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April 21, 2006 | Dennis McLellan, Times Staff Writer
Scott Crossfield, a legendary test pilot who became the first man to fly at twice the speed of sound in 1953 and later flew and helped design the X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft, was found dead Thursday in the wreckage of his single-engine plane in mountains near Ranger, Ga. He was 84. Crossfield's plane, a Cessna 210A, was found about 50 miles northwest of Atlanta a day after it dropped off radar screens during a flight from Alabama to Virginia, authorities said Thursday.
April 16, 2006 | Cecilia Rasmussen, Times Staff Writer
Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan blamed it on the clouds and a faulty compass. That's how he wound up in Ireland on his way to California, he insisted. Never mind that he'd sought permission for a transatlantic flight and twice been denied. Aviation authorities said his rickety craft would never make it across the ocean. Despite a cockpit door "latched" with wire and extra fuel tanks obscuring his vision, he landed safely near Dublin.
October 15, 2005 | Valerie J. Nelson, Times Staff Writer
Capt. George C. Watkins, who had a singular career as a record-setting Navy test pilot in the 1950s and later delighted in unnerving a new generation of swashbuckling pilots at his aerobatic-glider school near Palmdale, has died. He was 84. Watkins, who served three presidents as a White House social aide, died Sept. 18 of a heart attack at a hospital in Lompoc, Calif., said his wife, Monica.
October 29, 2004 | From a Times Staff Writer
Brig. Gen. Frank Kendall Everest Jr., a fighter pilot and legendary test pilot who for a time during the 1950s held the title "fastest man alive," has died. He was 84. Everest died Oct. 1 in Tucson. The cause of death was not reported. Everest flew what at the time were the nation's most advanced aircraft, including the X-1, X-2, X-3, X-4, X-5, XF-92 and YB-52. He also participated in test programs for the F-100, F-101, F-102, F-104, F-105, B-52, B-57 and B-66.
June 5, 2004 | John Balzar, Times Staff Writer
On a clear day, step outside and look up. The sky is dotted with them. Little airplanes, with legions of private pilots who can tell you -- and boy, do they ever -- what great fun they have lording it over us. Fun? Why, that's only part of it. Freedom too. Listen to them: It's no coincidence, they observe, that when people get all misty-eyed about freedom they look heavenward. A hundred years after Wilbur and Orville, practically anybody can fly, and 600,000 or so do.
May 14, 2004 | Richard Fausset, Times Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, test pilot Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager and astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin joined hundreds of mourners Thursday in Lancaster to honor state Sen. William J. "Pete" Knight, the storied military test pilot and salty-tongued veteran of California's culture wars who died May 7 at age 74.
May 9, 2004 | Richard Fausset, Times Staff Writer
William J. "Pete" Knight, a former Air Force test pilot who as a Republican state senator led the charge against gay marriage in California with a successful statewide initiative in 2000, has died. He was 74. Knight, who has been absent from his seat since April 12 because of leukemia, died Friday night of an acute form of the cancer at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte. At the time of his death, Knight was completing his final months as the GOP state senator from the Palmdale area.
April 2, 2003 | Tracy Wilkinson and Alan C. Miller, Times Staff Writers
A Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier became one of the first U.S. military jets lost during the war in Iraq, when it crashed Tuesday while on a night training mission, the U.S. Central Command here said. The Harrier was attempting to land on the U.S. amphibious assault ship Nassau in the northern Persian Gulf at 7:40 p.m. local time. The pilot, who parachuted into the water after ejecting, was listed in fair condition after being picked up by a Navy search and rescue helicopter. His name was withheld.
February 8, 2003 | Steve Chawkins, Times Staff Writer
These days Mark Stucky's work routine is grounded in the mundane realities of mortgage brokering -- finding home buyers the right loan at the right rate. But just a few years ago he spent his days at the brink of space, as a test pilot so accomplished that he trained three of the astronauts who were killed when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated in a fiery burst last week.
August 21, 2002 | From a Times Staff Writer
Louis Wellington Schalk Jr., 76, original chief test pilot for the A-12 Blackbird spy plane built by Lockheed's storied "Skunk Works" in 1962, died Friday in a hospice in Arlington, Va. The cause of death was complications of leukemia. A native of Alden, Iowa, Schalk graduated from West Point and served with the 86th Fighter Bomber Wing in Germany. He later completed flight instructors school and taught at Laredo Air Force Base in Texas.
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