Transcript of the Tower Tape on October 14, 1947 as Bob Cardenas Pilots the B-29 Carrying the X-1

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A special supplement to AVweb's profile of Bob Cardenas.

Cardenas: Muroc tower, Air Force Eight Zero Zero taxi instructions.

Tower: B-twenty-nine Eight Zero Zero cleared Runway six. Winds out of East seven miles an hour.

Cardenas: We cleared to roll?

Tower: Roger, cleared to line up and roll.

Swindell (B-29 flight Engineer): She's all yours, Major.

Cardenas: All right, Swindell?

Cardenas: Rolling.

B-29 left side scanner: Left gear full up, left flap full up. One and two[engines] look clean on the take-off, sir.

B-29 right side scanner: Right gear full up, right flap full up. Three and four look good on the take-off.

Swindell: Roger.

Cardenas: B-twenty-nine Eight Zero Zero to Muroc tower. How do you read me, over?

Tower: Loud and clear.

Swindell: Scanners from engineer, five thousand feet.

Yeager: Check list complete, everything okay.

Ridley: Roger.

Cardenas: B-twenty-nine Eight Zero Zero. Air Force Two Zero One. Hoover, are you guys on the way up?

Hoover: Yeah, boy.

Cardenas: Okay, we're just closing fifteen thousand feet. About twenty south of the lake[Rogers Dry Lake]. Making a right turn now and heading south.

Hoover: Roger.

Frost: You over El mirage [Dry Lake], Cardenas?

Cardenas: Coming to the southern end of the lake at sixteen thousand feet.

Frost: I'll be with you soon.

Hoover: Air Force Two Zero One, where are you B-twenty nine?

Cardenas: I am coming around—

Hoover: Okay, I see you now buddy; coming up to you.

Cardenas: Eight Zero Zero, five-minute warning.

Yeager: Okay, Cardenas, loading first stage now. Ridley? Clear to disconnect nitrogen hose and pilot's breathing oxygen?

Ridley: Roger.

Cardenas: Four minutes.

Yeager: Roger, Cardenas; pressurizing fuel tank.

Ridley: Nitrogen hose disconnected. Pilot's breathing oxygen disconnected.

Yeager: Roger, Jack.

NACA Muroc: NACA radar to Air Force Eight Zero Zero, how do you read?

Cardenas: Loud and clear. Three minutes.

Yeager: Pressurizing lox tank. All pressurized.

Frost: Yeager, this is Frost. I'm in position to check your jettison.

Yeager: Roger. Fuel jettison is on.

Frost: Fuel jettison okay.

Yeager: Switch off.

Frost: Shut-off okay.

Cardenas: Two minutes.

Yeager: Lox jettison switch on. Switch off.

Frost: Lox jettison and shut-off are okay.

NACA Muroc: Was that two minutes B-twenty-nine?

Cardenas: Roger, that was two minutes.

Tower: Muroc Air Force Base to all aircraft. All aircraft stay clear of Muroc Dry Lake area. Test in progress. All aricraft on ground return to parking positions. Repeat: all aircraft stay clear.

Cardenas: B-twenty-nine Eight Zero Zero to NACA radar, Muroc Tower, chase aircraft: one minute.

NACA Muroc: NACA radar to Air Force B-twenty-nine Eight Zero Zero. You are clear to drop.

Cardenas: Roger.

Ridley: Yeager, this is Ridley. You all set?

Yeager: Hell, yes, let's get it over with.

Ridley: Remember those stabilizer settings.

Yeager: Roger.

Cardenas: Eight Zero Zero. Here is your countdown: 10—9—8—7—6—5—3—2—1—Drop

[Note: Cardenas omitted "4" in the drop count; launch occurred at 10:26am as the B-29 was flying at 20,000 feet and an indicated airspeed of 250mph].

Yeager: Firing four[rocket chamber #4]. . . Four fired okay. . . will fire two. . . Two on. . . will cut off Four. . . Four off. . . will fire Three. . . Three burning now. . . will shut off Two and fire One. . . One on. . . will fire Two again. . . Two on. . . will fire Four.

Ridley: How much of a drop[in chamber pressure]?

Yeager: About forty psi. . . got a rich mixture. . . chamber pressures down. . . now going up again. . . pressures all normal. . . will fire Three again. . . Three on. . . acceleration good. . . have had mild buffet. . . usual instability. Say, Ridley, make a note here. Elevator effectiveness regained[as he passed an indicated Mach number of 0.96].

Ridley: Roger. noted.

Yeager: Ridley! Make another note. There's something wrong with this Machmeter. Its gone screwy!

Ridley: If it is, we'll fix it. Personally, I think you're seeing things.

Yeager: I guess I am, Jack. . will shut down again. . . am shutting off. . . shut off. . . still going upstairs like a bat. . . have jettisoned fuel and lox. . . about thirty percent of each remaining. . . still going up. . . have shut off now.