Thursday, May 17, 2007

Joseph 'Joe' Albert Joe Walker 1921-1966

Joe Walker, at the time of his death in 1966, had flown the X-15 more than any other pilot. He won numerous awards for his X-15 accomplishments. He went higher (345,000 ft.) and faster (4,104 mph) in a winged aircraft than any other man. Walker flew 58 combat missions in World War II and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. He was a physicist for NACA and NACA/NASA's Chief Test Pilot of the Flight Research Center. He served 21 years as a research pilot. He participated in research programs using research and advanced tactical aircraft as test vehicles, especially centrifuge tests. He tested and flew the X-1A; X-3 (20 times); X-4 (2 times); X-5 (78 times); X1E (first flight, 20 times); X-15A to 169,600 ft. height record (1961); X-15A to 246,700 ft. height record (1962); X-15A, 4,159 mph speed (1962); X-15A to 271,000 ft. height record and earned his astronaut wings (1963); X-15A to 347,800 ft. height record (1963); and the first flights with the Bell Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (1964). Walker was born February 20, 1921 in Washington, Pennsylvania. He received his BA in Physics from Washington and Jefferson College in 1942. Walker has been honored by having an area school named after him, the "Joe Walker Jr. High School" in Quartz Hill, California. He has received the Harmon International Trophy (1961), Collier Trophy (1961), Octave Chanute (1961), Pilot of the Year, Kincheloe Award (1961), NACA Exceptional Service Medal (1956), David C. Schilling Trophy (1961) and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1991).