Toward the Unknown (1956) Script

You know who that was? No.

Major Lincoln Bond.

I wonder what he's doin' back here.

I wonder.


Edwards to General Banner, I can see it again.

It looks like the fire is back to the wing.

'Roger, Edwards. I can see it now in my mirror.'

'I'm reducing power to idle position. Stand by.'

General, this Mickey McKee.

I don't see any fire now. Is your warning light still on?

'Affirmative, Mickey, no fire in the mirror now'

'but the warning light's still on.'

'I'm stop-cocking the throttle, and comin' in.'

Okay, we'll be all set for you.

I want crash trucks at both ends of the runway.

Calling Crash Control, we have an F-102 in trouble.

Give us equipment at both ends of the runway.

You got fire again, general. Don't try to land, bail out.

'Relax, Mickey, we'll never locate'

'the cause of the fire that way.'

'If I can't make the runway, I'll land on the dry lake.'

Don't try it, she may get worse. Get out while you can.

'Negative, I'm coming in.'


I'm sorry, Lt. Sweeney, but only the rescue party is allowed in the crash area.

It's still dangerous, ma'am.

You too, sir. Okay, captain.


Mm-hmm. Yeah, I see.

Oh, what's his condition now? Hmm, good.

What about the plane, any report come through on it yet?

What do you know, it's Major Bond.

Welcome back to Edwards. Thanks, Jerry.

Just visiting.

What'll you have, sir? Scotch on the rocks.

Coming up. How is he?

Hospital says he's okay. He'll be back at work tomorrow.

I was afraid this time he'd had it.

Excuse me. Major Bond, meet Major Lee.

Bromo Lee? I've heard about you.

I've heard about you.

I saw the general coming in.

With that much fire, you'd have thought he'd have bailed out.

Looks like you don't know General Banner.

He's allergic to abandoning any aircraft..

...if it's still flying.

Well, it's getting late.

Goodnight. 'Night.

Bromo's been making quite a name for himself with those speed and altitude records.

Oh, I don't know.

Always figure we got other pilots just as good.

But he rates number one with General Banner.

'There's no question about that.'

Tell me..

...the general still doing a lot of tests, like the one tonight?

Are you kiddin'? He flies more than his pilots.

Especially the tough ones.

That's what I hear.


Mickey.

You should know better, Linc, this is no way to do things.

Well, maybe I should've come in through the back door.

The idea is to give a little notice.

Why, we have a band that jumps at any excuse to start playing.

They'd need a better excuse than me.

Sit down, Linc.

Well, since you having made general obviously, you've been doing something else with your time.

Well, I just had another daughter.

All by yourself?

No, there was some woman around at the time by the name of Sarah, I think.

I think so too. How is she?

They're all wonderful, Linc.

Well, you didn't come all this way just to find out that we're loaded with kids at our house.

Mainly, I came all this way to get away from where I was.

Washington? I thought that's the place where everything happens.

Not any of the things that I know anything about.

You know why I'm here, Mickey.

I want a job test flying.

Yeah, I know.

And I know all the questions you've got to ask before you can give me any sort of an answer.

First, "Am I alright now?"

Are you?

I'm fine.

All I need is a job that I know I can do.

I know what a spot it's putting you in to ask.

That doesn't bother me.

The only thing that really matters is are you sure you're alright now?

'Maybe you need a little more time.'

I'm okay.

I don't have to tell you if it were up to me you'd already be set.

It goes without saying that I'll put in a request for you.

Then it's up to the general.

Banner?

Is he everything they say he is?

He's a real good man, Linc.

What's his attitude going to be about me?

Let's find out. Come on.

Hi, Connie. Any chance of seeing the man for a minute?

Probably. You're ranked pretty high around here, you know.

'Yes?'

Col. McKee would like to see you, general.

'Send him in.' Yes, sir.

See how easy it is when you're ranked pretty high?

'Thanks, Connie.'

Oh, by the way..

I think this is what Sarah means when she says I'm always putting my foot in my mouth.

Anyway, there's a guy outside I think you used to know.

I used to know lots of guys.

That's what I mean. So, you probably know this one.

Linc.

Hello, Connie.

This is a fine thing to do to a girl.

Well, I didn't know you were here.

Last time I heard you were-- I was in dating.

That was quite a while ago, Linc.

Yes, yes it was.

General Banner requested me here about a year ago.

Oh.

You would've known all this if I hadn't started feeling silly about all those letters I was writing and never getting any answers.

Yeah, well, it wasn't that exactly, I--

Lots of time can pass before you even know it.

Yeah.

Well, all in all, wouldn't you say I..

...look a lot younger than you've ever seen me look?

I was thinking that but... I couldn't find just the words.

Good Ol' Linc... he can always tell when a girl's about to go completely to pieces.

I haven't even asked you what you're doing here.

Well, I'm trying to get a job which no one seems to think I have a chance of getting.

You'll never know until you ask.

Well, it used to be.. knew before I asked.

Well, things have a way of changing.

Don't they just?

Connie, how about having dinner tonight?

I'd like to, but..

I'm afraid I'm going to have to work tonight, Linc.

Well, couldn't you tell him that a ghost out of your past showed up unexpectedly?

The general is a man who doesn't believe in ghosts.

But if you're going to be around for a few days..

Not if the news is bad.

Well, I better be getting back to my desk.

Oh.

Connie, isn't there something you could do?

I mean about the dinner.

I'm afraid not, Linc.

If I'd had any warning..

...but of course you didn't know I was here.

Goodbye, Linc.

But, general, I wouldn't be asking you to assign Bond if..

Look, he wasn't a collaborator.

Oh, wasn't he?

A confession he made to the Chinese about germ warfare sounded a lot like collaboration to me.

Alright, so he signed a piece of paper.

But not until he'd held out for 14 months of brainwashing and gone through..

Hell, who knows what they go through.

But more important than anything..

...before he went to Korea, he was turning into the most promising pilot I'd ever run across.

He had natural ability and judgment.

And what you need more than anything else right now..

..experience.

What I need more than anything else right now is pilots I know I can count on under stress.

I'm sorry, Mickey, that doesn't sound like Bond to me.

But who knows how bad the stress got?

Maybe nobody could've taken it any longer.

Maybe.

He tried to kill himself by slashing his wrist, you know.

We turn down good men every week.

How can you ask me to lower that standard for Bond?

Bond met those standards when he came here originally, sir.

There's no use trying to convince me.

It doesn't matter how I feel personally.

What matters is, that I have pilots I know I can count on.

With Bond, I wouldn't know.

That's all there is to it.

Believe me, it's a rotten decision to make.

It looks as though I was giving him a final kick.

It wi be the final kick, sir.

If it is, I'm sorry.

That doesn't change anything.

Well, it looks as if we've won.

Maybe full production on the XF-120.

Great. It's about time too.

I gotta go fly.

Well, you're in the right branch of the service for it, general.

Never without a word on the subject, these civilians.

You were right. I used to know him.

I was sure I had the right girl.

Oh, general...I'd like you to meet Major Bond, sir.

General Banner. Glad to meet you, sir.

