Retired NASA Dryden Flight Research Center research pilot Stanley P. Butchart died Monday in Lancaster at the age of 85.
Butchart joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics as a research pilot at the NACA High Speed Flight Research Station, now NASA Dryden, in 1951. During his ensuing 25-year career at the NASA center, he flew a great variety of research and mission support aircraft, becoming the center's principal multi-engine aircraft pilot during a period of air-launches of early X-planes.
From December 1966 until his retirement in February 1976, Butchart served as Chief and later Director of Flight Operations at NASA's Flight Research Center, with oversight over the research pilots', maintenance and manufacturing and operations engineering branches of the directorate. During his tenure, the responsibilities of his directorate expanded to include flight test engineering support, flight systems and the flight loads laboratory.
Among other awards, Butchart received the NACA Exceptional Service Medal for his decisions and actions to save his aircraft and crew when the X-1A exploded while attached to the B-29 launch aircraft he was flying on August 8, 1955. During his career, he wrote several technical reports and presented a number of research papers. He was a charter member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, was later elected a fellow of the Society and became its president in 1980. Butchart was inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor in Lancaster in 1999.
After receiving primary and secondary civilian pilot training, Butchart enlisted in the U.S. Navy in July 1942. Upon completion of military flight training, he flew TBM Avenger torpedo bombers in the South Pacific during World War II. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Presidential Unit Citation among other service medals.
After World War II, Butchart earned bachelor's degrees in aeronautical and mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. Following graduation in 1950, he worked as a design engineer for Boeing Aircraft before beginning his career as a research pilot for the NACA.
Butchart leaves four children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife, Miriam, passed away in December 2002.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, at the Lancaster Elks Lodge on Avenue K east of Division Street, with interment to follow at Joshua Memorial Park.
Visitation will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at Mumaw Funeral Home, 44663 Date Ave. Lancaster.
PHOTO EDITORS: A 1954 photo of Stan Butchart is available for downloading at:
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