The Rocket Sled Trials of Colonel John Stapp

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In his extraordinary career, Colonel John Paul Stapp, MD, PhD, and epic daredevil, did downright crazy things with a simple purpose: To save lives. The rocket sled trials of Colonel John Stapp is history that deserves to be remembered.
This is original content based on research by The History Guy. Images in the Public Domain are carefully selected and provide illustration. As very few images of the actual event are available in the Public Domain, images of similar objects and events are used for illustration.
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All events are portrayed in historical context and for educational purposes. No images or content are primarily intended to shock and disgust. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Non censuram.
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Script by THG
#ushistory #thehistoryguy #RocketSled

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  • As several viewers have noticed, the name of the base in California is Muroc, not Murdoc. I apologize for the error.

    The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
    • well ok, we'll forgive you this one time

      eric van tasselleric van tassell25 өдрийн өмнө
    • Wasn’t Howlin’ Mad Muroc a character on the A-Tem? 🤣

      Doug JBDoug JBСарын өмнө
    • @Craig Wall He copped to it and that's all that matters to me.

      Robert FergusonRobert FergusonСарын өмнө
    • Craig Wall p

      Gary BurnsGary BurnsСарын өмнө
    • mnthe.info/bill/video/pZl61GazoKSCfKI

      Will GriffWill GriffСарын өмнө
  • I really like your content, but please just talk more slowly. It would make the video better......

    Jack ArmstrongJack ArmstrongӨдрийн өмнө
  • I lived at Edwards and road over that track many times from 1960 to 1972. Never saw a sled run, but you could see and hear test firing at the rocket site, and sonic booms, often double, all day. Air shows and armed forces day, got to see x-15 from 5 feet. Classmates' dads were x-15 pilots, literal rocket scientists, astronauts, my sister had class with Yeager's kid. Been to the ruins of Pancho Barnes' Happy Bottom Riding Academy, saw Pancho at the fair, Neil Armstrong talked to my Future Scientists of America club. The part of the movie "The Right Stuff" set at Edwards documented my childhood town, set in house just like ours, at the exact time I was there. I was on the flight line and climbed the rocket test stand (security was not absolute in those days) courtesy of our fathers. One of my friends dad brought home some liquid nitrogen for us to mess with. Toured Goldstone and Pt Mugu with Aerospace explorers and got presentation from USAF survival school. Girlfriend and father worked at Dryden FRC (now Armstrong), so lunch on their cafeteria and behind the scenes tour. My last three months there worked at flight test center data processing as student aid e, working on flight test of F-15. If you like planes, rockets, aerospace tech, dream childhood. Up to 120 in the summer, down once to 0 in the winter, hurricane force wind gusts, almost never rains, and Edwards is way far away from anywhere, but the planes were cool. They let us into the big planes but not the fighters, and of course I didn't get to fly them/

    jt95124jt9512419 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thank you, History Guy. We need to know about these people.

    Frank GullaFrank Gulla25 өдрийн өмнө
  • I picture the history playing the guitar solo in the outro song every episode :)

    IcoNIcoNСарын өмнө
  • You can see that dude saying "Man, oh, man!" after a run.

    yoinkhahayoinkhahaСарын өмнө
  • "There are 2 models of the human body - male and female." Instead of debating statehood for the Mars colony, we are debating ridiculous shit like whether that statement is offensive and "transphobic". I’m surprised this video hasn’t been banned yet because of that quote. It’s probably been demonitized. In the UK, Canada, and soon in New York, police will pay you a visit if you say something like that. It’s an automatic ban on Twitter and Facebook.

    Kalt KaltKalt KaltСарын өмнө
  • Thank you THG...

