Born in Portsmouth, Virginia; married with eight children. US Navy pilot in World War II. Received a BS from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1950. He joined NACA in 1951 as a D-558 and X-1 test pilot. Project pilot on F-100, F-102, F-104, F-107 NACA test programs before being assigned as third NASA X-15 pilot on October 25, 1961. Made 29 X-15 flights, reaching an altitude of 90 km and obtaining astronaut wings, before being seriously injured in the 1962 X-15 crash near Lancaster, California. Died of cancer stemming from his crash injuries at the age of 52.
John B. McKay was one of the first pilots assigned to the X-15 flight research program at NASA's Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. As a civilian research pilot and aeronautical engineer, he made 30 flights in X-15s from October 28, 1960, until September 8, 1966. His peak altitude was 295,600 feet, and his highest speed was 3863 mph (Mach 5.64).
McKay was with the NACA and NASA from February 8,1951 until October 5, 1971 and specialized in high-speed flight research programs. He began as an NACA intern, but assumed pilot status on July 11, 1952. In addition to the X-l5, he flew such experimental aircraft as the D-558-1, D-558-2, X-lB, and the X-lE. He has also served as a research pilot on flight programs involving the F-100, F-102, F-104, and the F-107.
Born on December 8, 1922, in Portsmouth, Va., McKay graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 195O with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering. During World War II he served as a Navy pilot in the Pacific Theater, earning the Air Medal and Two Clusters, and a Presidential Unit Citation.
McKay wrote several technical papers, and was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
He died on April 27, 1975.
NACA flight 2. Cabin-pressure regulator malfunction causes inner canopy to crack; only low-speed, low-altitude maneuvers made.
NACA flight 1. Pilot check; nose landing gear failed on landing, minor damage.
NACA flight 3. Speed run to 17080 m and mach 1.8. Limited heating data gathered.
NACA flight 4. Glide flight, due to erratic engine start.
NACA flight 5. Three-chamber engine run to 18300 m to obtain heating data.
NACA flight 6. Mach 1.94 aerodynamic heating investigation (end of heating program).
NACA flight 7. Control pulses at mach 1.45 at 18300 m. Flight for instrumentation check.
NACA flight 8. Supersonic maneuvers to mach 1.5 at 18300 m to determine the dynamic and static stability and control characteristics.
NACA flight 9. Supersonic maneuvers to mach 1.5 at 18300 m to determine the dynamic and static stability and control characteristics.
NACA flight 10. Aborted after launch, indication of open landing-gear door. Propellants jettisoned, completed as a glide flight.
NACA flight 11. Mach 1.65 at 18,300 m. Control pulses, sideslips, and 2 g wind-up turn.
NACA flight 12. Enlarged wing tips installed to simulate wing tips to be used with reaction controls. Mach 1.55 at 18,300 m.
NACA flight 13. Stability and control investigation. Mach 1.5 at 18300 m, accelerated maneuvers, control pulses, and pull-ups.
NACA flight 22. Checkout flight for John McKay.
NACA flight 23. Check of low-speed stability and control.
NACA flight 24. First flight with elevated chamber pressure; cut short because overcast obscured pilot's view of lakebed.
NACA flight 25. Elevated chamber pressure; good stability and control data gathered.
NACA flight 26. Elevated chamber pressure; low-altitude and low-mach investigation of U-Deta fuel. Last NASA flight.
Maximum Speed - 2145 kph. Maximum Altitude - 15453 m.
Maximum Speed - 1949 kph. Maximum Altitude - 15170 m.
Maximum Speed - 5879 kph. Maximum Altitude - 32160 m.
Maximum Speed - 5278 kph. Maximum Altitude - 25360 m.
Maximum Speed - 5590 kph. Maximum Altitude - 25680 m.
This and most following flights without lower ventral. Maximum Speed - 4450 kph. Maximum Altitude - 20790 m.
Maximum Speed - 5979 kph. Maximum Altitude - 39700 m.
Engine only produced 35% power. Emergency landing at Mud Lake. Aircraft seriously damaged when gear failed. McKay injured. Maximum Speed - 1640 kph. Maximum Altitude - 16450 m.
Maximum Speed - 6204 kph. Maximum Altitude - 37860 m. Lost both nose landing gear tires and forward fuselage buckled after APU gear box pressure loss.
Maximum Speed - 5458 kph. Maximum Altitude - 23165 m.
Maximum Speed - 4962 kph. Maximum Altitude - 22189 m.
Maximum Speed - 5364 kph. Maximum Altitude - 30358 m.
Maximum Speed - 6216 kph. Maximum Altitude - 27737 m.
Maximum Speed - 4904 kph. Maximum Altitude - 25878 m. First flight with X-20 INS and wing tip pods.
Maximum Speed - 4970 kph. Maximum Altitude - 26579 m.
Maximum Speed - 6034 kph. Maximum Altitude - 46817 m.
Maximum Speed - 5266 kph. Maximum Altitude - 28224 m. First star tracker checkout.
Maximum Speed - 5697 kph. Maximum Altitude - 31120 m.
Maximum Speed - 6336 kph. Maximum Altitude - 47518 m.
Maximum Speed - 5887 kph. Maximum Altitude - 64800 m. Star tracker mission to photograph Gamma Cassiopeia.
Maximum Speed - 5744 kph. Maximum Altitude - 73091 m.
Maximum Speed - 5662 kph. Maximum Altitude - 72847 m.
Maximum Speed - 6005 kph. Maximum Altitude - 90099 m. Astronaut wings flight (USAF definition).
Maximum Speed - 5662 kph. Maximum Altitude - 72210 m.
Premature engine shutdown at 32 sec. Maximum Speed - 2307 kph. Maximum Altitude - 20850 m.
Maximum Speed - 5957 kph. Maximum Altitude - 73700 m.
Maximum Speed - 5776 kph. Maximum Altitude - 76500 m.
Maximum Speed - 5701 kph. Maximum Altitude - 78490 m. Collected micrometeorites and extraterrestrial dust.
Premature engine shutdown at 38 sec. Maximum Speed - 2578 kph. Maximum Altitude - 22310 m.