- Lieutenant Colonel John ''Jack'' E. Allavie, USAF
- Major Wallace A. ''Wally'' Lien, USAF
- Major General Wilbert D. ''Aggie'' Pearson, USAF
- Edward T. Schneider
- Richard G. ''Dick'' Thomas
Lieutenant Colonel John "Jack" E. Allavie, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel John "Jack" E. Allavie was the project pilot for "Hurry - Hurry" which was designed to determine take off procedures and problems associated with "in-line" and formation take offs at maximum weights. He was the B-52 launch pilot for the first flights of the X-15 rocket plane.
The results from project "Hurry – Hurry" were crucial to national security because the U.S. government and the Air Force knew that, in the event of a nuclear attack, a response would have to be launched within ten minutes.
After graduating in 1955 from the Empire Test Pilot School in Farnborough, England, he moved to Edwards Air Force Base Flight Test Operations. In 1958, he was one of only two pilots assigned to the B-52/X-15 flight test program, completing 60 flights by 1962. Later, he flew the B-58 for escape capsule system tests. These tests were conducted from 70 knots on the runway to Mach 2 at 46,000 feet.
Allavie was the only military pilot on the United States Supersonic Transport (SST) source selection team in 1964, followed by a role as a member of the USAF Aerospace Plane Evaluation Team.
In 1966 he retired from the Air Force and joined Flight Test Operations at Douglas Aircraft Company as an experimental test pilot, initially assigned to military test programs followed by flight testing of the DC-8, DC-9, MD-80 and DC-10/KC-10. Allavie is a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He has logged 18,000 hours flying more than 120 different aircraft.
Major Wallace A. "Wally" Lien, USAF
A test pilot of rare discipline and precision, Wallace A. "Wally" Lien was an Army Air Force (AAF) test pilot at Wright Field during World War II. With an engineering degree and vast experience, he was one of a handful of military test pilots at Wright Field during that era who were true engineering/experimental test pilots.
In 1943 he conducted the first official U.S. Army Air Force performance tests of a jet plane at Muroc Army Air Field, now known as Edwards Air Force Base. The aircraft was the Bell YP-59A, a prototype for America’s first turbojet airplane, the P-59.
He completed the initial AAF performance evaluations on many early jets that were later tested at Muroc, including the Lockheed XP-80 and XP-80A, the concept demonstrator for America’s first operational jet fighter, as well as the British Gloster Meteor, the first British jet fighter. His flight test work on the YP-80 yielded the foundation for beginning to understand and master the powerful new turbojet technology that would impact future aircraft performance. His tests on the XP-80 showed that it would be the first American aircraft capable of exceeding 500 miles per hour in level flight, taking it to 502 miles per hour at 20,000 feet.
In February 1946, Major Lien made the first flight of the Republic XP-84 Thunderjet. Soon after, he left the service, joining North American Aircraft as an engineering test pilot where he completed the maiden flight of the XFJ-1 Fury in September 1946.
Major General Wilbert D. "Aggie" Pearson, USAF
Major General Wilbert D. "Aggie" Pearson, Jr. commanded the F-15 Anti-Satellite Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base. On September 13, 1985, flying an F-15, The Celestial Eagle, he launched the first and only ASAT missile to intercept and destroy an orbiting satellite, a feat that earned him recognition as the world’s first "space ace".
Flying F-4s from August 1972 to August 1973, he logged 364 flight hours during 137 combat missions over Vietnam. In 1978 he was assigned to Nellis Air Force Base as an F-15 operational test pilot. Graduating with U. S. Air Force Test Pilot School Class 82A, he served as an F-4, F-5, T-38, F-15 and F-20 test pilot until 1989. He returned in 2001 as the Commander, Air Force Flight Test Center, where he was later credited with restoring the credibility of the F/A-22 development program and delivering the aircraft successfully into operational test and evaluation. He was the first general officer to fly the F/A-22.
Among many other decorations, General Pearson was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He received the Air Force Systems Command Primus Award, the 2004 San Fernando Engineer’s Council Chuck Yeager Award for lifetime achievement, and a 2004 Laurel from Aviation Week & Space Technology. He is an Associate Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and has flown over 4,500 flying hours in more than 50 military aircraft.
Edward T. Schneider
Edward T. Schneider, an accomplished NASA experimental research pilot, became the first pilot in history to conduct multi-axis thrust vectored flight while flying the F-18 High Angle-of-Attack Research Vehicle.
A U.S. Naval officer from 1968 to 1983, he graduated from the Naval Test Pilot School in 1973 as the youngest graduate in the history of the school. He was an engineering test pilot on 11 programs, a test pilot school instructor and the F-4 Program Manager and senior test pilot at the Naval Aviation Depot, North Island, CA.
He joined NASA in 1983 as Dryden Flight Research Center’s project pilot for the SR-71 and F-104 High Speed Research Programs, the F-18 Systems research aircraft, the B-52 launch aircraft, the NASA Learjet, and a multitude of other research programs, eventually rising to a position as NASA Dryden’s Chief Test Pilot. He left Dryden in 2000 for a position at NASA’s Johnson Space Center as T-38 instructor and WB-57F Research Pilot, performing earth resources and classified missions. He retired in 2004.
Schneider is a Fellow and Past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and recipient of the AIAA Chanute Flight Award, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He was the youngest pilot to be inducted into the James B. Taylor Jr. Memorial Carrier Test Pilots Hall of Honor in Charleston, SC. He has logged more than 7,800 hours in over 87 types of aircraft and has performed five first flights.
Richard G. "Dick" Thomas
Richard "Dick" Thomas, chief project pilot, flew the first flight of the Tacit Blue demonstrator aircraft and the first flight of the F-5F Freedom Fighter. His hazardous high angle of attack test flights in the F-5 established procedures now followed by fighter pilots around the world.
As a Northrop Grumman test pilot, Thomas led the flight testing of Tacit Blue. According to the U.S. Air Force, Tacit Blue was one of the most successful high tech demonstrator programs ever conducted and it had a direct influence on the design of the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Thomas was a test pilot for the T-38 and the F-5, as well as for the highly experimental laminar flow control X-21. He also spent time in Madrid, Spain, helping the Spanish Air Force flight test the CASA 101 trainer aircraft.
Thomas earned his Air Force pilot wings in an open cockpit Stearman in 1952. He flew F-80C, T-33, F-86, F-100D for six years before leaving the military for a flight test career with Beech Aircraft and later Boeing. He tested the ERB-47 and B-52 for Boeing and in 1962, Boeing sent him to U.S. Navy Test Pilot School. He joined Northrop Aircraft in 1963 and retired from that company in 2000.
A Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and recipient of their Iven C. Kincheloe Award, Thomas was named an Eagle by the Flight Test Historical Foundation in 2004. He has logged 8,000 hours flying more than 116 different aircraft.