Haven't I seen you before?

I don't believe we've met.

Thanks for trying to pry me out of there last night.

Well, sir, I wasn't doing much good.

The rescue boys got you out.

About your request, Bond I'm afraid I'll have to turn you down, I'm sorry.

Too bad you had to come all the way out here.

It meant a lot to me.

Look, if you'd be interested in anything else around here except test flying..

That's nice of you. sir. You let McKee know if you are.

Where are you staying?

I piled in last night on Joe and Polly Craven.

From all the fuss you'd think they were glad to see me.

Great actors, those two. Yeah.

In our theater group they don't come any better than Joe and Polly.

When are you leaving? Tomorrow morning.

In case you don't know it, I'm having dinner tonight with the Cravens and the McKees.

Thanks, Mickey, I know how hard you tried.

See you later.

Well, you know what it was like during the war.

No place to eat, no place to park.

Luckily, of course, we had only two children then.

Only two.. Sounds like a whole gang to me.

Believe me, Linc, two children aren't enough to completely destroy a large house.

Stick around a few days and you'll see.

Absolutely, Linc, and you're not gonna leave tomorrow.

You just can't do things like that.

Just pop in after who knows how many years then turn right around and pop right off again.

Before anyone's had a chance to get used to you again.

Now, why would you want me and my long sad face around?

It may be long and sad, but it's a familiar face.

Andf I think old friends are the best friends.

She didn't read that any place.

She made it up on the spur of the moment just for this argument.

You better watch yourself, pal.

This is the kind you wind up marrying.

Don't worry, I'll keep my guard up.

Don't you agree? If he did marry me it'd be nice for the children.

'Don't worry, you'll find out.'

Not at this rate, I won't.

Connie told me she was working tonight.

So what? It's already 10:30, they worked until ten and then Connie dragged the general down here for a little Saturday night relaxation.

You know, I think I'll ask that girl for a dance.

Uh, Linc..

Nothing, I was just gonna wish you luck.

Thanks.

Why didn't you tell him? Why didn't you?

There's nothing for anybody to tell anybody.

He's just gonna ask her for a dance, isn't he?

Evening, general. Good evening.

How are you, Connie?

I was afraid you'd take off before I had a chance to see you again.

You've heard of the perennial bad penny.

And I hope, sir, you've heard of the universal custom of asking an attractive young lady to dance.

Oh, I've heard of it alright.

I can't say that I particularly approve of it.

But if it's alright with her, major.

It's alright with me.

Thank you, sir.

You know, a lonely major can find himself flying with his wings cut off by making a pass at the general's girfriend.

It isn't that exactly.

But it is something.

Well, we've been going out quite a bit together and you know how those things are built up.

How serious is it, Connie?

If somebody asked me that yesterday, I..

...would have said pretty serious.

What's changed? Stop it, Linc.

You know very well what's changed.

You don't sound very happy about it.

Why should I?

What's there to be happy about finding you still get disturbed about someone who hasn't even given you a thought for over a year?

You know better than that. How?

That big stack of letters from you that I treasure so much?

Like old times, isn't it?

I don't think it's much like old times, do you?

Oh, I'm sorry, sir.

I certainly didn't mean to disturb you but there's been trouble at the rocket testing station and I--

Alright, Sweeney, pull yourself together.

I'm leaving right now. Oh, yes, sir.

So, you're at it again. Oh, it isn't my fault.

Being a general's aid's a lousy position to be.

I-I-I didn't mean that, sir.

It was an unfortunate choice of words--

Alright, Sweeney. I'll go with you, Bill.

No, it's early, you stay here and have a little fun.

You can bum a ride with the McKee's or someone I'll see that she gets home, sir.

Yes, the major can see you home.

Thank you, major.

Alright, Sweeney. Yes, sir.

Why don't we leave by the front door?

Thank you, sir.

Goodnight. Goodnight, sir.

But at least somebody's on my side.

Just pray that it isn't Sweeney.

Why won't you tell me about Korea?

Honestly, Connie, I'd rather tell you about it than anybody else but..

...it'd be like two people trying to communicate with each other, each in a different language.

I just don't think you'd understand me.

Alright, then let's forget it.

From now on, if anybody asks you anything you tell them to check with me.

I don't want a whole lot of people checking with you.

If it's scars you're looking for I've got some worse than that.

I just wanna be sure they're all healed.

Gone as far along toward healing as they can without some help.

What kind of help, Linc?

I need somebody to show some confidence in me again.

Believe me, I never needed anything so desperately in my whole life.

What it amounts to..

...I guess, is..

...starting from scratch and selling myself all over again.

Ever try to sell something that nobody wanted to buy?

Connie, I-- Don't, Linc.

Why not? Why not?

Linc, you can't just wander back here after all these time and pick up right where you left off.

You're not the only one that things have happened to since you've been gone.

And believe me, you're not the only one who's been hurt.

You hurt me bad, Linc, real bad.

Taking me in your arms isn't going to help me forget it.

Connie..

You talk about needing someone to show some confidence in you..

Why couldn't you have shown a little in me?

Didn't you know that no matter how cut up you were mentally or physically, you could've come right back to me and that's all I would've cared about.

Perhaps I needed some time to pull myself back together.

I didn't want you all together.

I wanted you all the pieces.

So I could show you how much I loved you by helping you get back.

'I'll try to make it brief, sir.'

'I'd like to quote something you said in a speech once.'

You said that the most important requirement of a test pilot is the desire to be a test pilot.

No doubt about it.

Well, that I've got, sir.

And I think my record will back me up.

Then you went on to say that the second-most important requirement is stability.

That's right.

And since you brought up your record, I..

Go ahead, major.

Well, sir, unfortunately, at this point the only way I can prove my stability is for somebody to let me prove it.

Also, unfortunately nobody who's in a position to let you prove it could possibly ignore everything on your record.

No, sir, they couldn't.

The only reason that I'm taking up more of your time is to try to impress you with my complete desire to be a test pilot.

In regards to my stability, I..

...I think I'm qualified there again, sir.

I'm sorry but the answer is still no.

Alright, sir, may I take you up on your offer of last Saturday?

Some other job on the base?

You didn't seem very interested Saturday.

What made you change your mind?

Well, when it came time to leave, I..

I realized that even if I couldn't do test-flying I'd still like to be around where it's being done.

I'm afraid I've gotta say no to that too because it, it wouldn't work.

And I quote you right back..

You mentioned your complete desire to be a test pilot.

We both know that there isn't any substitute.

But maybe there's another way, a better way.

Nobody knows all the answers, least of all, me.

But I do know some testing procedure.

Suppose you have to determine the stability of an experimental aeroplane, how would you proceed?

I'd work up to it, sir, step by step.

Exactly. You nibble at the problem.

Now, on that basis I'm going to change my mind.

I'll go along with you for that first step.

I'm willing to re-assign you as a test pilot.

But you'll be limited to chase and pace.

None of the major projects.

I understand, sir. Alright, it's up to you.

Yes, sir. Thank you, general.


Bill.. General.

Senator, may I present General Bill Banner he runs the show here.

I've been hearing about you for years, Banner.

