Sunday, September 04, 2005

MGen Robert M. "Bob" White, USAF 1924-2010

Bob White was the first pilot to fly the X-15 into space (314,740 ft.). He set numerous X-15 speed and altitude records. He was the first man to fly a winged aircraft six times faster than the speed of sound.
His X-15 records, set at Edwards AFB, include: X-15A, height of 136,500 ft. (1960); X-15A, first flight test at full throttle 3,074 mph at 79,000 ft. coasting to 105,000 ft. (1961); X-15, first man to exceed Mach 4 (Mach 4.43--2,905 mph 1961); X-15, first man to exceed Mach 5 (Mach 5.27--3,603 mph 1961); X-15, first man to exceed Mach 6 (Mach 6.04--4,093 mph 1961).
He flew the Century Series: YF-102; YF-105; and YF-107. He also tested parachute and deceleration devices.
White served as Deputy Chief of the Flight Test Operations Division and as Commander of the Edwards AFB Air Force Flight Test Center. He was designated as a Distinguished Alumnus of the USAF Test Pilot School in June 1990.
White received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He trained at the Edwards AFB Test Pilot School and later earned an M.A. in Business Administration.
As a WWII fighter pilot, he was shot down on his 52nd mission over Germany and was held as a POW. He served again in the Korean War and flew 70 combat missions over North Vietnam.
White has been honored by the Harmon International Trophy (1961), Collier Trophy (1961), Kincheloe Award (1961), Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy (1962), NASA Distinguished Service Medal, David C. Schilling Award (1962) and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1992).