PILOTS CHOSEN FOR LANCASTER AEROSPACE WALK OF HONOR.
A former astronaut and Edwards Air Force Base commander, a helicopter pilot, a lifting body researcher, a stealth fighter pilot, and the pilot of a Mach 3 bomber are the 1997 inductees in Lancaster's Aerospace Walk of Honor.
Lancaster will honor Lt. Gen. Thomas Stafford, Lt. Col. Robert Ferry, John Manke, Lt. Col. Norman ``Ken'' Dyson and Col. Joseph Cotton. The five men will have their names and a brief description of their achievements on 6-foot-tall granite monuments on Lancaster Boulevard.
The Aerospace Walk of Honor was created by the city of Lancaster in 1990 to pay tribute to distinguished test pilots who have served at Edwards Air Force Base.
A monument unveiling ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Lancaster Boulevard and Cedar Avenue. A formal banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. the same day at the Essex House, 44916 10th St. West. Tickets for the banquet are $50 per person and can be purchased at City Hall, 44933 Fern Ave., or at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd.
Stafford is perhaps best known for his spaceflights, including a December 1965 Gemini mission that marked the first rendezvous between two spacecraft; the May 1969 Apollo 10 mission, the ``dress rehearsal'' for the Apollo 11 moon landing; and the July 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission, the first meeting in space between American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts.
Stafford was a student at the test pilot school at Edwards and upon graduation became a member of the school staff.
``He was considered one of the most brilliant guys at the school,'' said Edwards historian Jim Young. ``He is a brilliant, brilliant man.''
Stafford was commander of Edwards from 1975 to 1978, a period regarded as one of the most extraordinary in the base's history because of the number of new aircraft being tested at the time, including the B-1A and the F-15 and F-16 fighters.
As deputy chief of staff for research and development, Stafford personally started the F-117A stealth fighter and the B-2 stealth bomber programs.
Stafford has flown 127 different types of aircraft and has logged over 500 hours in space flight.
Stafford's honors include the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Joint Service and Air Force commendation medals, NASA's Distinguished and Exceptional Service medals, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Octave Chanute Flight Award, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots' James H. Doolittle Award, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the Harmon International Aviation Trophy, and the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership.
Manke flew 50 different types of aircraft, including all four of the rocket-powered lifting body aircraft.
Flying the X-24B for NASA, Manke piloted the first unpowered lifting body approach to a precision landing on a concrete runway in 1975, which helped the space agency decide to build the space shuttles without auxiliary jet engines.
Manke was the senior NASA official at what is now the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, responsible for directing all flight research, testing and technical support.
Manke later contributed to the development of control systems for the orbiter through research flights in the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire aircraft.
Manke's career includes involvement with the X-15, AFTI F-111, and X-29 programs.
After leaving NASA, Manke worked for the B-2 stealth bomber program.
Manke's honors include two NASA Outstanding Leadership medals, two NASA Exceptional Service medals, and a nomination by NASA in 1984 for the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. Government.
Dyson's career includes piloting Have Blue, the prototype of the F-117A stealth fighter, and a second stealth aircraft called Tacit Blue. Both projects were secret at the time of Dyson's involvement.
``He was one of those guys who, for many years, nobody knew what he was doing - not even his wife,'' Young said.
Dyson was awarded the Iven C. Kincheloe Award from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 1989 after Have Blue was declassified. He received the award again in 1996 when Tacit Blue was declassified.
Dyson is a Vietnam War veteran whose career includes stints as a test pilot school instructor, a B-1B test pilot and a X-31 test pilot.
Dyson's honors include the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and nine Air Medals.
Cotton is a former Air Force and United Airlines test pilot who logged more than 16,000 hours of flying time in 80 different aircraft.
During World War II, Cotton spent four months evading the German Army after his B-17 bomber was shot down in 1944 over Greece. He eventually was rescued.
Cotton began his test pilot career at what is now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Cotton performed bomber flight test work and was pilot and later test director of the B-58 Hustler bomber flight research and development program.
``Cotton was easily one of the most experienced bomber pilots in the country,'' Young said.
Cotton is perhaps best known in aviation circles for his work with the XB-70, an aircraft that was originally intended to be a high-speed bomber, but ended up as a research aircraft. Cotton made 62 flights in the giant aircraft, including one flight that reached speeds of more than 2,100 mph.
Cotton's honors include the 1966 Pilot of the Year by the International Order of Characters, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Ferry logged more than 10,000 hours of flying - 8,000 in helicopters. Ferry has flown 125 different types of aircraft.
``Bob Ferry is a new thing for the Walk of Honor. He is the first 'copter pilot to be recognized,'' Young said. ``In the '50s and '60s he was the leading helicopter test pilot in the country.''
As an Air Force test pilot, Ferry piloted the Bell XV-3, which proved the tilt rotor concept now in use with the V-22 Osprey.
After leaving the Air Force, Ferry became chief test pilot for what is now Hughes Helicopters. Hughes flew the first flight and conducted most of the envelope expansion of the Apache AH-64 helicopter.
Ferry set a world record in 1966 for flying a Hughes OH-6A helicopter solo, nonstop and without refueling from Los Angeles to Daytona Beach, Florida.
Ferry's honors include the Kincheloe Award, the American Helicopter Society's Frederick L. Feinberg Award, and the U.S. Air Force Helicopter Pilot Association Award for Flight Testing.
Ferry also received the Sikorsky International Trophy, and specially designed awards from the Italian Air Force, the Hamburg Senate and S. Harry Robertson.
PHOTO (1) STAFFORD