November 22, 1906|
Rankin, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||September 18, 1976(aged 69)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1927 - 1957|
|Commands held||Chief of Flight Section, Wright-Patterson AFB
Commander, Experimental Test Pilot School
Commander, USAF Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB
Commander, Wright Air Development Center
Deputy Commander, Weapons System Headquarters, ARDC
|Awards||Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Albert Boyd (November 22, 1906 – September 18, 1976) was a pioneering test pilot for the United States Air Force (USAF). During his 30-year career, he logged more than 23,000 hours of flight time in 723 military aircraft (though this number of the total number flown includes variants and sub variants of some types, and is not 723 distinct types). When he retired in 1957, he had flown every aircraft type operated by the USAF, including attack, cargo, trainer, fighter, experimental, bomber, mission trainer, liaison, observation, and general aviation planes and helicopters.
From 1947 to 1957, Boyd flew and approved every aircraft type acquired by the USAF. When he retired, he was praised as the "Father of Modern Flight Testing," "World's Number One Test Pilot," "Dean of American Test Pilots" and "Father of USAF Test Pilots." Boyd died on September 18, 1976.
His assignments included:
- Chief of Flight Section at Wright Patterson AFB
- Commander, Experimental Test Pilot School
- First Commander, USAF Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base
- Commander, Wright Air Development Center (Maj. Chuck Yeager, a test pilot in his command, was the first American pilot to test the MiG-15, associated with Operation Moolah.)
- Deputy Commander, Weapons System Headquarters, Air Research and Development Command
The prototype Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, modified as a racer and designated P-80R, was piloted by Colonel Boyd to 623.73 mph (1,004.2 km/h) on 19 June 1947. This was recognised as an official air speed record, although this speed had already been exceeded by the Me 163 and Me 262 in 1944.
According to Brigadier General Charles E Yeager's autobiography, Boyd was a strict disciplinarian who would enforce (often with a very loud voice) USAF uniform regulations. Yeager remarked that "You might be his star pilot, but Lord help you if you came before him in his office with an un-shined belt buckle". Despite this, he was highly respected by his subordinates.
- Octave Chanute Award
- Legion of Merit
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Air Power Trophy
- Schilling Award
- Médaille de l'Aéronautique
- Brevet Militarire de Pilote d'Aviation
- Aerospace Walk of Honor (1991)