    ARC ElectricARC ElectricСарын өмнө
  • Not that I look for them, but I believe I have caught two mistakes in this episode. The name of the testing range near Edwards Air Force Base is Muroc, not Murdoc. It is named after Muroc Dry Lake. And the study of animals is pronounced ZO-ology, not ZOO-ology. Still, I really enjoy your presentations and will continue to watch them.

    samson3000samson3000Сарын өмнө
  • Extended commercial for NordVPN ends at 2:30. You're welcome.

    Gamina WulfsdottirGamina WulfsdottirСарын өмнө
  • Surely his last name is pronounced, "STHAAAAAAAAP!" ;)

    Admiral QualityAdmiral QualityСарын өмнө
  • After seeing the dummy go flying... “strap me in bud!” 🍻

    DSToNe19and83DSToNe19and83Сарын өмнө
  • Shook his & Tombaugh's hand at an induction ceremony at the Space History Museum in Alamogordo. It was a bright, clear day😁

    Milton Michael MillsMilton Michael MillsСарын өмнө
  • An excellent video on a subject I knew very little about. Again. And again, and again, and again. THG, you're awesome.

    John RestJohn RestСарын өмнө
  • Lakehurst NJ had a Rocket Sled for training, the Navy Base where they had Blimps

    Harris BobroffHarris BobroffСарын өмнө
  • Really good choice of subject matter. Even as an Aussie, I became aware of the good Doctor a few years ago. What a marvelous legacy he created, thank you for adding to my knowledge of the man's history.

    33nfidel33nfidelСарын өмнө
  • God bless his him.

    Richard JohnsonRichard JohnsonСарын өмнө
  • Need to call out this film: mnthe.info/bill/video/gZiCp5uqhK-FbJA It's the perfect second course.

    Noah SpurrierNoah SpurrierСарын өмнө
  • As long as you're mispronouncing things (pinned comment), JATO is not pronounced like two words, but rather the "T" is very soft, almost like "jado." Also, Stapp's research WAS taken to heart by commercial airlines, but just for the cabin crew. That's why the flight attendant seats face backwards. The only reason the cockpit crew faces forwards is that they have to see where they're going.

    Jack HagertyJack HagertyСарын өмнө
  • Once, there was this guy who Strapped himself to rocket chairs So he could study stopping

    ErickCErickCСарын өмнө
  • Well there used to be only 2 models of humans back then but now at last count there are at least 17,947,479.9 different genders and anyone who says otherwise is worse than hitler according to my college professor.

    drgonzo305drgonzo305Сарын өмнө
  • "John Stapp was born in Brazil" that explains it all doesn't it.

    SH4D0WSH4D0WСарын өмнө
  • Something to be remembered about what Dr. Stapp said about 2 models of human beings, is that he did his studies and papers in the days when things were thought of differently than today. To try to put PC rules into place on someone from before Pc was a thing, seems a bit useless. Now if someone knows that he came back from the grave and started being "un-PC", well I would love to hear that story.

    MitchMitchСарын өмнө
  • All of that and yet the people who are remembered most are singers and actors. Sad, he was a great, brave man.

    MitchMitchСарын өмнө
  • Muroc Field. Named after the Muroc brothers, who owned the land prior to the military building on it.

    The Devil In The CircuitThe Devil In The CircuitСарын өмнө
  • No one seems to have mentioned Kenny Brack yet. His indycar crash in 2003 was recorded at a peak of 214G and he survived.

    sennadesillvasennadesillvaСарын өмнө
  • Hey “History Guy” how about a short on the Great Lake of Lake Erie?? I live on Lake Erie and you gotta experience it to understand it. It’s one of if not THE deadliest body’s of water in the world. I’ve seen and been on it where it goes from dead calm almost glass like to huge swells in 15 minutes. You can actually see them go from glass to 1 foot then two then 3 then 4 and so on with the naked eye. We boaters on the lake know if you wait just 15 minutes to head in you’ve waited 15 minutes to long. I’ve seen 10 foot plus waves on the lake and yes that’s nowhere near as high as some bodies of water BUT for one there 10 foot high and 20 foot apart in a lake that averages just 50 feet. These waves are incredibly close together very steep and unforgiving. If you try and ride up one you’ll nose into the next. A short on the storms and dangers of Lake Erie would be great! Thanks history guy keep up the good work

    Kelly DunniganKelly DunniganСарын өмнө
  • the Jackass crew aint got nothing on this dude!

