Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Phillip M Prophett 1917 - 1999

Convair Test Pilots Don Germeraad(left) and Phil Prophett in the cockpit of the Convair CV880
Maiden flight of the Convair CV880 with Don Germeraad and Phil Prophett

Phil Prophett was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts inn 1917. He caught the flying bug at a young age, moving to San Diego and enrolling at the Ryan School of Aeronautics. He obtained an aircraft Master Mechanic's and Pilot’s license. Whilst there he was able to train with the men that had built Lindbergh's transatlantic aircraft. He became a flight instructor for Ryan, then chief pilot for their commercial flight operations. In World War II he was an air corps pilot instructor. After the war he joined Consolidated Aircraft as a test pilot.

He was involved in several of Convair's aircraft test programs, including late models of the B-24 bomber, the CV-340 and CV-880 airliners, the giant XC-99 transport, and the B-36 and the XB-46 jet bombers. In 1954 he was named Convair's chief of F-102 / F-106 interceptor flight test at Edwards, and later ran tests of those fighters' air-to-air missile systems at Holloman. By 1961 he was Convair's Chief of Engineering Flight Test, and had over 7,000 hours of flight time.

Prophett was moved to the Atlas ICBM program in 1961 to take over the base activation program, which was in crisis. He saw the first ICBM through completion of deployment by 1963, followed by its rapid deactivation. He left the Atlas program in 1966, becoming Convair's director of international sales. Prophett retired in 1977.