Legendary test pilot Scott Crossfield died yesterday in a small plane crash in Georgia. At age 84, he was still regularly flying.
Scott Crossfield was the first to fly twice the speed of sound and the first to fly the X-15... the supersonic plane that paved the way to the space race. This just scratches the surface of his long and distinguished career. He served his country with great distinction and to his last day, he was active in aviation.
Mr. Crossfield was one of those rare breed of men who was a hero as well as a down to earth, nice guy. I'd written to him many times and he always promptly responded with a signed photo as well as a few kind words of thanks. Imagine, he was thanking me for writing to him.
Chuck Yeager may have been the early focus of Tom Wolfe's book, but Scott Crossfield -- a much more modest man -- was just as important to the early days of test flight. He truly had the Right Stuff.