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Don Cornell, Area 51 pilot

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posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 12:08 AM
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Lt. Col. Donald A. Cornell (USAF, Retired) passed away on 27 August 2008 at age 63. Cornell was born 20 December 1944 in Detroit, Michigan, and resided in Las Vegas for the last 26 years. He retired from the Air Force after serving 20 years, including two tours in Vietnam and work as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and Area 51, Nevada.

A graduate of USAF Test Pilot School Class 78B at Edwards in 1978, Cornell was one of the early test pilots for the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk and Northrop TACIT BLUE technology demonstrator - both at the Air Force Flight Test Center's Detachment 3 at Area 51. He was also involved with the AGM-137 Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile project, a spinoff of TACIT BLUE. After retiring from the Air Force, he was employed as a pilot and operations officer with EG&G, Special Projects, in Las Vegas. Cornell was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

On a personal note, Don was a great human being. He was a devoted family man, avid pilot and motorcyclist, Disney enthusiast, and an active volunteer within the community. He will be missed.




posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 09:44 AM
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I am sorry for your loss and for the loss our country has suffered. Thank you for taking the time to share the information about his good life.

I wish his family and friends nothing but the best and offer a humble ‘Thank you’ for his service to our country.



posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 03:05 PM
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Don Cornell died in a motorcycle accident when he inadvertently collided with another motorcycle, driven by famed Area 51 test pilot Dan Vanderhorst.

The two motorcycles collided on Alaska's Elliott Highway according to Alaska State Troopers. Cornell was pronounced dead at the scene after his bike struck the back of another bike driven by Vanderhorst.

Vanderhorst was making a right turn to leave the road at Mile 65.6 at about 9:20 a.m. when Cornell’s bike hit his. They were travelling at about 25 mph, and both motorcycles went down, tossing their riders to the pavement. Both men were wearing helmets but Cornell suffered severe head injuries and died. Vanderhorst was not injured.

Cornell is best known for having flown the F-117A in the early 1980s before it was declassified and TACIT BLUE, a stealthy technology demonstrator that contributed valuable design data to such aircraft as the B-2 and E-8 Joint-STARS. Vanderhorst has flown more classified aircraft than any other pilot. He was the last pilot briefed into the TACIT BLUE program and holds an altitude record in another still-classified aircraft.



posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 04:40 PM
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reply to post by Shadowhawk
 


So two area 51 pilots were involved in the crash? How tragic, sorry for the loss.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 10:45 PM
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I was on vacation at that time and missed news. Sad news. Damn...but to go doing something you like doing...and in Alaska.

On another note, I just purchased Contrails Over the Mojave to read soon. From another era (the one I grew up with) of test pilots.



posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 09:58 AM
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I cannot say how saddened I was to discover today Don had been tragically killed. I worked for Don at the Ranch and cannot think of another human on the planet who could best him. He was a fantastic person to work for, and with. He took extremely great care of all his underlings. His humor, intelligence, and calm demeanor combined with his natural talents behind the yoke made him one of the premiere test pilots of my time.

I left Nevada in 1988 and still maintained comms with Don on a semi-regular basis through email. I regret I missed the news at the time and did not have opportunity to attend his funeral.

The world will be a sadder place without Don.



posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 10:26 AM
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it's really too sad that he had a bike accident with another rider. it's hard enough to avoid the many cars and bad drivers out there, but a bike to bike accident is really too bad.

you really need to keep your eyes open out there. bike to bike accidents are one reason i don't do group rides...

god speed don. sorry to hear this. a true loss indeed.



posted on Oct, 25 2008 @ 11:57 AM
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I too had knowledge of the character and kindness of Col. Cornell. He really was one of the good ones. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends on his tragic loss. Can you just imagine the type of aircraft he gets to fly in Heaven?



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by zooplancton
it's really too sad that he had a bike accident with another rider. it's hard enough to avoid the many cars and bad drivers out there, but a bike to bike accident is really too bad.

you really need to keep your eyes open out there. bike to bike accidents are one reason i don't do group rides...

god speed don. sorry to hear this. a true loss indeed.


Based on who the other rider was, its even more sad. Sounds like two old friends taking a vacation together, that goes tragically awry. The surviving friend is not going to ever have a day he does not think about what happened.



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 07:50 PM
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My ultimate respects for both Cornell and Vanderhorst, they have done things most humans cannot even imagine, in ways most cannot imagine.

They have "flown west" and I will salute them at every sunset........

another habu,

R



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 10:36 PM
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Originally posted by habu71

My ultimate respects for both Cornell and Vanderhorst, they have done things most humans cannot even imagine, in ways most cannot imagine.

They have "flown west" and I will salute them at every sunset........

another habu,

R


Vanderhorst is very much alive.



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 01:54 PM
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This is Don's daughter. I googled my dad the other day and found your discussion. I want to thank you all for the kind words you had to say about my dad. I am so sorry for those of you who knew him who just recently found out about the accident and were unable to attend the services. We tried so hard to get the word out, but there were just so many people who's lives he touched...we knew we could not get to everyone. He was larger than life to those who knew him. He lived a life most people only dream of. This is an unimaginable loss for our family, but we recognize that the loss is felt by more than just us. He was a hero to so many...and my hero for sure. We think of him everyday and miss him tremendously. Please keep up your prayers and good wishes, we feel them all. Thank you for caring about my dad.



posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 11:38 PM
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I worked for Don Cornell. He was a vindictive, evil man who's main goal was to bust our union. I have sympathy for his family but there are many teamsters that feel liberated knowing he is gone. He did such a poor job that he was asked to resign and when he refused was demoted. Stop making this man a "hero". He was management at its WORST



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