Thank you, sir, I hope you had a comfortable trip.

Very smooth. General Shelby is a good pilot.

Don't tell me you finally broke down and got an aid.

Yes, sir. Gentlemen, Lt. Sweeney.

Lieutenant.

Isn't that Lincoln Bond?

'Yes, Bromo's checking him out on the XF-120.'

How long has he been here now? Little over two months.

I was surprised when you took him here.

How's he doing? Alright so far.

That about covers it.

And remember she's got a high rate of sink.

Your first landing, come in flat with plenty of power.

Hard to judge the flare out. Roger Wilco.

And try to bring it back in one large attractive piece, huh?

I'll bend every effort.

All checked out? Yeah.

I get to do it all by myself now.

This makes just about everything on the base you checked out on now, doesn't it?

Just about.

How you coming along with Bromo?

I'd say, I was winning him over, slowly.

At least, he stopped foaming at the mouth every time my name's mentioned.

That's progress. You can't get away from him.

'Right..'

I'll see you later.

'That was flight 745 taxing.'

Quite a view.

Sixty four square miles of level rock-hard landing surface.

We figure you save the country, a quarter of a billion dollars in safe emergency landings.

Edwards is one of ten centers under General Shelby and Aero Search and Development Command but it's developed into a pretty big operation.

I have over 8000 people on duty here.

There's our rocket engine test station right over there in those hills.

High altitude speed course, deceleration track.

All this is just a bird's eye view..

Oh, there's the Gilbert 120 taking off right now.

'Yes, Mr. Gilbert was telling me we really got something there.'

Before I came here, I thought you tested mainly airplanes at Edwards. Just what is your mission?

Quality. Flying hardware of better quality than the enemy.

Not just the aircraft but the power plant, the armament the RADAR, everything that goes with the vehicle to make up a complete weapon system.

How long have you been in command here, Bill?

Well, it's going on six years now, sir.

I'm just really getting broken in, Senator.

What it boils down to, is this.

Our whole future air strategy rests on the accuracy of the data, our guys pass on to the planners at Washington.

I'd call that a good sized responsibility.

We try and pick the good ones and throw out the bad.

explosion Sonic boom. An aircraft penetrating the sound barrier.


You're looking at an engine right now with enough thrust to reach outer space.

What's stopping you? Money.

Then the guiding system. We're still perfecting it.

'Attention! Final warning for ten second countdown.'

This high speed track is the world's fastest and straightest railway.

'Ten. Nine.' Sled'll do 1500 miles/hour.

'That way we can make some tests on the ground'

'without risking the pilot.'

'Five-four-three-two-one.'

'Fire!'


Senator, there you see an Air Force tanker refueling a bomber and two fighters at the same time.

'Yes. A B-66, an F-100, an F-101.'

'Some of our latest aircraft.'


Bye, Senator. Thanks a lot.

Goodbye, general. It's a pleasure, sir.

Carry on.

We just intercepted a radio call, Mickey, what's going on?

Major Bond just called in, sir. Having trouble with the 120.

Says he's got aileron on reverse.

'Edwards Control to Major Bond. What's your present position?'

I'm eight miles south to the lake at 22000 ft., Edwards.

I'm trying another roll to the same side.

'There she goes again, Edwards Control.'

I think I've got something else.

I've got wrinkles in the skin. My left wing.

This is General Banner, how bad are the wrinkles, Bond?

Not too bad, sir. Can you land safely?

'Affirmative, General.' Alright, bring her in.

Keep checking on that wing. Roger.

'Control to Major Bond, you're cleared'

'for an immediate landing on runway 22.'


What'd you do? Pull ten Gs? No, sir. Less than five.

Report to my office. Yes, sir.

Did you authorize Bond to carry out any stability tests?

No, sir. It was strictly a check up.

I recommend, sir-- Yes, Connie?

Major Bond is here, sir. Send him in.

Come in, Major.

What's the story, Linc?

It's the wings, General.

They won't take the design load on a rolling pull out.

Until, they're beefed up stronger you've got a dangerous airplane.

Somebody's gonna pull the wings off.

I don't agree, General.

I pulled more than five Gs with no sign of structural weakness.

You must've exceeded design limits.

It happened exactly at 4.5 Gs.

You must've pulled more Gs than that. Maybe you blacked out?

No, sir, I didn't black out. I'm sure it's gust loads.

Hitting few bumps for a fraction of a second would do it.

If it could happen to me it's gonna happen to others.

Bromo Lee is plenty capable of running phase four tests on that aircraft. You were up there for familiarization.

Why did you start your own private test program?

Sir, I stumbled on a condition that didn't feel right.

I wasn't looking for it.

But when it happened I thought I oughta pin it down.

Alright.

But Gilbert's chief engineer tells me, you must be mistaken.

Maybe he can explain the wrinkles, sir.

The question is what really caused them?

You're telling us, Major Bond, we're committing ourselves to mass production of a fighter with a dangerous defect?

Yes, sir. I am.

Mickey, is the other 120 in commission?

It'll be ready tomorrow, sir.

Set it up for me. Linc, I want you to fly chase.

And help me duplicate the exact conditions you encountered.

General, since Bromo's been directly responsible for this project, it'll save time if he flew with Bond on the first one.

Save my time? What do you think I'm here for, Mickey?

Very well, sir.

That's all for now, gentlemen.

Bill, you suppose bond pressed the panic button up there?

I'm gonna find out.

How do you feel about his reliability?

It's this simple.

If I were commanding an army and he was guarding my left flank I'd be running there every 30 minutes to check up.

Why you wasting your time on him?

Well, because what I said just now is a personal feeling.

I'm gonna judge him on performance, nothing else.

You know, Bill, this X2 may well be as far as we can go with a human pilot.

And expect him to survive.

Yes, I know.

How soon are you starting tests with rocket power?

Not for several months. We've lot of blind drops to do.

Decided on our pilot for it.

I'll take that one, sir.

That's been my pet project from the beginning.

I've watched six years, nine million dollars and the brains of 280 engineers go into that X2. Excuse me, sir.

Banner. 'This is Harvey Gilbert.'

Yes, Mr. Gilbert.

'What's this about wrinkles in the wing? Is it true?'

Yes, that's right. News travels fast.

'...accepting his report?'

We don't know yet. We'll find out tomorrow.

Of all people, we don't consider a brainwashi qualified to say we've got a bad airplane.

I'd like to come up there right away.

Fine, we'd be glad to see ya.

Alright, Mr. Gilbert, goodbye.

Well, he's in a real storm.

Well, I can't say I blame him. I'm equally concerned.

Bill, running Air Research and Development Command has turned into a tremendous responsibility.

I could sure use you at my headquarters.

How soon do you think you can wind it up here?

Wind it up sir?

Oh, I can't leave this job now right in the middle of all the new projects we're getting into.

Not that I don't appreciate your asking me.

I know there's no job more important than yours.

I'm glad you agree we're not exactly an old man's home back there in Baltimore.

Leave some of the strenuous testing to Mickey and Bromo.

The others.

Oh, it's good for the circulation, General.

