Broadcast 2924 Ted Spitzmiller & co-host Dr. John Jurist

The Space Foundation Conference

06 Jun 2017 Ted Spitzmiller, Dr. John Jurist
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Guests:  Ted Spitzmiller with co-host Dr. John Jurist:  We discussed Ted's excellent book detailing the classic USAF Century Series fighter jets plus related topics.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See   

We welcomed Ted Spitzmiller back to the program to discuss his excellent book "Centuries Series: The USAF Quest For Air Supremacy 1950-1960"  which detailed the F-100, F-101, F-102, F-104, F-105, and F-106 fighter jets. Dr. Jurist was our co-host and provided many interesting facts and stories about these classic fighters plus other aircraft either having been in service to the country or still in service to the country.  Ted's book also talks about fight history going back to before WW2, plus we discussed many other fighter jets, missiles, and aircraft that were not part of the Century Series aircraft. 

Throughout our one segment 90 minute discussion, Ted and John talked about the flight characteristics, limitations, advantages and ultimate disposition of each of the Century Series aircraft.  What made the discussion even more interesting were the pilot stories that Ted documented in the book and he shared many of those stories with us.  Dr. Jurist elaborated on those stories at times but also added additional stories to our discussion.

Some of the related topics of discussion were the planes dedicated as interceptors rather than fighters, having to modify many of the jets to see combat in Viet Nam which presented a different mission for the aircraft than called for with their original design.  We talked about downward ejection seats and why they were discontinued with the one story of the pilot attempting to do a roll so that his downward ejection seat would eject him in the upward direction. Unfortunately, this did not work but listen to the story.  We also talked about the idea to abandon guns and cannons on the fighters in favor of rockets and missiles.  That did not work either and fighters still have guns on board.  Our guests were asked about contributions from this era of fighter jet development that benefitted the developing human spaceflight program.  One topic that was frequently mentioned was pressure suit development. Engine development was discussed as was the increased technology used in electronics and what that meant for the later model fighter jets. 

Later in the program I asked our guests to compare the fighter jets mentioned in Ted's book to their counterparts coming out of the Soviet Union. Later, we talked about fighter jets from other countries including France, Sweden, and the UK.  In addition, we discussed other fighters not mentioned in the book, the revised naming system used for the jets given the directives of Robert McNamara.  This renaming system impacted US Navy jets as well as the Air Force jets.  The pilot and flight stories mentioned during this program were great so don't miss them.  Especially the story about  F-106 Delta Dart where the pilot ejected and the plane landed safely in a snowfield in Montana.  Many other colorful and interesting stories were shared with us as we talked quite a bit about the pilots who flew these early fighter jets.  Several times I asked Ted about favorite fighters out of the group.  Don't miss what he said about this.

As you will hear both Ted and John say, this was a golden age in fighter aircraft development.  Note what they said about the speed record being made by an F-106 in 1959 at 1750 mph!  Our guests said this period was the peak in aerodynamic engineering and the science of flight.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  Remember, if you buy the book and I urge you to do so, please do it thought the Amazon portal our Space Show homepage so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to The Space Show.  Please contact me at if you have questions as to how to do this.  You can reach either guest through me.




Ted's book "Century Series: The USAF Quest For Air Supremacy 1950-1960"

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