MGen Joe H. Engle 1932-
From the X-15 to the Space Shuttle and the X-30, Joe Engle flew as a hypersonic research aircraft test pilot for nearly 30 years. He piloted 16 flights in the X-15, reaching mach 5.71, 280,600 feet, and qualifying for astronaut wings on three flights exceeding 50-miles altitudes.
Engle commanded one of two crews who flew the initial Space Shuttle "Enterprise" flight tests. In 1981, he commanded the second orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle "Columbia," becoming the first pilot to manually fly an aerospace vehicle during re-entry from Mach 25 to landing, performing flight test maneuvers throughout the entry. In 1985, Engle was Commander of STS-51-1 "Discovery," acknowledged then as the most successful Space Shuttle yet flown.
Joe Engle flew more than 170 different types of aircraft and logged more than 13,000 flight hours--9,500 in jets and 224 in space. Upon retirement from NASA, the USAF, and the Air National Guard, Engle became simulator evaluation pilot for NAA on the X-30 NASP.
Engle earned an Aeronautical Engineering degree from the University of Kansas. In 1960, he attended the USAF Test Pilot School and the Aerospace Research Pilot School. His military decorations include the DOD Distinguished Service Medal, the USAF Distinguished Service medal and the USAF Distinguished Flying Cross.
He has been honored by the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Exceptional Service Medal, and Space Flight Medal; the Harmon, Collier, Goddard, White and Kincheloe aviation and space trophies; CAF Nolen Lifetime Aviation Achievement Award; USAF Test Pilot School Distinguished Alumnus; and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1992).