    Alias SmithandJonesAlias SmithandJonesСарын өмнө
  • Hey History guy.......could you find out the astronaut who shot a golf ball on the moon? Thanks.

    Jamie LaCourseJamie LaCourseСарын өмнө
  • Oh my at this very moment I’m listening to an episode of the Stan Freberg Show about the colonel and the rocket sled!

    Elizabeth Finkler HanasakiElizabeth Finkler HanasakiСарын өмнө
  • unless you live in CCP China or Putin's Russia (or Myanmar) you really do not need to worry about your IP being logged. This is rarely uniquely identifying info, like a MAC address is. And even when it is, what is the concern, that they can ping your router? It's not a problem you have to worry about unless you are a business user with actual servers to protect.

    NSVNSVСарын өмнө
  • Would loved to see an episode on the Telegraph machine and operation.

    Randy MaxwellRandy MaxwellСарын өмнө
  • They had to triple reinforce his underwear. Large set of balls would go thru normal drawers. Brave man. Was in the service and surprised they let a high ranked officier risk his life so often. His work saved a lot of pilots.

    izzy garboizzy garboСарын өмнө
  • So Stapp's experiments resulted in Murphy's Law ("Anything that can be done wrong, will be done wrong.") . . . now THAT'S history that deserves to be remembered!

    Kevin HeineKevin HeineСарын өмнө
  • Cool. Dr. Stapp...hero of aviation physiology.

    ScottNJScottNJСарын өмнө
  • What a great story of a great man. Thank you

    1.5x playback everything - thank me later1.5x playback everything - thank me laterСарын өмнө
  • Another wonderful story. Thank you. It is certainly nice to know the creation of "Murphy's Law". Stapp's law too!

    Kurt StolpaKurt StolpaСарын өмнө
  • A wider ranging version of this video could be done that includes Joe Kittinger (another hero of mine since I was kid in the 1960s). He and Stapp were friends and worked together on the rocket-sled project and on project Manhigh, the high altitude balloon jumps. I can't find it but I believe there is a photo of Stapp on the rocket-sled, blasting down the track, with a chase plane in the same view. The pilot of the chase plane is Kittinger. I would love to have a copy of that photo, if I could only find it again! Two of my heroes in action together! www.avweb.com/features/col-joe-kittinger/

    Peter HoffmanPeter HoffmanСарын өмнө
  • *6:20** "One factor is encouraging: there are only two models--male and female--of the human body currently available with no immediate prospects of a new design." This fact will always remain.*

    NashvillainNashvillainСарын өмнө
  • I may be a bit cynical in my old age, but I'm having difficulty believing that his exact words were "assaulted in the rear" .....

    Fuzzy cat1000Fuzzy cat1000Сарын өмнө
  • "There are only 2 models, male and female" That kind of talk will get you canceled.....

    Ken PKen PСарын өмнө
  • 6:20 "One factor is encouraging: there are only two models: male and female of the human body currently available, with no immediate prospects of a new design." Colonel Stapp, meet the Biden Administration ....

    DemefDemefСарын өмнө
  • Combination research scientist and daredevil. Amazing that he died of old age. RIP, Col Stapp..

    Bill MartinBill MartinСарын өмнө
  • 2:35 That crooked badge on his hat would haunt me to my deathbed.

    KingCosworthKingCosworthСарын өмнө
  • The 'Death or Glory' days of the West, they are missed....

    KingCosworthKingCosworthСарын өмнө
  • Deceleration does not exist. Strictly speaking it is called negative acceleration. Even that’s not right, It is acceleration vectored opposite to the existing momentum.

