George Andre is a fun-loving, serious pilot whom I throughly enjoyed talking with early in the week at Reno.
George is the oldest pilot racing in any of the six classes presented at the Reno Air Races and most likely is one of only a handful of men racing who have flown, within the earths atmosphere, at +2,200 mph – about mach 2.2.
George has quite a collection of aircraft experiences, knowledge and skill under his belt and still yearns to fly the fast-moving jets screaming overhead throughout the week – like the screeching F-18 heard during this interview.
George, a former fighter pilot, flew one of his favorite aircraft of all, an F-86 while in the service. Other aircraft included the F104, F101 Voodoo, and George – a man of skill and nerves of steel, was a test pilot for the F104 Starfighter (a rocket with wings…also capable of mach 2.4).
In 1960 George worked for Lockheed as a Test Pilot and then moved on to Skunk Works where he worked with aeronautical genius Kelly Johnson and as a Flight Test Engineer racking up over 55 hours of flight time in the SR-71. (Did you know the SR-71 flew at an altitude of over 85,000 feet?!) Listen to his description of what the earth looks like from that height and the incredible speed he flew.
George is honored to have been inducted into the Mach 3 Club as its 16th member by Kelly Johnson. What incredible aviation experiences this man possesses- and he’s here, flying a Bi-plane in the Reno Races.
I hope you enjoy this 9 minutes of interesting stories – I only wish I could release the other half hour of conversation about the secrete projects, area 51’s Groom Lake and things that go bump in the night…but if I did, I think the men in black might track me down…
tee hee hee…!