor raising the wing while in a descending spiral path from the above reported 2500m to the target of 900m and encountering, not a tail rotor drive shaft failure but a loss of tail rotor pitch control. This failure I recall to have been caused by a bell crank that convertes horizontal control rod motion to vertical control motion and hence the variation of the tail rotor pitch in response to the pilots requirement for nose up or nose down commands. The failure resulted in the tail rotor going to the full nose down command some 11 seconds before continued raising of the wing slowed the aicraft to the point where the horizontal tail was no longer able to overpower the tail rotor and the aircraft pitched nose down. Before ejecting Stu did manage to reduce the wing angle somewhat but it was too late. I repeat it was a control failure not a drive shaft failure and it was the result of vibration induced failure of the bell crank mentioed above. It was this same day when our test force director, Colonel Jacobs was making his second plea before the WPAFB Program Director to suspend further tests of the machine until a vibration survey was conducted by LTV. The chief test Pilot, AF LTC Gay Jones and I had been noticing an unidentifiable vibration as far back as January. Based on our comments to Colonel Jacobs, he suspended military flights in March. The failure as I recall was the above described bell crank and upon inspection the four remaining aircraft were found to have thesame bell crank with vibration induced cracks. When the vibration survey was finally conducted, the bell crank designed for a 42g vibrator load was actually seeing 172g. As I am participating with Rob Ransone to clear the air on several issues. including the above failure, that cropped up during our test force's 45th anniversary reunion last week. I would be very appreciative of any reader's comments. Though my bark peels easy, it's tough and I can still take criticism - be nice though! Chub
Rob Ransone, e-mail, 10.10.2007 15:16
I was the USAF's Chief Flight Test Engineer for the Tri-Service Tests at Edwards, primarily for the Category II performance and stability and control flight tests. Our biggest concern for the performance tests was how to test the vertical takeoff/hover and STOL configurations and how to translate the test data to sea level standard temperature. I conducted the first hover tests at California's Point Mugu NAS because at that time of year, at dawn, the test conditions were sea level and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Our in-ground effect heavy weight hover tests enabled me to predict the in-ground effect hover performance at Bishop (5000 feet altitude) to within inches! Basically, I used helicopter performance data analysis for hover (Cp/Ct -- power coefficient/thrust coeffient, at density altitude). I ignored the tail rotor because its thrust varied up and down with pilot longitudinal control stick movements, its Cp/Ct was assumed not too different from the main props, and its total thrust was small compared to the main props. For STOL (short takeoff) I used a specific energy analysis of E/(Cp/Ct) versus takeoff distance, which put all of the various STOL wing angle takeoff data on one line. I also prepared a hover performance circular sliderule in which the pilots could enter the cockpit torque-meter reading of the four engines, the pressure altitude and the ambient temperature to determine their safe vertical takeoff and landing weights. The USAF subsequently patented this for me, which resulted in US Patent Number 3528605 from the United States Patent Office in September 15, 1970. A great bunch of professional pilots, engineers, instrumentation and maintenance people, and LTV contractor support. What fun!
Phillip Massie, e-mail, 05.08.2007 20:23
Hello, I'm almost certain that one of these planes landed on my ship the U.S.S. Ogden LPD-5 in the 1960's [ 1967 - 1969 ] while we were underway, possibily off the coast of San Diego or Long Beach, Ca. We had a comparatively small, especially narrow helo-deck compared to Carrier's or LPH's. I remember being somewhat alarmed by the speed and size of the aircraft as it set down and "skidded" forward with it's nose ending up not too far from the mess hall bulkhead where I was standing. I thought the pilot was very skillful in pulling it off, although in retrospect it now seems that it was rather risky. I think I may still have a photo of it. Does anyone recall the exercise?
SFC Paul D. Fulk, Army Retired, e-mail, 27.07.2007 19:58
I have always remembered the XC-142. I was at Edwards AFB and work ont the XC-142 for almost the 2 1/2 years. I was one of the crew memebers that flew on one of the aircraft for the Demo that we did. one day if I could find a model of it. I would like to have one. I still think it is a great design for a air craft that could be used today.
Stu Madison, e-mail, 21.07.2007 00:06
Stu Madison was my grandfather. Never met the man, but I appreciate the kind words on his behalf.
LYNN GARRISON, e-mail, 23.06.2007 02:58
None of the articles on the XC-142A mention the crew lost in the fatal accident. LTV's Chief Test Pilots, Stu Madison, was captain on the flight. He was looked to by LTV President Thayer as a future president of the corporation. I cannot remember the other two, but I do remember Stu from the time I visited LTV, Grande Prairie, with my F4U-7 133693 during 1967. He flew it to make sure it was safe for Thayer to take a quick flight.