The head researched came to me with a brilliant new invention. He calls it the "Jet Engine". Astounding stuff. Rather than lighting a fire underneath a rocket and blasting off with pure force, this was more elegant. An intake in the front of the engine would take in air and mix it with our kerosene to power the engine. With this thing we wouldn't need to haul along the liquid oxygen. At the same time, he realized we could also use air to our advantage in providing thrust and direction.
The downside was his new engines had no real strength, and didn't function outside the atmosphere, but they'd make some of our aeronautics contracts easier. Better yet, Capt. Kiwi could fly them! He swore off rockets, but jet planes are another story.
While I'd prefer to use a car for the nearby readings, Fishman the lawyer reminded me that company policy prevents me from attaching experimental equipment like the thermometer to company cars. Furthermore, the kerbonaut union policy prevented them from carrying anything more than their suits and a single flag. Carrying the nearly weightless thermometer was too much for them.
Instead, we'd use our new airplane as a jet-powered car.
Kiwi was in the air, but now it was time to see how fast this thing could go. Wind screaming against the windshield, he got it to max speed...a measly 330 m/s. (715 mph) Pathetic when you've already gone at orbital speeds of 2200 m/s (~5000mph) Ah well, it was a start.
Capt. Kiwi grabbed the next readings in the air, and went in for a landing. He found a clear, smooth location, and drifted in. This was the fun part, as the plane didn't use parachutes to land. Another oddity.
Fun times. Capt. Kiwi returns ecstatic, the first pilot of a new brand of flyer.