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Below you will find many prized photographs, documents and newspaper articles from General Ascani's own private collection. I would like to thank you Fred for sending them to me, they are wonderful and give the reader an insight to your colorful career. Credit has been given to the donor for each photograph, just hover the mouse pointer for details.

To view the full sized photographs, please click on the thumbnail images. To view the video clip, either click on the graphic, or right click and then choose "save target as".

Signed photograph of Major Fred J Ascani (now retired Major General Fred J Ascani, with F-86H. Thank you for all your help Fred Colonel Fred J Ascani (now retired Major General Fred J Ascani, with the F-86 Sabre that he set a world closed course speed record of 635.68mph at Detroit, Michigan. August 1951. Photo courtesy AFFTC Colonel Fred J Ascani (now retired Major General Fred J Ascani, with F-86 Sabre. Photo courtesy AFFTC Portrait shot of the then Brigadier General Ascani. Photo courtesay AFFTC Colonel Fred J Ascani (now retired Major General Fred J Ascani, with the Thompson Trophy which he was awarded for his speed record set at Detroit. Photo courtesy AFFTC Officers club in Germany or France, 1951-53, Yeager gets an award from Ascani. From General Ascani's private collection Major Fred J Ascani (now retired Major General Fred J Ascani, beside F-86H Sabre. Thanks for your help and the photograph Fred This shot of General Ascani flying his favourite F-86H Sabre was taken by Chuck Yeager. Yeager was flying alongside at 10000 feet over France. From General Ascani's private collection This graphic was produced by a friend of General Ascani and depicts his record breaking flight in a F-86F at Detroit, 1951 A famous photo of Chuck Yeager, Fred and the brain, Jackie Ridley. Edwards AFB 1950-53. From General Ascani's private collection John Wayne, Janet Leigh & Fred J. Ascani with X-1 at Edwards AFB on the set of RKO movie JET PILOT. From General Ascani's private collection A visit to the Bell Aircraft Corporation plant, Buffallo, New York 1949-1950. Aircraft 81386, behind X-1 is X-1D. From General Ascani's private collection A close friend of Jackie Cochrane in 1952-53. From General Ascani's private collection Accompanying the Shah of Iran, 1948-49. From General Ascani's private collection Air Marshal Sir Harry Broadhurst & Colonel Fred J. Ascani, Edwards AFB, about 1951-53.. From General Ascani's private collection Ascani with captured German Arado 234 at Muroc. From General Ascani's private collection Fred J. Ascani receiving the Thompson Trophy from Mr. Crawford, President of Thompson Products. Detroit – 1951. For the 100km closed course record – 635.28mph.. From General Ascani's private collection At the rollout of the #1 aircraft North American XB-70 Valkyrie. Circa 1961-62, see the person on the podium (Fred J. Ascani). From General Ascani's private collection The “Duke” and Fred J. Ascani alongside the X-1. The Duke is John Wayne. From General Ascani's private collection With Japanese Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff of Japan Air Self Defence Force on Fred's departure from Japan – 1957. From General Ascani's private collection Ascani and his Jeep in Italy – 1942, combat tour in B-17’s. Snooney, is a term of endearment given by General Ascani's wife. From General Ascani's private collection With deposed King Michael of Romania at Wright-Patterson AFB, circa 1949-50. From General Ascani's private collection The Arado 234. Flown by Fred and 5 other pilots - 1948-50. From General Ascani's private collection Jackie Cochrane with Fred Ascani at a Cleveland or Detroit Airshow circa 1952-54. From General Ascani's private collection Fred in the cockpit of Chance-Vought F-7U. Fred made the first supersonic flight of this aircraft in a dive over Dallas. From General Ascani's private collection This was the backup aircraft at the National Air Races at Detroit, Michigan. World closed course speed record over 100km distance 50 feet of the ground of 635.28mph was set in aircraft #2. From General Ascani's private collection

