Dryden’s Test Pilots

Based out of Edwards AFB, the Dryden Flight Test Center has been the home of some of the world’s top aircraft since the 1940′s. Along with the history of the planes hosted there, NASA has a great collection of pictures capturing the personalities of the test pilots who flew them.

More reading: Wikipedia, Great Images in NASA

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Air Force pilot Major Cecil Powell stands in front of the X-24A after a research flight.

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NASA Flight Research Center Paresev 1-A with Mercury Astronaut Gus Grissom (left) and NASA test pilot Milton Thompson.

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The four principal HL-10 pilots are seen here with the lifting body aircraft. They are, left to right; Air Force Major Jerauld R. Gentry, Air Force test pilot Peter Hoag, and NASA pilots John A. Manke and Bill Dana.

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Cowboy Joe (NACA High-Speed Flight Station test pilot Joseph Walker) and his steed (Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1A).

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NASA research pilot Bill Dana takes a moment to watch NASA’s NB-52B cruise overhead after a research flight in the HL-10.

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The M2-F1 lifting body aircraft rests on the sun-baked floor of a dry lake bed located out in the Mojave Desert at the Dryden Flight Research Center, California. Pilot Chuck Yeager, seated in the cockpit of the M2- F1, talks with fellow pilots from left to right Milt Thompson, Don Malick and Bruce Peterson.

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Dryden pilot Neil Armstrong is seen here next to the X-15 ship #1 (56-6670) after a research flight.

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Jay L. King, Joseph D. Huxman and Orion D. Billeter assist NASA research pilot Milt Thompson (on the ladder) into the cockpit of the M2-F2 lifting body research aircraft at the NASA Flight Research Center (now the Dryden Flight Research Center).

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The X-15 flight crew, left to right: Air Force Captain Joseph H. Engle, Air Force Major Robert A. Rushworth, NASA pilot John B. “Jack” McKay, Air Force Major William J. “Pete” Knight, NASA pilot Milton O. Thompson, and NASA pilot Bill Dana.

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The X-15 pilots clown around in front of the #2 aircraft.

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