Friday, April 21, 2006

Into The Wild Blue Yonder

A. Scott Crossfield
October 2, 1921 - d. April 20, 2006

One of the fastest men alive has died. Scott Crossfield, who was a test pilot after WWII at Andrews Air Force Base, has died. This is a very sad loss for the aviation world. If it wasn't for Scott and many brave test pilots, some who lost their lives, as well as the engineers during that time, man wouldn't have gone from flying jet planes to sending a manned rocket to the moon in a mere 20 years.

He was the first man to fly at Mach 2 (680.58 m/s or 1,522.4 mph), and unofficially, the first to fly ay Mach 3 (1,020.8 m/s or 2,283.6 mph) successfully, helped to develop a full pressure flight suit which was the basis for flight suits used by the military and by NASA pilots and astronauts. He was a design consultant on the X-15 project and then later flew the aircraft many years later. During WWII he was a fighter pilot and gunnery instructor.

Many people, and I'm sorry to say I am one of them, never even heard of Scott Crossfield till the movie, The Right Stuff, came out. I've seen that move at least 20 times. Even though Scott Crossfield (played by Scott Wilson) was only in the movie a total of 15 to 20 minutes, it still doesn't mean his contribution to aviation or the space program was something minor. He will be missed.



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