Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

October 16, 2013

The flight seen around the world

Miami County man still holds record for longest supersonic flight in history 50 years later

(Continued)

“Supersonic steak dinners over three continents and the Arctic Ocean fortified the three record-breaking American airmen who flew from Tokyo to London,” the Chicago Tribune press service reported.

“We had steak before we left Okinawa air base, bite-sized steak along the way over Japan, Alaska, and the polar ice cap, and steak when we landed,” Kubesch said in the article. “This flight is the biggest thing in my life — except my wedding, of course — but, boy, I don’t think I could look at another steak for a long, long time.”

One newspaper reported Kubesch lit up a pipe inside the bomber streaking over Tokyo, and lit a second pipe full of tobacco near the end of the trip, which some dubbed “the two-pipe flight.”

Kubesch and his wife, Joanne, who at the time was an English teacher at Logansport High School, made a trip to New York to appear on several TV shows.

The flight wasn’t just a big deal because of its record-setting achievement. It was also meant to serve as a public display of America’s strength during the Cold War.

“The flight provided an operational test of sustained supersonic flight in the Arctic region,” said an Air Force spokesperson in an article in The Houston Post. “It was a demonstration of the rapid reaction possible with the manned weapons defense systems of the U.S. Air Force, capable of responding to an act of aggression anywhere in the world within a minimum amount of time.”

Talking to reporters, Kubesch said the B-58 “performed magnificently” and called the flight “routine.”

It was anything but routine. It took five inflight refuelings near Japan, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland to keep the plane going, and Kubesch recalled flying right through the middle of the Northern Lights.

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