The following statement
was posted on the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association's website
Thursday, regarding the loss of legendary test pilot Scott
A. Scott Crossfield, 84 (AOPA 1043507), a test pilot who set the
criteria that made the first manned space flights possible, died in
the crash of his 1960 Cessna 210 Wednesday near convective weather
over northern Georgia.
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) located the wreckage near Ranger,
Georgia. He was flying from Prattville, Alabama, to Manassas,
Virginia, but radar contact with the Atlanta Air Traffic Control
Center was lost at 11:14 a.m. EDT near Ludville, Georgia (six miles
from Ranger). Crossfield was alone in the aircraft.
"No one loved flying more than Scott Crossfield," said AOPA
President Phil Boyer. "I've known him since I first came to
Washington. I can't think of anyone with a more varied aviation
"And while we don't know yet what caused the accident, it
certainly gives us all pause to remember that weather is no
respecter of experience or fame.
"When I last saw him at the Northwest Aviation Conference in
Puyallup, Washington, he talked about how much AOPA meant to him
personally and to general aviation," said Boyer. "We have lost a
true pioneer, a friend, and a gentleman."
In 1953 Crossfield became the first pilot to exceed Mach 2 and
achieved the record in a Douglas D-558-2 rocket plane.
He was the first to fly the North American X-15 rocket plane but
was told in his contract to keep it low and slow — no faster
than Mach 3 and no higher than 100,000 feet. Other pilots took the
aircraft to Mach 6.7 and as high as 354,000 feet.
He survived an explosion while sitting in an X-15 that blew
apart on the test stand.
Crossfield, who worked for years on the staff of the House
Science and Technology Committee, was responsible for training
pilots who flew a 1903 Wright Flyer replica at Kitty Hawk, North
Carolina, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of flight.
He was a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and established the
CAP's A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year