Apt, Milburn Grant, Capt

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1341-Experimental Flight Test Officer
Last AFSC Group
Aircraft Maintenance
Primary Unit
1953-1954, Air Force Test Pilot School
Service Years
1942 - 1956
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Apt, Milburn Grant, Capt.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Buffalo, Kansas
Last Address
Edwards Air Force Base, California

Date of Passing
Sep 27, 1956
Location of Interment
Buffalo Cemetery - Buffalo, Kansas
Wall/Plot Coordinates

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of Duty
  1956, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

He was a US test pilot. He was killed in the destruction of the Bell X-2 during
a test flight.
After having been launched from a B-50 bomber over the Mojave
Desert in California, Capt. Milburn G. Apt (USAF), flying an X-2 rocket-powered
plane on its 13th powered flight, set a record speed of 3,377 km/h, or Mach
3.196 at 19,977 m (65,541 ft). Subsequent loss of control from inertia coupling
led to the breakup of the aircraft and the death of the pilot. The X-2,
initially an Air Force program, was scheduled to be transferred to the civilian
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) for scientific research. The
Air Force delayed turning the aircraft over to the NACA in the hope of attaining
Mach 3 in the airplane. The service requested and received a two-month extension
to qualify another Air Force test pilot, Capt. Milburn "Mel" Apt, in the X-2 and
attempt to exceed Mach 3. In the run-up to his first rocket-plane flight, Apt
had several ground briefings in the simulator. His simulator training had
indicated control difficulties in high-speed flight, and possible techniques for
handling them. On 27 September 1956, Apt made his first X-2 flight. Apt raced
away from the B-50 under full power, quickly outdistancing the F-100 chase
planes. At high altitude, he nosed over, accelerating rapidly. At 65,000 feet,
the X-2 reached Mach 3.2 (2,094 mph), making Apt the first man to fly more than
three times the speed of sound. Upon rocket burnout, Apt found himself further
from home than anticipated. The planned flight profile called for slowing to
Mach 2.4 before turning back to base. The additional time to slow before turning
may have put him beyond safe gliding range of his planned runway. Still above
Mach 3, he began a turn back to Edwards. The X-2 began a series of diverging
rolls and tumbled out of control. Apt tried to regain control of the aircraft.
Unable to do so, Apt separated the escape capsule. Too late, he attempted to
bail out and was killed when the capsule hit the Edwards bombing range. The rest
of the X-2 crashed five miles away. Apt earned a B.S. in Engineering Sciences
from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1951.


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Aviator (Senior)

 Unit Assignments
Aviation Cadet Flight SchoolUnited States Army Air Corps (USAAC)Air Force Institute of Technology (Staff)Air Force Test Pilot School
  1942-1944, AAF MOS 770, Aviation Cadet Flight School
  1944-1946, AAF MOS 770, United States Army Air Corps (USAAC)
  1950-1951, Air Force Institute of Technology (Staff)
  1953-1954, Air Force Test Pilot School
 Colleges Attended 
University of KansasAir Force Institute of Technology
  1946-1950, University of Kansas
  1950-1951, Air Force Institute of Technology
 My Aircraft/Missiles
X-2 Starbuster  
  1956-1956, X-2 Starbuster
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