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Test Pilot Quotes
I would like to fly in space. Absolutely. That would be cool. I used to just do personally risky things, but now I've got kids and responsibilities, so I can't be my own test pilot. That wouldn't be a good idea. But I definitely want to fly as soon as it's a sensible thing to do.
On a standard space shuttle crew, two of the astronauts have a test pilot background - the commander and the pilot.
As a kid, I always wanted to be lots of things. I was a Walter Mitty type. I wanted to be in the French Foreign Legion, a detective, a doctor, a test pilot with a scarf, a fisherman who hauled in a tremendous marlin after a 12-hour fight.
You know, being a test pilot isn't always the healthiest business in the world.
We have never lost a crew member on the space station, but of course, the Columbia accident. I was - I'd already been an astronaut for a decade when the crew of Columbia was killed. And I went through test pilot school. Rick Husband and I were out at Edwards at test pilot school together. He was the commander of Columbia.
But when I was selected, after my very first tour of squadron duty, to become one of the youngest candidates for the test pilot school, I began to realize, maybe you are a little bit better.
And so, I was not a military test pilot, but as soon as NASA expressed an interest in flying scientists and people who were not military test pilots, that was an epiphany that just came like a stroke of lightning.
Two months after I got out of test pilot school, I saw an advert that said NASA was recruiting more astronauts. The best job you could have as a test pilot was being an astronaut, so I volunteered.
I flew fighters for the Navy in San Diego for three years, went and did my post-graduate education, and then I was a test pilot in Patuxent River, Maryland, for a few years. I was back in the fleet in the Navy when I was selected to come back here to NASA to become an astronaut.
Alan G. Poindexter
Astronauts working for the government will always need to be either pilots or mission specialists. Those who want to be pilots should have military experience - ideally, a test pilot background.
What I was most curious about was why Armstrong, a top U.S. Navy test pilot, flying the most advanced aircraft in the world, would want to join the astronaut corps in 1962, which included chimpanzees and monkeys.
Each test pilot I know considers him, or herself, now that there are women, to be the very best. It's very demeaning to step down the ladder once in a while.
When a test pilot comes off a flight, there is typically another pilot who is going to take it up, and he believes in the debriefing. You don't keep something to yourself.
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