|At a gathering of test pilots in Los Angeles Sept. 24, veteran research pilots Stan Butchart (left) and Scott Crossfield reminisced about their experiences in the Douglas D-558-I research aircraft when both flew for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the forerunner of NASA. Test pilots and aerospace industry representatives from around the world began a special four-day symposium in Los Angeles with an exhibit honoring 100 years of flight. Courtesy photo|
The Society of Experimental Test Pilots is hosting a symposium in Los Angeles on Sept. 24-27, 2003 to commemorate 100 years of flight. NASA research pilots and test engineers join astronauts from Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the space shuttle in a series of seminars, culminating in a black-tie banquet Saturday, Sept. 27.
A NASA exhibit showcases Dryden Flight Research Center's accomplishments, which span more than half a century. Three-dimensional dioramas depict the pioneering research of the Wright brothers, NASA's wingless lifting bodies of the 1960s and the cutting-edge wing-twisting Active Aeroelastic Wing F/A-18.
A detailed four-foot scale model of NASA's Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW) supersonic F/A-18 jet is shadowed by the photographic likeness of the real AAW aircraft on the NASA Dryden ramp in a diorama at the Society of Experimental Test Pilots centennial of flight event in Los Angeles Sept. 24-27. The AAW aircraft is capable of twisting its wings for efficient roll control - a modern variation on one of the Wright brothers' oldest ideas.
Sessions include research pilot Scott Crossfield discussing efforts to create a Wright Flyer replica; a panel devoted to the breaking of the sound barrier, with Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, Robert A. Hoover, and Robert L. Cardenas; a session on the Mach 3 SR-71 and the famed "Skunk Works" of Kelly Johnson presented by Rogers E. Smith and Edward T. Schneider; the space shuttle, with astronauts and pilots Scott Altman, Robert L. Crippen, Gordon Fullerton, Fitzhugh Fulton, and Richard H. Truly.
Image left: Replicating a famous NASA photo of the B-52 mother ship overflying NASA pilot Bill Dana and a lifting body at Edwards Air Force Base. Courtesy photo
A group of principals involved in the hypersonic X-15 and the Lifting Bodies will include Scott Crossfield, Bill Dana, Joe Engle, Pete Knight, Cecil Powell, Dale Reed, and Robert M. White; and a special gathering of astronauts including Buzz Aldrin, Vance Brand, Scott Carpenter, Michael Collins, Eugene Cernan, James Lovell and Walter M. Schirra is scheduled to discuss the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo manned space programs.
Registration to attend the events is handled by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.