posted on May, 31 2016 @ 08:50 AM
a reply to: stealthyaroura
The X-15 is generally considered one of the most successful X-plane programs of all time. Three airframes made 199 flights to conduct a wide variety
of experiments. It was the first aircraft to fly Mach 4, Mach 5, and Mach 6. Eight of the 12 pilots who flew it earned their astronaut wings for
flights that exceeded 50 miles altitude. Most flights had some sort of emergency situation, and there were several major accidents, but only one
I feel very fortunate to have met seven of the pilots. I encountered Neil Armstrong on several occasions, once some time before he stopped signing
autographs. Milt Thompson helped me with a research project. I interviewed Scott Crossfield for a NASA oral history project, and had him sign a
picture of the F-100 that he accidentally ran through a hangar wall. Joe Engle spoke at my university once, and sometimes visited the place where I
later worked; really nice guy. Robert White used to show up regularly at the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) annual symposium. Pete Knight
was a state senator, so, in addition to appearing at numerous public events, it was also possible for anyone to drop in and see him at his office in
Palmdale if they wished do so. And, much to my delight, I got to work with Bill Dana for quite a few years.
For anyone living in the Los Angeles area, there were several annual events that always attracted large numbers of famous and less well known test
pilots and astronauts: SETP, Gathering of Eagles, and the Lancaster Aerospace Walk of Honor. Special events at the Blackbird Airpark were great, too
(they used to let people sit in the cockpit of the SR-71).