Just remember, you and I aren't getting any younger.

Yes, Connie.

I have the 104 data here, sir.

Oh, good let's have a look.

That's all.

Hey, Connie? Yes, sir.

Do you think I'm getting old?

Well, I'd say that's the usual procedure.

I mean maybe I'm too old to compete with these youngsters around here.

You mean flying? All departments.

In experience, I'd say you're older than Moses.

But you seem ten years younger than you are.

It's a good definition of what the commander here better be.

You know, Connie, one thing I'm not going to do is get my brains knocked out at any high school competition over you. I'd lose that one.

All I'm asking is that I be the first one you tell.

Of course, I will.

The first thousandth of a second, I know.

Oh, wait. Mr. Gilbert, this is Major Bond, sir.

Mr. Gilbert. Oh, yes.

Lincoln Bond. Structural Engineer.

Just a pilot, Mr. Gilbert.

Very modest of you.

I was just talking with Gilbert's chief test pilot.

He inspected the damage and frankly he thinks you're out of your mind.

However, I'm going ahead with the test anyway.

Yes, sir.

Give me a double. Honest double.

Do you mean that, sir?

Yeah, I wanna see how four ounces of alcohol affects a flyer's judgment.

Connie, I didn't know you were working the West Coast.

Linc, you've a real important day ahead of you tomorrow.

They're all important, honey.

It's just that some are little more depressing than others.

However,if it bothers you to see me to lush it.

I'll wait it out until you've gone.

What's the matter? You're afraid you're wrong?

I have a feeling I've never been right a day in my life.

It should show one way or other shouldn't it?

It should but then you never know.

I know one thing, mister.

Anybody who's thinking about having any kind of tussle at all with Bill Banner had better think it over carefully because he's really in the heavy weight division, Lincoln he belongs there.

Yours could hardly be an impersonal opinion, could it?

I just know the General in question never ran away from a thing in his life. He faces things head on, Linc.

And when he does, people always wonder what hit them.

There was a time when I thought that you and the General were two of a kind.

Let's just chalk it off to girlish enthusiasm, shall we?


Just a minute.

Hi. Am I still under the 10 o' clock curfew?

Yes.

Well? Since you made it. Come in.

I juts want it made perfectly clear that even if you hadn't waded into me with those bitter, stinging remarks I still probably wouldn't have taken that drink.

Because I believe basically people don't change.

I'm a man who's never run away from anything in his life.

I don't know whether you know it or not, Connie but I've always been a man who's faced things head on.

Whenever I have, people always wondered what hit them.

If you've ever had any other impression of me you've been wrong. Unfairly wrong.

I should be boiled in very warm oil.

At least. How about some coffee?

No, sir, because I've got a very important day tomorrow.

And I believe a man should get to bed early before such a day.

Well, hurray for you, Horatio Alger.

Thanks for the help, lady.

Any red blooded girl interested in experimental aircraft would've done the same.

Ha ha. Hey, that's very good.

About the red blooded girl interested in experimental aircraft. Very good indeed.

You know all the people around here who think I'm going crazy like Gilbert's chief pilot, he's an awfully good man, Connie.

Maybe I did read those instruments wrong.

At Red Prison they got me to where two and two looked like five. Maybe I am crazy.

I'm betting my own money that you're right in this thing.

Sure, what do all those old highly trained engineers know about it?

Will you please relax, Linc?

It'd be too smooth today at 20000.

Well, if we don't find the right conditions there, General Bromo reported some turbulence lower down.


All set, Bond. Now, give me the exact conditions.

Okay, General, start a shallow dive.

Stay 40 knots below critical Mach number at 95 percent rpm.

Pull 4.5 Gs and a steep bank to the left.

'Then give it, three quarter air rock.'

Roger.

What is this, you're giving us, Bond?

Everything's normal. I pulled more than 5 Gs too.

'I'm afraid the air is too svelte at this altitude.'

'No gust blows that time.'

'I'll try lower over the mountains at the Pass.'

'Ought to be bumpy enough there.'

'Roger.'

'Giving it 4.5 Gs now, Bond.'

I can't find anything wrong.

I guess we're not getting quite the same conditions, General.

You mean wrinkles in the wings, you're right. Returning to base.

Roger.

Well, Mr. Gilbert, everything's seemed normal to me.

That's not conclusive.

The fact remains that one of my pilots did get wrinkles and till we find out why, Mickey I want the phase four test done over from the beginning.

Assign Joe Craven to work with Bromo on the 120 full time.

Double check everything. Yes, sir.

I'm all for caution, General but it can't be overdone.

Specially in view of...circumstances.

I repeat I think you're airplane is okay.

But if there's one chance in a million that Major Bond stumbled on something. Now's the time to find it.

I'm confident you won't find anything.

Unless the design limits are exceeded. Right, Major?

Who knows, Mr. Gilbert what a limit really is?


Trippin over my own feet.

Me and my big feet.

You don't look too well, General.

Oh, I'm alright.

The flu's going around. You oughta see the flight surgeon.

Flight surgeon? No, I feel fine.

You've been General Banner's friend longer than anyone else.

I suppose it's occurred to you he can't stay here forever?

Oh, I hadn't given it any thought, sir.

You know how he flies all the winds himself.

Finds it hard to delegate responsibility?

Mickey, it's time to think about another commander.

But his whole life is test flying, sir.

Naturally it'll be an important promotion.

Boot him upstairs when every pilot on this base would crawl on his belly to Chicago for it?

Mickey, what he's got in his head is too valuable.

General, he wouldn't understand.

Do you want to risk losing him to some big company like Gilbert Aircraft?

I know he's had some fancy offers.

That's where you come in. I'm talking to the next commander.

Start getting ready. Take all the load off General Banner.

Aren't you placing me in an awkward position, sir?

Let's say an unusual position.

One that involves loyalty to General Banner.

I don't know what to say, sir.

You know him better than anybody.

Nudge his elbow every chance you get about the challenge.

The bigger challenge waiting for him in Baltimore.

I'll try, General.

But you're handing me an awful big pair of shoes.


Okay, sergeant, pop it out.

With this amount of drag, you'll drop from 20000 feet like a rock.

We figure 4000 feet to be the lowest altitude you can get rid of this deceleration chute with a safe margin to pull out.

Suppose the electrical release mal-functions have you got a manual release for me?

Yeah we've installed one just in case.

Good. You know the old saying, "If it can go wrong, it will."

You wouldn't change your mind, would you, General?

You know, I've been kinda hurting to do this test myself.

You've got enough to do. I can't spare you right now.

I was thinking, sir, Linc Bond's got this current as anyone on this F-94. They want you pretty badly at the conference.

I think he'd be okay to do this test.

You know my policy, Mickey, Bond is limited to chase and pace.

Well, I knew that was your policy, sir.

But he's been putting out harder than..

I think he's really earned the right, sir.

I know he's putting out. Just leave it that way.

You see what I mean about Bond?

'He's been bumming rides in the B-66 in his spare time.'

'I don't when the guy ever sleeps.'

You're pressing, Mickey. So is Linc. I think too hard, maybe.

Trying to prove something. That alone can make him a risk.

Oh, thanks.

Oh, never mind, Connie. No more coffee.

I think I'll knock off.

Why don't you take off, Connie? You're probably late for a date.

That's alright.

That reminds me. When's that wing-ding Lillian's giving?

Thursday night. I guess we'd better go.

Help celebrate Joe Craven's promotion.

When you said we, were you including me?

Of course. Why? Somebody else ask you?

Incredible though it may seem, somebody did.

Lincoln Bond.

Make a note in your book to remind me to ask you sooner.

That won't be necessary. You did ask me over a week ago.

I told Linc, I was going with you.

Hmm, that's a mark of a good commander.

Instinctively he does the right thing.

I did. You certainly did.

But don't you go assuming I would've said no to Linc if he'd asked first.

Oh, before you go. The mayor's appointment tomorrow.

Will you be down from your test by nine?

Better change him to 9:30.

And operations called about your chase pilot.

Bromo has to go to El Centro.

Mickey's tied up too.

They said Bond was available.

Alright, make it Bond. I'll tell them.

Thursday night, then. 'Affirmative, General.'


Okay, Bond, I'm deploying the chute.

Roger.

You fouled up, General. You're only half open.

Getting plenty of drag though.

I've got 4300 feet, General. Roger.

It's about that time. There she goes.

You've strung up the shoot. 'I know it.'

Both release has mal-functioned, Linc.

Well, maybe I can land anyway. The chute's only half open.

Negative. Might open all the way any second.

'If it does, you'll spin like a top.'

I'm gonna have to try to snag the chute.

Don't try it, Linc. Pull away.


That was close.

Can you hold that position, Linc.

I'll have to hold it right through the landing.

I don't want the chute to pull lose and open again.

Okay. I'm landing straight ahead on the lake.

Roger.

For Pete's sake don't lose me.


We'll leave everything as is until they photograph it.

Yes, sir.

Well, Linc, how much do I owe you?

A couple of bucks ought to care of it.

Two dollars, huh?

A minute ago my neck wasn't worth two cents.

Well, no sweat, huh?

No sweat.

Lucky we didn't need the rescue boys.

Yeah. They would've been a little late.

Too far out.

You know, Linc, I can't figure you out.

In these emergencies..

Well, it just doesn't jibe with that business in Korea.

Of course, you never did tell me your version of it.

I wish you would though.

Maybe if I understood what really happened.

Something beside the inhuman treatment.

What they use? Drugs, truth serum?

No, sir.

Well, it just doesn't figure.

Even with torture, you're not the kind to crack.

What made you do it, Linc?

Have you ever been in solitary confinement, general?

Tortured mentally 24 hours a day.

Physical torture is nothing compared to the things they've learned to do to a man's mind.

That covers it, huh?

Well, it's something entirely new, sir.

If a man hasn't been through it it's no use trying to explain it.

Look, I'm trying to give you a break.

Give me something to go on.

What does it take, general?

You think I'm hard to convince, huh?

Well, I am.

I always have been when the test date issued a flaw.

Can't you give me a better reason?

I wish I could, sir.

Well, at least you showed me something today.

Another step, shall we say?

And if I step you into something more important what's your first choice?

Rocket flight.

X-2 project.

Ah, that's a big step. Too big maybe.

I always had Mickey and Bromo in mind to work with me on the X-2.

However, Bromo's still got his hands full with the Gilbert job.

I'll talk it over with Mickey. Yes, sir.

♪ Of we go into the wild blue yonder ♪ Crash!

Come on, Carmen.

Come on.

You don't want me to have to right in my log book that you're uncooperative, do you?

I'm not going to your quarters for a nightcap or anything else.

I just wanted you to see how much my wonder box geraniums had grown.

Sure...you did.

Come on, Carmen.

Come on.

Hiya, Jimmy. Hello, Linc.

How about all this fancy dan flying you're doing?

Trying to make Chuck Yeager look bad?

Chuck could fly better than that before he ever saw a plane.

So much modesty to be in just one little old Korean hero.

A couple of real sharp chase pilots you got tonight.

Chase is right.

I like him very much.

Mickey.

The only man now alive who's flown an aeroplane with no wings..

...faster than sound.

I was in a hurry.

It's just no way to live.

You're always so jumpy and jittery and popping right out of your skin every time you hear his voice.

Just because I always try to be cognizant to my duty.

Don't know what that means, but I do know all he has to do is say hello, and you shoot up 14 feet.

Debbie, I wish you'd try not to exaggerate every time.

Hello, Sweeney.

Oh, oh, oh!

Honestly, you did it again. You embarrass me so much!

'Why do you always do that sort of thing?'

His heart's going to give out long before he makes first lieutenant.

Ha ha!

Oh, so soon.

Well, Joe and Polly have finally gotten here.

Let's go.

Hi, Joe. Good evening, general.

Those look awfully good, colonel. Congratulations.

Thank you, Connie. You too, Polly.

Congratulations, Joe. Thank you.

What does his promotion really mean to you, Polly?

Well, for the first time in our marriage, food on the table.

When did we get a table?

I'll be right back.

Alright.

Any messages for anybody in the powder room?

No. But on your way past the bar would you mind telling my husband that his leave from me has just expired?

I always like to be the bearer of bad news.

Then as we pulled into a steep climb--

You will be sorry to hear that you were just shot down.

Sarah's reeling in her apron strings again, is she?

Oh-oh!

I was saving that to go to camp this summer.

But..

Here you sit all by yourself and there are literally 50 girls who are drooling for you to ask them out.

You know that, but nobody ever tells me.

Nobody tells you.

I suppose that little red head at the PX isn't telling you.

Every time she sees you she goes into that exaggerated model's walk.

She throws her hips out so far you wonder if they're ever coming back.

Well, I assume, naturally that she has some sort of trouble with her back.

Aren't you going to join us at the table.

Oh, I was afraid a man all by himself would put a crimp in the fun you couples are having.

You're just a lonely wanderer, aren't you?

I don't think so.

Well, I hope I see you at the table.

Have a drink on me.

No, thanks, Bromo. I was just leaving.

Yeah, maybe your wise at that, buddy-buddy.

'Cause I hear you've been bucking real hard for the job tests on the X-2.

And I kind of consider that belongs to me.

Good luck.

I don't like you, mister.

I'll go home and stick my head in the oven.

Oh, I got a better idea.

Let's go outside, and I'll knock it off for you.

Come on, Bromo. I've got--

No.

Hey, don't hit him again. He's drunk.

Linc!

He held my arms.

He shouldn't have held my arms.

How could you hit him?

You didn't see what happened, Bill.

It was on account of that man over there trying to stop him.

Whatever it was you better get home.

Yes, sir.

Come on, men, give him a hand.

Connie.

Let's get back to the table.

We can't just..

Alright, Bill. You go ahead.

I'll only be a minute.

Linc.

If only that guy hadn't held me.

I know, Linc. I know.

Look, Connie, you're with the general.

You better go back.

It's perfectly alright.

Please, it's bad enough now.

I want to talk to you.

Go on back in, will you?

