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Mon, Nov 27, 2017

Astronaut/Test Pilot Joe Engle Featured Speaker At EAA Wright Brothers Banquet

National Aviation Hall Of Fame Member Also Trained For Apollo 14, Apollo 17 Missions

Joe Engle, who set records as a test pilot for the famed X-15 rocket plane and later became one of the first commanders in the space shuttle program, will be the featured speaker as EAA commemorates the birthday of powered flight at the annual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet on Friday, December 8, at the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh.

The annual EAA gala commemorates the 114th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first successful powered flight on December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.   

Engle was a U.S. Air Force pilot when then-Col. Chuck Yeager was leading the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School.  Yeager personally vouched to get Joe into the school, where Engle would push experimental aircraft to the edge of the envelope.  He would fly the North American X-15, which would set the all-time speed record for a manned aircraft by flying at speeds above Mach 6.  Engle qualified for NASA’s Apollo program in 1966, eventually training as a backup crew member for Apollo 14, best known as the mission where Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the moon. Engle was part of the primary crew for Apollo 17, but was moved off the mission when the scientific community requested that geologist Harrison Schmitt be part of the crew.

After the final three Apollo missions were canceled by Congress, Engle stayed with NASA and flew the initial space shuttle approach and landing test flights. He commanded the second space shuttle mission in 1981, becoming the only person to manually fly an aerospace vehicle from Mach 25 (approximately 19,000 mph) to landing. His final space flight was as commander of space shuttle Discovery in 1985. Engle was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001.

Over the past 15 years, the EAA banquet has featured some of the most impressive speakers in the aviation world. Advance tickets for the event are $65 per person ($55 per person for EAA members) and include the reception, full-service dinner and evening program. There will also be a cash bar. Tickets are available at www.EAA.org/WrightBrothers until December 1 or until sold out.

(Source: EAA news release. Image provided by NASA)

FMI: www.eaa.org

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