First pilot to exceed the 100,000 feet mark in an aircraft
Born in Huntsville, Texas, Joe B. Jordan earned his wings as an Air Force fighter pilot in 1950. In 1959 he won the Harmon Trophy when he established the world altitude record of 103,395.5 feet flying an F-104C Starfighter. A graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School, Jordan was selected to evaluate a Russian MiG-21 after its Iraqi pilot defected with the aircraft to Israel in 1967. Knowledge gained from the flight tests Jordan conducted provided American pilots a tactical advantage against the MiG-21 in combat situations during the Vietnam War. Jordan continued as a test pilot flying the General Dynamics F-111 and the Northrop YF-17.