Better go in there, and explain how it happened.

That's the worse thing I could do.

I know he'd understand.

Better for him to think that I go around socking helpless people than peg me for a psycho.

You've got to do something.

Leave it alone.

I'm going back to the base. I think I better go with you.

Don't you understand?

The general gave me my chance and I muffed it.

If he gave me another, I still wouldn't have the right to..

Finally it happened.

Blew my top.

That's what they've all been waiting for.

Nobody's been waiting for it.

They're pulling for you. Everybody.

It's going to be alright.

You still don't get it.

I'll spell it out.

The Reds hammered me to my limit and broke it.

I put a patch over it, and hoped it would hold.

For months now, I've been praying that it would hold.

Trying to hide it.

Now the patch is pulled off.

It's over.

No, Linc, it isn't.

It's all over.

Goodbye, Connie.


Hi there, Linc. Hi, Hank.

The party over. No, it's still going.

What are you doing here so late?

We got a glide drop coming up.

Hope you get in on her.

Been making any hit way with the old man?

Afraid not.

Just thought I'd drop by and see how it was going.

You, uh, changed the stick?

Yeah.

Moved it half an inch forward.

Go ahead and try it out.

Any better?

I'd even give it a little more.

Of course, it's not up to me. I wish it were.

Well, you're about the same size as the general.

Like sitting in the nose of a guided missile.

I guess that's what it would be like, alright when she carries a man right up to outer space.

Only I'll never know.

You'd like to Hank, wouldn't you?

Be the first?

Who wouldn't, Linc.

Yeah.


'And to have this kind of behavior'

'from two of our officers'

'well, it...it's just not the sort of thing we point to'

'with pride in the Air Force.'

I just can't drink. I know that, sir.

But you proved you could stay away from it, Bromo for three years until last night.

Now since this is your first slip with me I'm gonna leave it this way.

Some people just can't drink.

If you ever take another, your career in the Air Force is over I'll see to that.

I think the general can count on me.

Yes.

'Sir, can we give out a statement'

'on the chute emergency yesterday?'

No! I don't want the drag chute story released yet.

'Yes, sir.' Not yet.

'How do you want me to handle it, sir?'

We've had several inquiries. Alright. Then hold them off!

Yes.

Sir, major here is Bond.

I mean Major Bond is here, sir.

Send him in.

I was about to send for you.

Have you talked to any newspaper men?

No, sir.

Somebody leaked a premature report on our chute emergency.

I dropped by your quarters last night.

Where were you?

I returned to the base, and then to my quarters later.

You weren't there when I looked for you.

Excuse me, general, it'll save a lot of questions--

Just let me handle the questions.

The big question is what am I supposed to do about that show that you put on with Bromo Lee in a public place?

If I ground you you'll be dead weight.

If I take strong--

May I say something, general?

I came in here to resign from the Air Force.

So you're, you're ready to quit, hmm?

I never should've started.

You had to start somewhere.

I appreciate your giving me a chance against your instincts.

Let's say in spite of my prejudice.

Your first judgment was right, sir.

Have a seat, Linc.

What I wanted to talk to you about last night..

No, thanks.

...I got to thinking that over.

It just didn't add up.

You slugging Bromo Lee.

Unless there was something else.

That's right, sir. It was a mental thing.

That's why I want out.

I was about ready to put you into the X-2 project.

So you want to admit failure, huh, Linc?

Look, I've gone along with you this far I'd feel like it was my failure too.

I'm sorry, sir. I'm just afraid I'd mess things up.

Ever read William Faulkner?

Yes. Most of his stuff.

Well, than maybe you'll remember something he said when he accepted the Nobel Prize.

It's sort of, sort of goes to the heart of the job here at the flight test center.

Something like, "Man will not only endure he will prevail."

Some men, yes.

You'll never know where you'll find it, Linc.

Excuse me, sir. It's Col. McKee. An emergency.

Craven's having trouble, sir.

Aileron reverse, she just snap rolled on him.

'Chase pilot to Craven.'

'Chop your throttle, Joe.'

'Just turn everything loose.'

Okay, Joe, you're out of it.

Level off.

Craven from Gen. Banner.

You okay, Joe?

'No sweat now, general.'

'but I was real busy there for a minute.'

'I sure got the reversal.'

General, I've got wrinkles in both wings.

'How bad, Joe?'

Worse than Bond got.

Chase to Craven. Hold your level.

I'll have a closer look underneath.

Wrinkles underneath too, Joe.

I'm afraid you're gonna have to leave her.

'Chase pilot from Gen. Banner.'

'You're sure it's that bad, Harry?'

Affirmative, general.

The wrinkles are flexing bad in the left wing. May come off.

General, I still think maybe I can land.

Negative, Joe. Get out, get out.

Bail out now. Okay, general.

But I'd like Harry to get some pictures of those wrinkles before I fire myself out of here.

'Use your own judgment, but I advise you to bail out now.'

Hardly take a minute, sir.

Okay, Harry.

'I'm ready to eject.'

'Stay clear.'

'Bail out, Joe. Joe!'

'Can you hear me?' 'Bail out!'

'Joe, fire the canopy.'

'Joe, bail out.'

Joe, fire the canopy.

'Get out of there. Fire the canopy, Joe.'


'Too late, general.'

'His chute opened too late.'

Just the instant before he hit.

Are you sure, Harry?

'Positive, general. He was too low.'

'Never had a chance. He...he's had it, sir.'

Well, I guess there's nothing we can do.

I let him wait too long.

It's not that, sir.

He, he never answered any calls.

He must've been knocked out.

Mickey, you know Polly better than I do.

It might help-- I can tell her, sir.

Only Linc really knows Joe and Polly better than any of us.

Maybe.. Do you mind, Linc?

No, sir. I'll tell her. Thanks.

I'll send the flight surgeon and the chaplain over later.

'I'll drop in shortly.' Yes, sir.

Why do they always have to have two or three kids?

Hiya, Linc. Come on in.

Hi, Uncle Linc.

Daddy hasn't come home yet.

Hi, Uncle Linc.

Polly..

Maybe we'd better go inside.

Joe?

I heard it.

He was..

Well, it was instantaneous.

Let me get Sarah McKee for you.

Not yet.

Please, just excuse me, will you, Linc?

You know, I've been ready for a long time.

Kids, how about going to Aunt Sarah's for ice cream?

Yeah, yeah!

Okay, let's go. Thanks, Uncle Linc.

How'd she take it, Linc?

General, she's got more guts than anybody you ever saw.

Think she's ready to see me yet?

Yes, sir. I think she'd really appreciate it.

I want to thank you for going over there.

We've got a big job ahead of us with this X-F 120.

Major modifications on that wing and all that.

It'll be your project of course if you want it.

Sir, I appreciate that very-- Ah, Linc.

I hope this has knocked out all ideas of your resigning.

Well, general, it hasn't changed the primary reason that I felt I should resign.

The fact that Joe went in still doesn't change the fact that I went sky high last night.

Why shouldn't you have gone sky high?

If a man's taken a lot of nasty beatings while somebody's holding his arms he'd have to be an insensitive idiot not to react violently when he felt somebody was holding his arms again.