General Ascani and General Bob Cardenas with captured German Arado 234 jet at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio. Painting I commissioned of General Ascani's F-86H based on photograph taken by Chuck Yeager. Chance-Vought document, for first supersonic flight in F-7U over Dallas. From General Ascani's private collection

Chance-Vought document, for first supersonic flight in F-7U over Dallas. From General Ascani's private collection

On a hunting trip in Germany. Left ot right; Ascani, Yeager, unknown and Bob Uhrig. From General Ascani's private collection Football team carrying Fred off field when winning football championship in 50th Fighter-Bomber Wing in France, 1955. From General Ascani's private collection Chuck Yeager & Fred Ascani near the visiting officers quarters (VOQ) at Edwards AFB, for the Gathering of Eagles ceremony 1997. From General Ascani's private collection Chuck Yeager & Eva Gabor at Nellis AFB, 1954 (Chuck was part of the Fighter-Bomber group commanded by Fred at the time). From General Ascani's private collection With Michael, King of Romania on a visit to Wright Field, 1949-50. From General Ascani's private collection Gunnery meet at Las Vegas, Nevada, 1956. Standing left to right are Ascani, Yeager, Pasqualiccio; kneeling left to right are Baker & unknown. From General Ascani's private collection. Left to Right; Jackie Ridley, Fred Ascani & Chuck Yeager, Edwards AFB, 1950-53. From General Ascani's private collection Being hoisted aloft by (fromleft ot right) Benjamin Franklin and Colonel John Spatz immediately after setting world speed record for 100km closed course in Detroit, Michigan, August 17, 1951. From General Ascani's private collection Fred with his family on his 80th birthday, 1997. From General Ascani's private collection Fred's F-86E, in which he set the world 100km closed course speed record of 635.68mph on August 17, 1951. Signed by Fred and given to me. Newspaper clipping from 1951. Being presented the Mackay Trophy by General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Air Force Chief of Staff. Left to right, Hoyt Vandenberg, Fred Ascani & Kay Ascani. From General ascani's private collection. Newspaper clipping from 1952. Testing the British Hawker Hunter. From General ascani's private collection. Article from Air Force Magazine, June 1964. At the roll-out of the first XB-70. From General ascani's private collection. Painting of the XB-70 given to General Ascani upon his leaving the project. From General ascani's private collection. The dedication on the XB-70 painting to General Ascani from North American. From General ascani's private collection.

Mission behind enemy lines

An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 1. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 2. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 3. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 4. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 5. From General Ascani's private collection.

Autographed items

Below are some items autographed and very kindly sent to me by General Ascani. Please click on the thumbnail for the larger image.

Captured German Arado 234 jet powered bomber. Composite image of the Bell X-1 & Boeing YF-22 over Edwards AFB. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first supersonic flight. United States Airforce advertisement from the 1940's & 50's.

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Fred J. Ascani, Maj. Gen. (USAF, Retired)

Sign General Ascani’s Guestbook! Read the Guestbook!

Born on May 29th 1917 in Beloit, Wisconsin, Frederick J. Ascani entered the world before America’s first aviation force had been tested in combat.

Ascani grew up in Rockford, Illinois, graduating from Rockford High School in the spring of 1935. After high-school graduation, Ascani attended the Beloit College for a two-year period. It was during this period that Adolf Hitler began his quest for world domination. Anticipating the onset of a global war, the young college student secured an appointment to the US. Military Academy. Graduating from West Point in June 1941, Ascani ranked 34th in a class of 424. Ascani graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Corps of Engineers and immediately volunteered for pilot training.

Ascani began his primary flight training at Hicks Field, near Fort Worth, Texas. Basic Pilot Training followed at Randolph Army field, with Advanced Flight Training at Foster Field, Victoria, Texas. It was March 1942 when Ascani won his wings as a rated Army Pilot. Lt. Ascani’s first assignment was that of Instructor in advanced twin-engine aircraft at Columbus Field, Mississippi. By the time he left the unit in February 1943, Ascani’s obvious leadership skills placed him in command of the school’s Flying Training Squadron. Ascani left Columbus Field for B-17 transition training at Sebring, Florida until May 1943.