    Music ManMusic ManСарын өмнө
  • He came to a sudden Stapp.

    Jin KeeJin KeeСарын өмнө
  • Just a comment for the algorithm.

    Robert JensenRobert JensenСарын өмнө
  • Trust the Science ????????????

    Jim OmalleyJim OmalleyСарын өмнө
  • Fantastic episode as always.

    David ReedDavid ReedСарын өмнө
  • I just noticed you have a royal navy cap with a hermes cap tally, I served aboard hermes from october 1980 to september 1982, where did you get the cap?

    Mallacai WolfeMallacai WolfeСарын өмнө
  • Car safety equipment: did anybody see the front of Tiger Woods’ car after his wreck? “He should have died in that accident!“

    keydudekeydudeСарын өмнө
  • Stapp is a true unsung American hero. Thanks for shining a light on this extraordinary mans contributions History Guy. Peace.

    Stefan SchlepsStefan SchlepsСарын өмнө
  • NordVPN lost control of its private data of users...that is why I can't share this video,

    Capt BlackEagleCapt BlackEagleСарын өмнө
  • Dr. Stapp is a true pioneering hero.. wow!👍

    Steve BennettSteve BennettСарын өмнө
  • This dude was a full on adrenaline junky, but at least his efforts were for the benefit of us all.

    Charlie PirhonenCharlie PirhonenСарын өмнө
  • One overlooked and often forgotten set of tests into the survivability of aircrews leaving aircraft at supersonic speeds were done with the most unlikely passengers you'd could imagine. As those that rode ejection seats out of aircraft at speed were often Bears and one female named Yogi was the first living being to egress an airplane faster than the Speed of Sound and survive. Due to their similar organ arrangement to Humans, Yogi along with others including a few Primates were launched from the rear crew compartment of a B-58 Hustler shown ejecting its Pod shown in this video and like her did it numerous times. Indeed the Animal Testing even used to see if Ejection Seats on an rolling aircraft or even just sitting could safely eject a Pilot high/far enough so it's parachute could deploy. Yogi along with others were sedated during the testing and many suffered injuries like Staap did but in a cruel turn their fate wasn't to survive the program. Sadly Yogi who survived multiple Ejections at speed as well as on the grind didn't get to retire to a Zoo as the Supersonic Bear she deserved but was killed along with the others to be dissected/studied about the effects on their bodies during the program. But their fate wasn't unique as the dog Lika who went into space died up there as well since there was no plan to return her unlike the US who's recovered its Space Chimp's like Hamm etc who got to live out his days instead of being autopsied like Yogi...

    Richard MattinglyRichard MattinglyСарын өмнө
  • He went up to 89 years old?? Superman....

    AirplaneEmergency TurnbacksAirplaneEmergency TurnbacksСарын өмнө
  • This why I get angry when I hear people still believe the aliens built the pyramids. They still cannot fathom the greatness of man. Human ingenuity is amazing. This gentleman shows the sheer will and determination of just one incredible person. The world is full of greatness.

    Alejandro FelixAlejandro FelixСарын өмнө
  • When I was a kid, I saw those newsreels of Colonel Stapp's rocket sled tests. When those negative G's hit, I could almost feel that harness digging into me! What an extraordinary man he was.

    Steven PillingSteven PillingСарын өмнө
  • Dr. Stapp has a brass pair no doubt...I thought the B- 17s ceiling was about 36,000 feet...

    Jeff SmithJeff SmithСарын өмнө
  • A miracle he didn't die of CTE!

    Kevin DenelsbeckKevin DenelsbeckСарын өмнө
  • Dodie Hay, the test 'pilot' for Martin Baker seatbelts is a hero in a related field

    Lloyd WatkinsLloyd WatkinsСарын өмнө
  • As always, very well done. Thank you, History Guy :-)

    Party4KeepsParty4KeepsСарын өмнө
  • amazing that he lived to b 89! another great video HG!