What would you do if you got out?

You'd make a rotten insurance salesman anyway.

I wouldn't care to argue that point.

Well, sir, if I'm back on the payroll what you said about working into the X-2 rocket program sounded awfully good.

Alright, Linc, you've got it.

Thank you, sir.


Okay, Linc. 8000 feet.


Count off for drop.

Five, four, three

'two, one.'

'Drop.'


Hank, I'm still getting a little buffeting in the nose.

Stability could be better.


'Stalling action, good.'

Linc to Harry.

Are you sure my nose wheel is straight?


How was it?

You ought to know.

Wow! Same way I felt.

That was really something, Mickey.

But the real charge would be with rocket power.

The old man's set on doing that himself.

I think it's a younger pilot's job.

I know. I got this much out of him.

I get to do this next drop with partial rocket power.

I want you to get qualified to be my launch panel operator.

Well, that's something anyway.

Passing 20,000 feet.

Launch panel cameras on.

Selector switch, off.

Count for jettison.

Five, four, three

'two, one.'

Locks, jettison, switches open.

Come off the X-2!

Come off the X-2!

Get out, Mickey. Get out quick.

Bond to pilot. Drop her! Drop her quick!


'Yes. Yes, sir, that's right.'

'Well, what happened?'

'We don't know, general.'

'They told me she just blew.'

Something more Barn, but we haven't--

'Well, anyway, this settles it.'

I'm not taking anymore chances with you.

On the test with full rocket power you've got to assign somebody else.

The day I can't run my own show I'm turning in my suit for a different model.

'Don't be pig headed, and stubborn.'

'I'm sorry, but if you tie my hands--'

'Nothing personal, Bill.'

'I'm just thinking of the Air Force.'

'Yes, general, I appreciate that.

'But we need you here in Baltimore.'

'Okay. But not until this one's finished. This one's mine.'

'Remember what I told you.'

'We're not getting any younger.'

'Yes, sir. Goodbye.'

That was a real close call for Mickey McKee, wasn't it?

Yes, it was.

Mickey said you must've been almost psychic.

As if you'd had premonition.

I don't go for that.

The instruments weren't reading quite right.

Anyway, testing is based on facts not premonitions.

Linc, there's still one thing after all this time I don't understand about test flying.

What?

Why anyone should want to do it?

Well, why do you think?

I haven't the slightest idea.

At first, I thought maybe it had to do with something silly like proving to each other what real good he-men you were.

But I never met one of you that needed to prove that.

Maybe it's the money.

No, I'm serious.

It's a mystery to all the other women I know.

Well, part of it is the excitement and satisfaction.

Doing something for the first time.

The challenge.

That's a very small part.

When you love flying you know that the aeroplane wants to fly right.

You get a compulsion to make it as perfect as you can.

But with you and Bill and the others, it's almost fanatical like a religion.

Ever heard of a good ballplayer who lived much of anything but baseball?

Or a woman that didn't know that the...only really important thing in life was having children?

But that happens to be true because if we didn't have them where'd you get all your ballplayers or..

Test pilots?

That's right.

Is Bill Banner still planning to fly the big test in the new X-2?

Yes.

Should he do it?

Have you or Mickey explained to him that he shouldn't?

No, Gracie Allen, we haven't.

Just the same, if Bill shouldn't fly that test and everybody knows that he shouldn't then somebody should tell him.

Yes, they should.

Linc, I'm almost..

I probably shouldn't ask.

But what's Bill going to be up against in the X2?

Well, you can't say exactly.

First time a man goes over a hundred thousand feet..

...three or four times the speed of sound hits the heat barrier where the friction of the air makes the wings white-hot.

And the pilot has a fraction of a second to make decisions.

Why did they have to use anything as dangerous as rockets anyway?

There isn't any choice.

No other type of engine develops enough power.

Those two rockets in the tail of the X2 give it enough power to drive a battleship.

Linc, do you have any idea?

Well, any premonition about Bill?

I don't have premonitions.

Connie, you've said Bill four times?

If it weren't Bill it would be another pilot.

You know it's Bill.

Yes, I guess it is.

Well, I got an early take off tomorrow.

'Do you have to go?' Yes, ma'am.

Goodnight, Linc.

At least I'm glad it doesn't have to be you.

You haven't understood a word I've been saying, have you?

I'd give anything if it were going to be me up there.

And I'd give anything if it were me instead of Bill Banner down here.

I don't know.

She oughta be ready for a try at full rocket power but how can you be sure?

This time she's going right out of this world.

Let's face it, Hank, you'll never be sure.

Maybe one more time with one rocket.

I don't see why, Hank.

Mickey and I have already done three more drops than we did on the old X2.

Everything is checking out okay.

Maybe you're right.

Well, whatever General Banner says.

Yeah. See ya, Hank.

Any chance he'll let one of you fly?

Not a prayer, you know the general.

Thanks for the coffee.

Tomorrow's okay with Hank if it's okay with you, sir.

Then it's on.

Something else isn't okay though.

Ever since you went to Baltimore, Mickey there's been new heat on me to delegate this test to a younger pilot.

Now I get a TWX that's a next thing to an order.

Did you have anything to do with this?

They pinned me down, general I gave them a straight answer.

Younger pilot, you for instance?

Me.

Or Linc.

We've been friends for a long time, Mickey.

If I can't depend on your absolute loyalty I'd better get me a new director.

If it's a question of loyalty, sir that'll never be necessary.

Okay.

Alright, wheel and deal.

Set me up for an 05:30 takeoff.

Yes, sir.

May I speak to the general privately?

What's on your mind, Linc?

Well, sir, I never wanted to ask a favor.

Pretty hard to turn you down.

Well, what I mean sir is..

...I'd like to make this next flight in the X2.

You too? I hope I'd earned the chance.

I've flown in her as much as anyone now.

I don't know what's the matter with you.

We know this is gonna be a rugged one.

That makes it my responsibility.

I have a responsibility too, sir.

That day in the locker room..

What about it? You almost passed out.

That could happen in the air. I told you, I tripped.

We both know what happened, sir.

I think the flight surgeon would agree with me.

You'd go to the flight surgeon?

I didn't say that, sir.

I know best whether or not I'm safe to fly.

General, may I speak off the record?

Go right ahead.

I know what it's like to go through hell.

I've been there, and I failed.

And I would've failed here too if it hadn't been for you.

You gave me your confidence and your respect.

You earned it.

Not my own respect.

'You reached your limit once but that was all in the past.'

You would've held out until they killed you.

Keep talking.

I think I've faced myself on that score.

Have you faced yourself?

Have you faced the fact that with your stubborn pride your blind egotism and time catching up with you

'you could jeopardize this whole project?'

That's enough--

If you keep this up your failure can be greater than mine was.

You're the only man alive that could say that to me that I'd listen to.

Is it true, Linc, is it that bad?

I wish I didn't have to be the one to say it.

Do the rest of them think the same?

I can't speak for them.

Well, I'm not making any promises.

But I can't fly them all.

Somebody else will get their chance.

But not this time.

