Captain Rudolph “Shorty” Schroeder, USA

1886 – 1952

Captain Rudolph Schroeder served as U.S. Army test pilot and Chief of all Army test flying at McCook Field. He set numerous world records, including a flight of 33,114 feet in an open-cockpit Packard-LePere LUSAC-11 with only heavy clothing and a regulation oxygen mask for protection from the 67 degrees below zero temperature. At the height of his flight he began to feel dizzy from oxygen deficiency and raised his goggles momentarily to locate the emergency oxygen supply. The extreme cold froze the moisture in his eyes, blinding him. His attempt to descend resulted in an extreme vertical drop that caused Schroeder to pass out, but he regained consciousness in time to pull out of the six mile dive at 2000 feet. He landed the plane safely, still with his vision partially obstructed. In 1945, the six foot
four inches tall “Shorty” Schroeder was honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross.