X-15 Test Pilot & NASA Astronaut
Joe H. Engle
An X-15 Test Pilot and NASA Astronaut, Major General Joe H. Engle (Ret) earned an Aeronautical Engineering degree from the University of Kansas and was commissioned through Air Force ROTC. He received his pilot wings in 1957 and went on to graduate from USAF Test Pilot School and Aerospace Research Pilot School. Engle was one of twelve Air Force test pilots to fly the X-15 hypersonic rocket-aircraft, and on June 29, 1965, reached an altitude of 280,600 feet becoming the youngest pilot ever to qualify for astronaut wings. Selected by NASA in 1966, Engle trained and supported the Apollo missions before transitioning to the Space Shuttle program where he commanded two orbital Space Shuttle flights. In 1981, Engle commanded Space Shuttle “Columbia” (STS-2) becoming the only pilot to manually fly an aerospace vehicle from Mach 25 to landing. Again in 1985, he commanded Space Shuttle “Discovery” (STS-51-I). He’s the first to fly into space on two different winged vehicles: the X-15 and the Space Shuttle. Engle flew 185 different aircraft logging more than 15,000 flight hours including more than 9,000 in jets and over 225 hours in space.
“I flew more than I deserved, never as much as I wanted.” – Joe H. Engle