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    The flight that made John Glenn a national celebrity

    Project Bullet: The Golden U.S. Navy Helmet Worn by John Glenn during this Record-Breaking Transcontinental Flight in 1957, Later Gifted to His Friend and Friendship 7 Backup Scott Carpenter, Directly from the Carpenter Family Collection. It was July 16, 1957, when Marine Corps Major John Glenn boarded an F8U Crusader, put on this very helmet, and took off from Los Alamitos NAS, California, headed to Floyd Bennett Field in New York City with the purpose of breaking the transcontinental speed record of 3:45 (held by an Air Force Republic F-84 Thunderjet). He wasn't seeking fame but rather to prove that a carrier-based aircraft with the Pratt-Whitney J-57 engine could tolerate an extended period at full afterburner power without damage. The name of the project came from the fact that he would be traveling faster than a fired .45 caliber bullet. After three in-flight refuelings and several sonic booms heard on the ground in the east where there was no inversion layer, he set down in New York with an elapsed time of 3 hours, 23 minutes, setting a transcontinental speed record of 725.55 mph. Since the F8U he flew was a photo-reconnaissance model, he also took the first continuous coast to coast panoramic photo of the United States. As a result of this flight, Glenn received his fifth Distinguished Flying Cross, was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and sealed his place in America's first astronaut corps, the "Mercury Seven." He kept the helmet and later gifted it to Scott Carpenter who treasured it until his passing. A Letter of Authenticity from Scott Carpenter's son will be included with the lot.

    This aviator helmet has "N A V Y" with the wings in blue on the crown (he flew as a Naval test pilot) and his name "J.H. GLENN" written in ink on the right side. The visor moves up and down via a round push button and an electrical connecting cable is attached at the left side. Chin strap still present. The interior lining is beginning to disintegrate as would be expected but this helmet has held up quite nicely through the years with only honest wear. Judging from photos taken that day, the helmet had already seen quite a bit of action at that point. Three B&W glossy modern prints of him, the "Project Bullet" plane, and this helmet are included. This is a museum-worthy piece of aviation (and space) history. Don't miss out.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2018
    1st-3rd Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,417

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