    Ray CastRay CastСарын өмнө
  • Would love to see you do a video on Joe Kittinger.

    Matt LundquistMatt LundquistСарын өмнө
  • it is MUROC nor murdock..... get your history right ......

    Timmy LassieTimmy LassieСарын өмнө
  • I'm a retired engineer and I have known Murphy's Law since college

    Don AdamsDon AdamsСарын өмнө
  • Its so hard to see someone who literally has his skin in the game. A real man.

    David T de CastroDavid T de CastroСарын өмнө
  • I used to do historical research on formerly used defense sites, and one of the most memorable things my colleagues ever turned up was a rocket sled experiment using *bears*. This was apparently overseen by Col. Stapp in 1958 at Holloman AFB in New Mexico after Captain Eli Beeding sustained 82.6 G's in a rocket sled, according to readings. They wanted to confirm but needed an animal that could sit in the same chair. So they went with bears. That the Air Force was once in the business of launching bears on rocket sleds was just too incredible, and "Air Bear" became a company legend and unofficial mascot.

    Diana BriggsDiana BriggsСарын өмнө
  • true badass.

    Bob BobbyBob BobbyСарын өмнө
  • mnthe.info/bill/video/gqmArJTcZJd7goA Never ask the troops to do something yo are not willing to do yourself. Lead from the front. This is a man I have always admired for many reasons. Deserves the Medal of Freedom far more than limburger ever did. mnthe.info/bill/video/gqmArJTcZJd7goA To qualify for a land speed record runs need to be made in both directions, and within,IIRC, 1 hour.

    Phil GiglioPhil GiglioСарын өмнө
  • Remember all those times Wiley Coyote got on a rocket sled or similar device and had wild ride followed by a short deceleration? Now you know where the animators got the inspiration.

    Peter CameronPeter CameronСарын өмнө
  • You gonna loose my viewership pushing those products.

    Expandacraft Modular BoatsExpandacraft Modular BoatsСарын өмнө
  • I love your Star Trek figures in the background. I still have the bridge that came out in the 1970s

    Gregory HamptonGregory HamptonСарын өмнө
  • Fastest Balls of Steel. A Salute to you, Brother.

    Sam HoustonSam HoustonСарын өмнө
  • This one is the best one yet, I think. I really did enjoy it.

    Aaron SpielmanAaron SpielmanСарын өмнө
  • I met the Colonel once when he was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame as the fastest accelerating human of all time

    Rod SmithRod SmithСарын өмнө
  • did you say 88.6 mph?

    Kurt MeyerKurt MeyerСарын өмнө
  • But his runs were limited in data, they were go or no go. Live or die. Later and better testing by the Naval Biodynamics Lab first in Pensacola ,FL then later at the Michoud Research Facility (Where the Saturn V boosters were assembled previously) gathered a lot of VERY useful and life saving information. Using humans in rocket sleds capable of 0 to 90 mph in FIVE FEET. The volunteers, primarily naval from the nearby Naval base, had to have their heads shaved and stainless steel casts of their skull and teeth to fit a repeatable mark for high speed filming. My father started his research after finding dead pilots in planes that were otherwise just fine, he too was a flight surgeon but in the Navy.

    L EwingL EwingСарын өмнө
  • Excellent content!

    callen clarkecallen clarkeСарын өмнө
  • So many hero's we know nothing about. Thanks for the education.

    Robert WrenRobert WrenСарын өмнө
  • I’ve heard of Dr Stapp before. I’ve read about his many accomplishments. I never knew how humble he was. Not the facts about automobile safety he was involved in. Never heard of the origin of Murphy’s law or Stapp’s law. Again, you are simply amazing at your work. Thank you for the knowledge and research you share with us.

    Ken ShermanKen ShermanСарын өмнө
  • The men and women of that era of science and technology do not, in my opinion, get enough recognition for the dangers they faced, more so considering there was no way to simulate before doing the way we have now. That said, a lot of what I see stopping some advancements, has been an over reliance on simulation over real world testing.