I still wish you'd change your mind.

I guess that's all, Linc.

Very well, general.


And I think you can count on the zero wind for the landing.

Hello, Linc. Hank, come on in.

Coffee? No, thanks.

What's the problem?

Well, sir, it isn't exactly a problem.

Hank was wondering whether..

Well, maybe you better tell the general, Hank.

General, I've been going over the figures again and could we have one more drop at half power?

Just one rocket?

I know you're anxious to go ahead--

I'm not that anxious, Hank.

Not until you're satisfied.

Then I'd suggest, sir that Major Bond repeat exactly the same test he made last week.

Well, the only thing I don't like is the delay.

'I'd really feel better, sir.'

What's your opinion, Linc?

Well, sir, everything checked out normally on my last test but it would give you just that much more information before using both rockets.

Certainly couldn't hurt.

Okay, Hank, I'll approve one more.

You take it up, Linc.

You'll be getting a piece of what you want anyhow.

'I appreciate it.'

After Bond's test set me up as soon as possible for the final test.

Both rockets, full power. 'Yes, sir.'

'Linc.'

How about flying Chase for you tomorrow?

Okay, Mickey?

Okay.

'Weather report's still okay for take off time?'

'Affirmative. Wind's subsiding.'

'Forward tank filled?' 'Check.'

'Aft tank filling?' 'Check.'

'Operations inform Bond we still have a zero wind for takeoff.'

'Affirmative, he knows.'

That liquid oxygen is really frosting up now.

Snow's beginning to form on the skin.


How do you feel, Linc?

I always get a few butterflies with rocket power.

Yeah, so do I.

But using one rocket you can stay below 70,000, alright.

No problem, sir.

Good luck. Thank you, sir.

Good luck, Linc. Thanks, Bromo.


Five thousand feet.

'5-0-0-0 at 0-5-4-1'

'Paraplane oscillograph on 60 seconds.'

'Launch panel camera on, 15 seconds.'

'Top off liquid level.' 'Okay.'

'Forward LOX tank?' 'Normal.'

'LOX tank pressure?' 'Okay.'

'Camera heaters, on.'

'Okay.'

'Four minutes to drop.'

'Flap circuit breaker, in.'

'Hawk number one switch to run position.'

'Hawk number two switch to run position.'

'Hydraulic pressure gauge is 2000 psi.'

'Radar on.'

'Two minutes to drop.'

'Launch switch to drop position.'

Launch switch to drop position.

Data and oscillograph switch is on let's start up a countdown.

Zero button in.

Calibrating button in.

Item 41 complete.

Item 42.

Indicated air speed, 2-0-0.

Starting dive.

Starting countdown for drop.

Five, four

'three, two'

'one...drop.'


There goes number two too.

'He's fired both rockets.'

He's got full power, general. I know, I heard it.

What does he think he's doing?

Did you give him a choice, general?

Later, Hank. Talk to me later.

Passing mach one.

'Got mach two.'

'Sixty thousand feet.'

'Seventy thousand feet.'

'Eighty thousand feet.'

'Ninety thousand feet.'

'Ninety five.'

'I'm in trouble. She's rolling badly.'

'No directional control.'

I think I know what's wrong.

I've gotta change the tail.

Raise the fin higher. Increase the area.

Everything's going haywire. I can't..

'I can't. I..'

Ask Bromo if he's still in contact with Bond?

Bell control to Major Lee.

Are you still reading the X2?

'Negative.'

'His transmission was getting garbled.'

'The last I heard, he was firing the ejection system.'

Thank God.


The flight surgeon is here, sir. And Colonel McKee.

Send them in, Connie.

Come in.

How is he now, doc?

He's gonna make it, general.

Good.

Near as we can tell a wind blast tore open that experimental face plate at high altitude and passed him out.

And he's got a mild brain concussion and an injured hip.

Ah, Linc's a pretty rugged customer.

He had to be. It was that close.

He's still coming out of a severe case of the bends.

Call for excellent physical condition.

Oh, I know that.

Frankly, sir, a pilot your age wouldn't have had a chance.

Well, sir, I better be getting back to the hospital.

Thank you, doctor.

Well, Mickey, I've been here a long stretch.

Seems like a lifetime.

Tests that came out okay, and some bad.

'But in a way they were all successful.'

What I meant to say Mickey..

...I've got news for you.

I'm transferring to headquarters Air Research and Development Command.

I'll recommend you to succeed me.

We're gonna miss you, Bill.

I know you'll do a great job.

Thanks. Coffee?

No. thanks, Connie.

About Linc's flight, sir.

General Shelby's headquarters wants to know if he violated orders going to full rocket power?

Of course, he didn't violate orders.

I left it up to him. Verbal orders.

Then we better amend this operations order, officially.

In writing. Alright.

It's amended.

Line of duty. Yes, sir.

Connie, what are your plans?

I imagine I'll stay here.

Of course, I'd love to have you go with me.

I'd love it too, Bill.

But you know that story about the paratrooper who was afraid to jump.

And the general asked him why he became a paratrooper?

The boy said

"Because I like to be around guys who like to jump."

I guess I'm that way about the flight test center.

Yeah.

I know what you mean.

I'll miss these guys around here, all of them.

Mickey, Linc. Specially, Linc.

There's a big fire burning out of control near the dump.

Tell them to put it out, Sweeney.

Yes, sir.

But, sir, won't they just naturally go ahead and..

Yes, sir, I'll tell them to put it out.

Connie, I'll tell you how much I think of Lincoln Bond.

He deserves you.

Now, you'd better get over to the hospital, hmm?

Bill, I'm so sorry.

Look, you don't have to worry about me.

Anybody who's waited as long as I have to get married probably knows subconsciously what a rotten husband he'd be anyway.

Don't give me that!

I'm tellin' you what the man said.

I'm not responsible for the caliber of orders that are given around here.

Under this antiquated military system they're given to me and I pass 'em on.

Lieutenant Sweeney.

I'm leaving for Baltimore so you'd better get me packed.

Yes, sir.

If you're coming along you'd better start packing yourself.

You mean, you want me to go along with you, sir?

Well, let's put it this way.

After having been in the service almost 25 years I've run into something completely new and unheard of in the Air Force.

I don't want to let it get away until I find out what it is.

Yes, sir.

Something new and unheard of, sir?

A second lieutenant with a general for an aid.

That'll finally hit him tonight in bed and he'll go right through the ceiling.

I don't care if that is against regulations.

It's all your, Mickey.

Take good care of the place.

I won't say goodbye, Bill.

I know you'll be droppin' in on us to keep your hand in.

Connie, you take good care of Mickey.

I'll do my best.

And I'm not saying goodbye, either.

You'll be coming back.

Sure, sure.

You see that Linc follows Doc Bailey's orders.

He's not supposed to be out of bed for another week.

What the..

Button your coat. I know, I know.

It was like getting out of Alcatraz but I made it.

Linc..

...when are you gonna learn to carry out orders?

Sorry, general, but I've never been able to miss a parade.

Present..

Order, hut.

There goes a lot of guy.

A lot.

As much as we'll ever see.

Well, almost.