Capt Alvin Swauger White

Capt Alvin Swauger White

Berkeley, Alameda County, California, USA
Death 29 Apr 2006 (aged 87)
Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA
Burial Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown
Memorial ID 146564497 · View Source
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Alvin Swauger White (December 9, 1918 - April 29, 2006) was an American test pilot, engineer, and a USAF astronaut.

Born to Harold H. White, Sr. and Ruth A. Winkleman, in Berkeley, California, he was a pilot for over 60 years.

In 1936, he enrolled in the University of California at Davis to study electrical engineering, and transferred to the campus at Berkeley two years later. He began his flying career in the Civilian Pilot Training Program, receiving his license in 1940. During World War II, he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet, graduated from training at Williams Field in 1942. He later flew bomber escorts and strafing missions over Europe with the 355th Fighter Group from D-Day through V-E Day.

After the war, White completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, and went on to become an engineering test pilot for the U.S. Air Force and North American Aviation. He participated in a variety of flight test programs over his career, including the F-86 Sabre jet, the F-100 Super Sabre series, the YF-107 and the X-15. In 1958, White was selected for the U.S. Air Force's Man In Space Soonest manned spaceflight program. The program ended early due to financial and technical difficulties. In 1961, he was elected chief test pilot for the flight test program of the XB-70 Valkyrie, the world's largest supersonic aircraft, piloting the first flights of both planes and taking the aircraft through the build up programs to flight at Mach 3. On June 8, 1966, he was the sole survivor of the mid-air collision that destroyed the XB-70 #2 prototype, and killed his co-pilot, Maj. Carl Cross, and noted aviator, Joe Walker.

Later in 1966, White joined Trans World Airlines as Manager of Flight Operations, Research and Development. In 1969, he became a consultant in the field of aviation and aeronautics, working primarily as an expert witness in accident investigation litigation, requiring simulation of accident flight conditions in a comparable aircraft.

A past President and founding member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, White earned some of the top awards for his profession, including the Iven C. Kincheloe Award, the Octave Chanute Award, and the Harmon Trophy, which was presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1994, he was inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor. After 8,500 hours of flying time in over 125 different aircraft, he retired from the ranks of active pilots and settled in Tucson, Arizona. He died in 2006 leaving behind three divorced wives and three children.

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  • Created by: David Baker
  • Added: 16 May 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 146564497
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Alvin Swauger White (9 Dec 1918–29 Apr 2006), Find a Grave Memorial no. 146564497, ; Maintained by David Baker (contributor 48023659) Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.