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"Ghost astronaut"?!

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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 09:11 AM
This is amazing - thank you, Weedwhacker!
To think this thread has been sitting here for more than a year, with nobody touching it, and then you add so much information in no time...

The idea of the possibility of a practical joke was - vaguely - among the possibilities I thought of, but not being familiar with the mindset or modus operandi of the people involved it remained just that: a vague idea, one among many.

I bet that editor would LOVE to hear from you.
(Or maybe I could just email him th link to this thread...? ;-))

[edit on 11-8-2009 by Vanitas]

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 09:16 AM
This is from the link in the OP:

Slayton's final flight took place hours after he died.

Later the same day he died, June 13, 1993 at 7:57 A.M. local time, at John Wayne Airport in Southern California, a Formula One Racing Plane with large FAA-required registration letters and numbers on the fuselage, N21X, took off from the airport and performed various flight maneuvers.

With a high-speed propeller the extremely noisy aircraft was seen and heard by many people, who clearly identified the type of aircraft and wrote down the N21X registration. The Federal Aviation Administration determined that a noise level mandated by law had been exceeded, and issued a letter of citation against the registered owner and pilot.

I found photos of the red racing plane at a website called "They Shot for the Moon", and the person who took the photos has doubts about the witnesses who saw the registration letters and numbers on the plane:

When I found out that Slayton's racer, "Stinger" was on display at the Museum of Flying in Chino, California, I was anxious to see it for myself. Not only does it appear that the engine has been re-mounted, but I find the description of the airplane, as reported by witnesses that day, troubling. As can be plainly seen in the photos, the number "21" appears in large numbers on each side of the fuselage. The entire "N" number, N21X appears on the vertical stabilizer painted in much smaller letters that would be difficult, if not impossible to read from the ground while the airplane is in flight. Of course, I am making the assumption here that the airplane has not been re-painted, but I have not seen any report that it was.

The cockpit gives an idea of the size of the "Stinger".

A close-up of the "N" number gives you an idea of how small it is.

It IS strange that the witnesses were able to read the small letters on the plane's tale... And the ghost tale is not mentioned at all at the official website of the Deke Slayton Museum in his home town of Sparta, Wisconsin:

I am starting to think that this is a legend. A very good one, but still...

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 09:33 AM
reply to post by ziggystar60

Well done.

The fact that the story is not mentioned on official (or even unofficial) sites doesn't mean much, of course.
But IF this is a joke/legend, then the merit of uncovering it goes solely to you guys.

Not bad for a day's work, eh?

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 09:40 AM
reply to post by ziggystar60

Good find, ziggy!!

I hadn't even started to look for pictures!! ( D'Oh!!! )

Of course I had an impression in my mind, knowing that it was a Reno Racer design, and a Formula. I DID picture it as larger, however. I invisioned something more like the Extra 300, but that is far more contemporary, and really designed for aerobatics, rather than speed.

A little history on 'N' numbers: This is the short version, you can find info via searches, but essentially when I was a tadpole, learning to fly, the 'rules' were that the 'N' number had to be at least 12 inches in height, on each side of a vertical surface, and in a particular 'font' ( no room for too much creativity! ).

Some time in the late 1980s or early 1990s ( I was already at the airline, and not in tune with General Aviation ) the rules changed, and smaller sizes came into practice. ( Probably lobbied by airplane manufacturers, so they could design ever-more-pretty paint schemes. )

I think the new rule required minimum of three inches tall.

THEN, whiplash, it switched back to the 12-inch rule some time later, but any airplane with the smaller numbers was "grandfathered" in, until or if, they were re=painted, in which case they then had to comply.

At least, that's how I remember it.

posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 11:16 AM

Ed Maloney on record as having purchased the airplane, he's the director of Aviation Museum.

ANOTHER Formula could have been painted up, IF this was a big practical joke, betcha plenty of Deke's friends would have loved to have helped out in pulling this off......

OK, but still, isn't the timing "highly unusual", as it says on another website? To pull this prank (with nobody claiming the credit for it) on the day he died, before anyone outside his family knew about it?

Also, correct me if I am wrong, I doubt that any formal body, such as an airport, would dare pulling such a prank, using official stationery, etc.

If the notice itself was forged, wouldn't someone, like his wife, have denied its authenticity by now?

I don't know. I really enjoy solid sceptical thinking, but I am just not entirely convinced that it is a hoax, a prank, whatever.
What could it be, I don't know.

It's interesting, that's for sure!

posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 12:28 PM
What a brilliant story S&F from me! Whilst I do accept it could have been a prank, a final gesture, as other posters have pointed out there would have had to have been quite a number of people involved, and if it had happened a few days or even a full day after his death, I could have gone with that (still an awesome prank though)

But the fact that it was within 6 hours of his death, how could they have organised that? And whilst his friends may well have been willing to go along with it as a tribute, it would be unlikely they would have done so within such a short period of his death as that could have seemed terribly insensitive to his family who may not have seen the funny side! And as another poster pointed out, would his friends have even known of his death at that point? Lets face it, we cannot predict when we will die, let alone organise an event like that to seamlessly tie in with death.

I hope there is more info on this story it's really fascinating.

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