The Century Series – The USAF Quest For Air Supremacy 1950-1960
This is the history of fighter aircraft that transitioned the United States Air Force into the supersonic era. By 1952, fighter designations that started with the Curtiss P-1 in 1923, reached the century mark with the North American F-100—thus the term Century Series. This occurred at the very point where operational fighters could exceed the speed of sound.
The useful lives of the six aircraft that saw operational service were long and varied—one performing its military role more than 40 years after its prototype first took to the air. Even today, more than 50 years later, current production fighters barely surpass the speeds and altitudes at which these aircraft flew. The Century Series story is also one that moves past their initial operational period and into the war in Southeast Asia as told by the men who flew them.
This is their story; a chronicle of the men, machines and ideas that set the standard for a half-century of fighter development.
About Ted Spitzmiller (Albuquerque, New Mexico Author)
Ted has had a wide range of opportunities over the past half-century. He joined the Army in 1963 and taught electronic maintenance of the Army’s tactical nuclear weapons. Following his military service, it went on to the innards of computer hardware and software, while employed by IBM and several small companies in the Silicon Valley of Northern California. He retired from the Los Alamos, National Laboratory in 2000. Along the way Ted managed to pick up a BS and MS in Computing Information Systems.
While all this was going on in Ted’s professional life, he was also deeply involved in his first love―aviation (second only to his wife of 54 years). He acquired an array of FAA certificates and ratings (Commercial pilot, Single- and Multi-Engine Land and Sea, and Flight Instructor for Airplanes & Instruments) In more than 45 years of flying, he has logged over 4500 hours in 87 different aircraft types.
Ted has had seven books published on aviation and space related topics as well as scores of articles for all the popular aviation magazines. He currently makes presentations for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Rusty Pilot Program, and is the editor of IFR Refresher Magazine. Although reasonably accomplished in computers and aviation, he is not very adept at golf. Ted appreciates opportunities to share the wealth of skills and knowledge acquired over the years in the realm of aerospace history and technology.