Scott Crossfield

Scott Crossfield

Original Name Albert Scott Crossfield
Berkeley, Alameda County, California, USA
Death 19 Apr 2006 (aged 84)
Ludville, Pickens County, Georgia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Columbarium Court 8, Section X, Stack 3, Niche 3
Memorial ID 14011429 · View Source
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Aviation Pioneer. He was the first man to fly twice the speed of sound (Mach 2). Immortalized in author Tom Wolfe's book "The Right Stuff," and in the 1984 motion picture of the same name, he was born Albert Scott Crossfield in Berkeley, California. He joined the United States Navy during World War II, becoming a fighter pilot and later, a fighter gunnery instructor. From 1946 to 1950, he worked in the University of Washington's Kirsten Wind tunnel while earning a bachelor and master's degree in aeronautical engineering. In 1950, he joined NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and was a United States Air Force research pilot at the High Speed Flight Research Station at Edwards Air Force Base, California. There he trained in a number of research aircraft, including the X-1, the X-4, X-5, XF-92, the D-558-I and D-558-II. Prior to his record making flight on November 20, 1953, he had set four air speed records. On November 20, 1953, he became the first person to fly twice the speed of sound (Mach 2), in the air-launched, rocket-propelled D-558-II. An extremely hazardous profession, he had several mishaps that were potentially fatal, including one in which his X-15 aircraft engine blew up shortly after launch and he had to "dead stick" a return to base. He retired as a Colonel in the USAF in 1963, becoming Systems Director for North American Aviation's Space Systems Division. Crossfield would cap his distinguished test pilot career as a NASA program manager and as the first pilot of the X-15 rocket powered research aircraft, taking it to the fringes of outer space and unofficially becoming the first to fly at Mach 3 (he was not authorized to fly that flight at that speed, so the official record belongs to pilot Joe Walker). In 1967, he joined Eastern Airlines, where he worked on improved air traffic control technologies. In 1977, he joined the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, serving as a technical advisor on aviation research, until his final retirement in 1993. A firm believer in aviation and aerospace education, he spent his remaining years pushing for improved education for all persons involved in the aviation and aerospace fields. He died in a plane crash of his 1960 Cessna 210A while on a routine flight from Maxwell AFB, Alabama back to his home in Manassas, Virginia, crashing in a remote section of Gordon County, Georgia. Nearby thunderstorms are thought to have contributed to the accident. In 1960, he published his autobiography, "Always Another Dawn."

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: A.J.
  • Added: 20 Apr 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14011429
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Scott Crossfield (2 Oct 1921–19 Apr 2006), Find a Grave Memorial no. 14011429, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .