From 0 to Mach 2
The first jet aircraft to fly over Carson Valley was piloted by Minden resident Clarence Godecke around 70 years ago toward the end of World War II.
Godecke recalls that as a test pilot at McClellan Field in California he checked out on a P-80 Shooting Star.
He said he flew the length of Carson Valley. Everyone heard the aircraft overhead, but he only heard from one person who saw it. Godecke was a test pilot for a short time before he re-entered the service as a bomber pilot.
This weekend there will be plenty of fighter jets flying over Carson Valley as the U.S. Air Force Thunder Birds perform as part of the Aviation Roundup at Minden-Tahoe Airport.
Joining the Thunderbirds will be the U.S. Navy’s Super Hornet demonstration team.
American military aviation isn’t much more than a century old. Its progress since the first heavier than air flight in 1903 is even more astounding.
When Godecke joined the Army Air Corps, flight was only 40 years old, which wasn’t quite twice as old as he was.
It has been 110 years since the first aircraft landed in Western Nevada, on the old Raycraft Ranch in Carson City.
While admittedly there aren’t may 110-year-olds, there are people alive today who were born before the first aircraft landed in the Silver State.
When we watch the Thunderbirds pilot their F-16s through their paces, we are seeing a demonstration of technological prowess unmatched in the world.
Which perhaps raises the hope that if we can go from 0 to Mach 2 in 112 years, there are many other things we can do as well.