Fri, Oct 05, 2007
Accomplished Research Pilot Was 85
It is with sadness Aero-News has
learned Stanley Paul Butchart, a former research pilot at Edwards
Air Force Base and past director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research
Center, died this week from complications related to old age. He
The Los Angeles Times reports Butchart flew a number of
prototype aircraft at Edwards in the 1950s, as well as the B-29
motherships used to launch experimental X-1A aircraft. During one
such test launch of an unmanned X-1A, Butchart was credited with
jettisoning the attached rocketplane moments before it exploded --
saving his crew and aircraft. He earned the NACA Exceptional
Service Medal after the incident.
In 1951, Butchart joined the National Advisory Committee for
Aeronautics' High-Speed Flight Research Station -- the facility
that later became NASA Dryden. He became Dryden's chief test pilot
in 1966; he retired from DFRC 10 years later, as director of flight
Butchart was born in New Orleans in 1922. He trained as a
civilian pilot before joining the Navy in 1942, where he served
with future President George H.W. Bush on the USS San Jacinto, an
aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. Butchart was among the
attendees at the 1997 dedication of the George Bush Presidential
Library and Museum at Texas A&M University.
Before becoming a test pilot, Butchart also worked briefly as an
engineer at Boeing.
By his own calculations, Butchart flew 100 types of aircraft...
and "soloed in everything except a hot-air balloon," according to
the Times. We'd like to think now that Butchart has Gone West,
where the winds are calm and the skies are clear... he's finally
able to accumulate some lighter-than-air time.
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