Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Col William J. "Pete" Knight, USAF 1929-2004

Pete Knight was one of four Air Force pilots selected to pilot the Dyna Soar (X-20) aircraft, the first Air Force space program. He was one of eight X-15 pilots to earn his astronaut wings by flying an airplane in space (280,000 ft.).
Knight flew or tested 85 different kinds of fighter, trainer, bomber and transport aircraft. He has more than 6,000 flying hours including 4,500 hours in jet aircraft.
During his 32-year Air Force career, Knight flew the X-15 ten times. In 1967, he set the X-15 world absolute speed record at Mach 6.76 (4,534 mph) at Edwards AFB.
Knight served as Vice Commander of the Edwards Air Force Base Air Force Flight Test Center--Air Force Systems Command. After serving in Vietnam, he was assigned as Test Director for the F-15 System Program office at Wright Patterson AFB. He later was named Director of the Fighter Attach System Program office. He was the first elected Mayor of Palmdale, California in 1988.
Born in Indiana in 1929, Knight attended Butler and Purdur Universities and received his degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force institute of Technology at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. He received his commission through the Aviation Cadet Program and was trained at the Test Pilot School and the Aerospace Research Pilot School.
Knight has been honored by: National Aviation Hall of Fame (1988), USAF Test Pilot School Distinguished Alumni Award (1983), October Chanute Award (968), Citation of Honor--Air Force Association, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit Award and Aerospace Walk of Honor (1990).