The next eight months could have broke Ascani’s resolve, while flying for the 20th Tow Target Squadron over Spokane, Washington, he performed an endless stream of steady patterns towing targets for the fighter squadrons. In February 1944, Ascani was designated, the Squadron Commander for the 815th bombardment squadron, part of the 483rd bomb group. In January 1944, Ascani was promoted to the rank of Major and reported to MacDill AFB, Florida.

Major Ascani’s outstanding flying skills and management ability was recognised by his superiors, and in April 1944, Major Ascani was selected for an assignment as the commander of the 816th bombardment squadron stationed in Italy and moved there in May 1944. In the next 11 months, the 483rd Bombardment group (and its four squadrons) began bombing targets such as factories, oil refineries, railroad yards, airfields, bridges and enemy troop concentrations in countries such as France, Germany, Poland, Austria & Yugoslavia. During a mission on July 18th, 1944, operating without a fighter escort, the 483rd was attacked by more than 200 enemy fighters. In the course of the battle, more than 50% of the B-17’s were lost to the enemy fighters. Despite this, the group still managed to bomb its intended target of Memmingen, Germany. Ascani and the surviving aircrews won a distinguished unit citation that day. During his tour of duty, Ascani completed a total of 53 missions, most of them in the B-17 he had christened SNOONEY III.

Ascani took part in a top secret mission to Czechoslovakia on October7th, 1944 to deliver essential supplies and munitions. Read the full account of his mission in the document below.

An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 1. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 2. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 3. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 4. From General Ascani's private collection. An account of General Ascani's mission to Czechoslovakia behind enemy lines in October 1944. Page 5. From General Ascani's private collection.

Ascani rotated back to the USA with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in December 1944. Assigned to the Air Technical Service Command’s Flight test Division at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, he was designated as chief of the Bomber Test section. Commander of the Flight Test division at the time was Colonel Albert G. Boyd. Boyd was a renowned test pilot and would later be known as “the father of modern flight test”. In 1946, Boyd selected Ascani to become his executive officer.

One of the most important projects at that time was to achieve supersonic flight. Success in that endeavour could only be achieved by the selection of the right personnel for the project. This was the first time that the Air Force would conduct a flight research program, so the correct personnel was essential to the successful outcome of the program. Boyd & Ascani agonised over the selection of the pilot and team who would eventually break the sound barrier. Ascani’s choice would have been head of the fighter test section, Maj. Ken Chilstrom; this was because Ascani new him better than any of the other 125 pilots in the flight test division. Boyd had seen Yeager (one of the most junior test pilots) fly in air shows and was tremendously impressed with that and his background as a maintenance officer, possibly seeing a lot of his younger self in Chuck. The day that Yeager was informed he had the hottest ticket in flying, Colonel Boyd made Yeager stand to attention the whole time the meeting between Yeager, Boyd & Ascani was in progress. At the end of the meeting Boyd warmly shook Yeager’s hand in congratulations. The Air Force crew that would make an assault on the sound barrier would be Capt. Chuck Yeager (prime pilot); Lt. Bob Hoover (backup pilot) and Capt. Jack Ridley (project engineer). Ascani later recalled: “Yeager flies an airplane as if he were welded to it – as if he is an integral part of it”.

In July 1950, Ascani arrived at Edwards AFB, his job there was Director of Experimental Flight test & Engineering of the 3077th Experimental Group. When the Air Force Flight Test Center was created as a separate entity, he would become the first Vice Commander of the AFFTC.

Ascani remained an active test pilot throughout his years at Wright Field & Edwards AFB, flying over 50 different types of research and experimental prototype aircraft in the Air Forces inventory. Types flown include X-1, X-4, X-5, XF-92A, XB-42, XB-45 tornado, XB-46, XB-48, YB-49 Flying Wing, XB-51, B-36, B-47, B-52, B-1, C-130, C-5 & C-141.

