A great pilot dies

Discussion in 'Everything else' started by Ashrunner, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    I have had very few people in my life I considered a role model, but there was one person who lived a life I envied and admired. His name is Scott Crossfield. He died today in an aircraft accident in Georgia. From www.military.com ...

    RANGER, Ga. - Legendary test pilot Scott Crossfield, the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound, was found dead Thursday in the wreckage of a single-engine plane in the mountains of northern Georgia, his son-in-law said. Crews searching for the missing airplane registered to Crossfield found the wreckage of a small plane with a body inside Thursday, but couldn't immediately identify the body.
    Searchers found the wreckage shortly after 1 p.m. in the mountains near Ranger, Ga., about 50 miles northwest of Atlanta, a Civil Air Patrol spokeswoman said.
    Officials did not immediately know who was flying the single-engine plane when it left Alabama for Virginia on Wednesday morning.
    The plane was last spotted on radar later that day over Georgia, north of Atlanta, the Civil Air Patrol's Georgia Wing said. The Civil Air Patrol scheduled an afternoon news conference Thursday in the northern Georgia town of Ranger to discuss the search.
    Crossfield, 84, was one of a group of civilian pilots assembled by the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, the forerunner of NASA, in the early 1950s.
    Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager had already broken the speed of sound in his history-making flight in 1947. Crossfield set the Mach 2 record - twice the speed of sound - in 1953, when he reached 1,300 mph in NACA's Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket.
    In 1960, Crossfield reached Mach 2.97in an X-15 rocket plane launched from a B-52 bomber. The plane reached an altitude of 81,000 feet. At the time, Crossfield was working as a pilot and design consultant for North American Aviation, which made the X-15. He later worked as an executive for Eastern Airlines and Hawker Siddley Aviation.
    More recently, Crossfield had a key role in preparations for the attempt to re-enact the Wright brothers' flight on the 100th anniversary of their feat near Kitty Hawk, N.C. He trained four pilots for the Dec. 17, 2003, flight attempt in a replica of the brothers' flyer, but poor weather prevented the take-off.
    Among his many honors, Crossfield was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1983.
    The missing plane left Prattville, Ala., around 9 a.m. Wednesday en route to Manassas, Va. Search crews from the Civil Air Patrol were conducting an air and ground search along the flight path, focusing on a hilly, forested region of north-central Georgia.

    Scott Crossfield was a great pilot and someone I know I will miss.

    Lauren Sobkoviak
    Redmond, Oregon
  2. NYC Irish

    NYC Irish Member

    84 and I am sure he would have tried the x-15 again to get the record back from SS1 if Nasa had asked...

    John John
  3. 46rob

    46rob Member

    All the pioneers are going....I hate to see great people die--but at least he went doing what he loved.
  4. 46rob

    46rob Member

    Crossfield was great pilot, but, at 84, one has to question his abilities to continue to fly. By that age, many elderly people can no longer properly handle an automobile...Florida traffic records are full of examples of accidents due to diminished capacitiy. The last aviation fatality (non-military) in this area involved an elderly pilot who couldn't react to the situation quickly enough. He could no longer qualify as a private pilot, so had moved to ultralights. I know the FAA requires a medical certificate, etc, but who is going to nix a legendary aviator? This post might sound harsh, but it's not intended to be--more to the point of "who's going to tell grandma she can't drive anymore". For those of you who have (and eventually all will have) elderly parents--the day will come, like it did for me (twice) when you have to step in and take their car out of the garage for ever. They're angry--you're feeling like the king of the dunghill--but it's for the common good. Maybe his aviating days were (should have been) behind him. My father was a naval aviator from 1941 until he retired. After that he owned a Tripacer, which he flew until about sixty, when he announced he was "just getting too old for it" He still loved getting in a little time with his son in law, in his Cessna twin, but knew his limitations.
  5. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    I am glad he didn't take anyone with him - and I hope that when I pass, I will be doing something I love.
  6. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    "more to the point of 'who's going to tell grandma she can't drive anymore'."

    not exactly, unless your grandma happens to be janet guthrie. there is a culture and psychology associated with test pilots. of course, just to be appointed one, you must aready be an excellent pilot....with a good safety record. granted, not every test pilot adheres to personal physical limitations (yeager), nor do all test flights end safely (bong), but test pilots past and present are very unlikely to push the envelope in situations where others may be harmed. they say there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no "old bold" pilots. mr. crossfield may be an exception. i'll give him the benefit of the doubt he deserves and await the FAA investigation results.
  7. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    The wildest weather on the entire planet is found on the North American continent. Getting caught in a thunderstorm in a light plane is the stuff of unbelievable terror and physical abuse. The death of Crossfield brings sadness, reflection and testimony to those who have challenged the unknown, survived and lived to tell the tale. Scott has surely touched the face of God and will receive a standing ovation in the Valhalla of Aviation...,


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