Robert K. Smyth
* 1927 † 2012
first pilot to fly the F-14 and the first pilot to eject from a Tomcat!
I have read the introductory note by Dale Snodgrass, probably the highest time pilot in the F-14, and wish to add my comments as, probably, the lowest time pilot of the F-14. However, I can claim recognition as the pilot who flew the first flights on the first two Tomcats and was the first out on the ejection from Number 1 on December 30th, 1970. I also worked for many years at Grumman with Dale's father, an elegant gentleman named Reuben Snodgrass. Until I left Grumman at the end of 1980, for Gulfstream Aerospace, I was principally involved with seeing the F-14 through its Flight Test Phase and into Production. We came up with many innovations to accelerate the program including an Automated Telemetry System, Integrated Test Blocks (in-flight) and the extensive use of Air Refuelling, to name a few. It hardly seems possible that all of this took place over 25 years ago. And now (in late 2001/early 2002) the Tomcat is carrying a major portion of the burden over Afganistan. With its long legs and two-men crew (girls too), it is far and away the best equipped airplane for that kind of mission. And in this age that kind of mission will probably predominate. Let us all hope the Navy will see fit to extend the service life of this valuable asset well into this century.
More informations about Bob Smyth: http://www.grummanpark.org/grumman_test_pilots.htm
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