McDonnell Douglas Years

James H. Williams



1956: Testing Jet Engines, Smart Air Field, St. Charles County, Missouri

Test facility, built of  bales of hay, 400 feet long by 80 feet wide.  The hay was for noise reduction as jet engines were run for four hours a day during testing conducted by McDonnell Douglas Aircraft technician, James H. Williams.

First test facility: Jet engines being tested for a dual engine Navy Fighter (1956) [enlargement]

1st hay facility but looking in opposite direction. The jet blast would fire across this steel mesh laid down over the asphalt runway. Intense heat would melt the asphalt and the blast would send flaming particles into the hay, causing a fire that would call more than a dozen fire trucks. [Enlargement]

Overhead view of 2nd sound barrier test facility. 22,000 hay bales cover with fire retardant sheeting. Smart Airfield, St. Charles, Mo. [Enlargement]

Another overhead view of 2nd sound barrier test facility. [Enlargement]

Hank Alley, Inspector and aircraft mechanic Jim Williams at Smart Airfield engine test facility.  Even with earplugs, much of my hearing was lost due to the test running of jet engines four hours a day.  The area farmers complained that their cows would not give milk because they were so nervous due to the noise.  Other farmers complained the chickens would not lay eggs.  After the 2nd fire, the facility was closed down. The 2nd fire was caused by the forceful blast of the engines, they blew the burning asphalt right through the fire proof sheeting.


"Project Jack Frost"

Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

St. Louis McDonnell Douglas team braves 95 MPH Winds, Visibility Four Feet, Sub-Zero Temperatures Perfect weather for conducting Engine Air Duct Anti-icing Test on the F-101A "Voodoo".

The First team consists of Jim Alexander, Jim Williams, Mechanics; Harold Johnson, instrumentation technician,; Bob Boyd, instrumentation Engineer; Bill Gehring, Senior Engineer; Jim Miller, instrumentation engineer; Ray Goodwin, mechanic.

The jet engine parts were dropped off during the summer. So the teams first operation involved digging the crates out of the snow and ice.

Pictured here are Jim Miller, Jim Williams, and G. Higgins.

One of the few buildings on top of Mt Washington. Without cables, in sporadic hurricane force wind, the men could be easily blown off the side of the mountain. A monument exists on top of the mountain giving the names of those that had perished atop the summit.  Despite the danger, everyone of our team made it home safely.

Assembling an jet engine amid the relative shelter of test building. Regardless of the shelter it was bitterly cold.

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Early Descendants of John Williams of Hanover Co., Virginia


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Scott K. Williams, copyright 2005, Florissant, Mo. USA