At Detroit, Michigan, during the national air races in August 1951, Ascani flew an F-86E Sabre over a 100km closed course and set a new official world speed record of 635.686mph. That speed was averaged over a 100km distance at a height of no more than 50 feet above the ground! This feat earned Colonel Ascani the prestigious Thompson & Mackay Trophies as well as the Vaulx Medal of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).

In 1955, Ascani became Commander of the 50th Fighter-Bomber Wing stationed at Hahn AFB, Germany. One of his top squadron commanders there was one Maj. Chuck Yeager. In July 1961, Ascani was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and became System Program director for the XB-70 Valkyrie, in this position, he was responsible for the procurement and development of the two Mach 3 bombers.

In July 1964, Ascani became commander of the Systems Engineering Group & Deputy Commander of Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. On September 24th 1964, he was promoted to the rank of Major General. In 1971, Ascani earned his masters of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California. Ascani retired from the United States Air Force on August 1st 1973.

Following his retirement from the Air Force, Ascani taught a master of systems management course at the Defence Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, Virginia from 1973 to 1978. Retiring from the academic scene in 1981, Ascani has become computer literate and at one point, even built his own primitive computer. General Ascani is a volunteer to the Air Force history Support Office located at Bolling AFB, Washington D.C.

SETP Honor General Ascani

General Fred J. Ascani being presented with his SETP Honorary Fellowship by Scott Crossfield. Photo courtesy General Ascani

General Ascani was named an “Honorary Fellow” by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) at their annual banquet and symposium in Los Angeles on October 25th 2002. This was the first time General Ascani’s status as a test pilot has been recognised by an official body. None other than former NACA/North American test pilot Scott Crossfield presented the SETP award to General Ascani at the Army-Navy country club located just outside of Washington D.C. The presentation and luncheon was organised by retired Air-Force Colonel Gene Deatrick. Colonel Deatrick took the photograph above and shows General Ascani being presented his award by Scott Crossfield. I take pride knowing that my letter to the SETP helped to have General Ascani honored.

A Tribute to General Ascani

General Ascani, I would like to thank you for your generosity in regard to your time, helpfulness and assistance in obtaining and sending to me all these wonderful photographs, video's, booklets & documents from throughout your career. I hope that everyone who visits this site will thoroughly enjoy these photographs and items as much as I do. Without your help, myself and others would never have had the opportunity to view them, they are a prize asset to this site. General Ascani, I feel very fortunate and lucky to be able to call you my friend. You are a legend of flight test and I salute you. With sincere thanks and best wishes to you Fred – Derek Horne, January 4th 2003.

If you would like further information on General Ascani, please do not hesitate to contact me at webmaster@mach-buster.co.uk

Please take time to sign the guestbook below for General Ascani's pages. Thank you.

Sign General Ascani’s Guestbook! Read the Guestbook!

Please click here to view the page dedicated to General Ascani's honor at the City of Lancaster's Aerospace Walk of Honor, Lancaster, California, 1999.


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Other Pages in this site

[Intro page] [Home page] [Photo gallery] [Photo page 1] [Photo page 2] [WW2] [General Yeager's Biography] [The Bell X-1] [Supersonic Flight Transcript] [X-1A Flights] [X-1A Audio Clips] [XF-92A] [X-Planes] [M2-F1 Lifting Body] [NF-104 & the ARPS] [Fred J. Ascani] [Aerospace Walk of Honor] [Bob Cardenas] [Jackie Cochran] [Panch Barnes] [Gen Yeager's Personal Appearances] [Model page] [Flight Simulation Downloads] [Books & Video] [Links] [Personal Appearances] [Yeager at NASM 2001] [Search site]

[Breaking The Sound Barrier by NOVA]

[Chuck Yeager Video, this is on Bud Anderson's website and is linked with permission]

[X-1 memoirs by Dr. William Pell]