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Fast Eddie Joins Fast Flyers on Walk of Honor
09.28.05
 
NASA Dryden pilot Ed Schneider celebrates his last flight. Edward T. "Fast Eddie" Schneider, former NASA Dryden research pilot, joined a grand list of pilots honored by the City of Lancaster, Calif., in its Aerospace Walk of Honor Sept. 24.

"I know a lot of the people who are members of the Walk of Honor already," he said. "These are people I have flown with like Fitz Fulton, Bill Dana, Tom McMurtry, Don Mallick and people who are some of my heroes-Scott Crossfield, Jimmy Doolittle, folks like that. It's amazing that someone would think my accomplishments would allow me to be included with them."

Schneider, the 19th NASA pilot to receive this recognition, called his induction a "huge honor," easily the biggest in his life.

While at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Schneider piloted five first flights and flew many modified planes used for research such as the SR-71, F-15B, F-18 High-Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV), F-8, B-52B and a Learjet. Overall, he has flown more than 87 different aircraft types.

Fast Eddie flew NASA's thrust-vectoring F-18 HARV aircraft at extreme nose-up attitudes of up to 70 degrees angle-of-attack. The F-18 HARV demonstrated a combination of technologies that provided carefree handling of a fighter aircraft in a part of the flight regime that was otherwise very dangerous. Regarding speed, Fast Eddie was indeed fast, past Mach 3 in NASA's SR-71.

Always wearing a big contagious smile, and sometimes a colorful hat as well, Fast Eddie's career at NASA Dryden included three years as chief pilot.

Dryden pilot Ed Schneider in front of SR-71. After serving as Dryden's Deputy Director of Flight Operations, he transferred in 2000 to NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, to be a WB-57F research pilot and a T-38 instructor pilot.

Schneider retired from NASA in 2004 and moved to San Diego, Calif., where "Fast Eddie" still flies, but on his own time. He now joins the ranks of 79 other test pilots so far immortalized for their contributions to flight research and testing.

"I think the biggest highlight for me [in his NASA career] was not only the constant variety of the work but the fact that it was cutting edge technology that was exciting to be around and participate in, especially as a research pilot," Schneider reflected. "The fact that I was backed up with such a great team of people - engineers, mechanics and technicians - is what really made it go. Without those people there is no way we could be successful. This is really an award for them as much as it is an award for me. I just get to carry it for them."

For a more detailed description of Schneider's impressive career, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/Biographies/Pilots/bd-dfrc-p014.html

More photos of Schneider can be found at: http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/Pilots/index.html

Gray Creech
NASA Public Affairs