    Carstuff111Carstuff111Сарын өмнө
  • This guy was a “adrenaline” junky. Did this job as an excuse to ride the fastest roller coasters ever made. Lol.

    James WJames WСарын өмнө
  • muroc, not murdock

    GrocMaxGrocMaxСарын өмнө
  • VPNs seem to be very misunderstood...

    Jonny MullenJonny MullenСарын өмнө
  • Thanks for the video on Stapp. I am old enough to remember when he was rocketing across the desert and stopping fast enough that he got black eyes from it. I am pleased that he is no longer obscure but now known and appreciated.

    Zoltan KaparthyZoltan KaparthyСарын өмнө
  • The history of ejection/escape systems is such a storied and fascinating area of the intersection of history and technology. Thanks for this bit! (btw the history of ejections website is an interesting database, with many unique events within it)

    4one144one14Сарын өмнө
  • Col. John Stapp is part of a long list of doctor's (including chemists) testing on themselves in varying degrees of caution/risk.

    4one144one14Сарын өмнө
  • He'll be holding the door, right next to St. Peter.

    AbleDeltaAbleDeltaСарын өмнө
  • Ideas for future episodes are the tripartite convention where American Samoa became part of the US, the Owyhees, Basque in the high desert and great basin of the west, Fort Boise.

    Isaac PrestonIsaac PrestonСарын өмнө
  • mnthe.info/bill/video/pZl61GazoKSCfKI

    Will GriffWill GriffСарын өмнө
  • Mom's first husband was a Navy test pilot who died in 1959 when his single engine FJ-2 jet flamed out and he bailed out over the desert near Miramar. This had happened twice before in the same model of plane and he had bailed out twice before and had twice parachuted to safe landings. Prior to that as a carrier based fighter pilot, he had never lost a plane or had to bail out. During the third test flight his FJ-2 flamed out yet again and the engine wouldn't restart and he bailed out yet again. But his parachute did not deploy properly and he fell to his death. Just recently, with the intervention of our Congressional rep, our family was finally able to get a copy of his service record and the accident report of his fatal crash from DOD. Determination of accident investigation committee: pilot error. The time window for any lawsuit the family could have filed against the airplane and engine manufacturers ended over 50 years ago, unbeknownst to us. Yep.

    P WP WСарын өмнө
  • My favourite rocket Science story since I was a kid! So glad its seeing better revision.

    ZedNinetySixZedNinetySixСарын өмнө
  • He's as brave as anyone under fire and is just as deserving of the CMH.

    Forbes HuttonForbes HuttonСарын өмнө
  • Stapp's been one of my all time heroes since I read of the Sonic Wind tests as a kid. Thanks for getting his story out there. His bravery whilst saving lives instead of taking them really does deserve to be remembered! I know that all R.A.F. passenger seats face rearward after his experiments. It always amazes me that commercial aircraft, trains & buses have front facing seats. Think of the lives we could save by simply turning around the seats! We can take shock load G way better facing backwards.

    Les HemmingsLes HemmingsСарын өмнө
  • Rocket sled: Top thirty pairs of words I don’t want to hear in job offers. Donut sled? Fine. Rocket pirates? Cool, cool. I’ll take ‘em on. Donut rockets, or even rocket donut pirate sleds. We’ll make it work. Turns out, my limits manifest at rocket sled. Glad America needn’t have relied on me to solve this particular problem. Stapp staff conferences were called “Yeet seat meet & greets.”

    BuildingCenterBuildingCenterСарын өмнө
  • "rocked sled trial" sounds like a really bizarre judicial procedure

    Gregory ButlerGregory ButlerСарын өмнө
  • Pilots today need to thank the good Doctor Colonel for finding out the bad stuff with fast speeds

    Stevie JoStevie JoСарын өмнө