2008 Honorees

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  • Irving L. "Irv" Burrows 
  • Colonel Eileen M. Collins, USAF (Retired)
  • Major General Michael Collins, USAF (Retired)
  • Colonel Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., USAF (Retired)
  • Colonel Joe Schiele, USAF (Retired)

2008, Burrows          Irving L. “Irv” Burrows

Following five years as an Air Force fighter pilot during which he flew 100 combat missions over North Korea, Irving L. “Irv” Burrows joined McDonnell Aircraft Company. As an experimental test pilot, Burrows participated extensively in programs on all models of the F3H, F101, and F4 aircraft. In 1967 he was named Chief Experimental Test Pilot, and in 1969 was assigned as Project Pilot on the F15.


Burrows conducted the first flight of the F15 “Eagle” in July 1972 and was named McDonnell’s Director of Test Operations at Edwards in 1973. In 1974 he flew an F15B in the Farnborough Air Show. In 1976, after 20 years of test flying, Irv moved to management, and in 1985 was named VP General Manager of the F15 Program. He retired from McDonnell in 1991 as Executive Vice President.


A past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a Distinguished Alumnus of the Test Pilot School (class 58B), Burrows received the Iven C. Kincheloe award in 1974 for outstanding achievements on the F15 Program, and the James H. Doolittle Award in 1989 for technical management at McDonnell. Burrows has logged over 5700 hours in a variety of aircraft, most of which were fighters.


2008 Collins, E.          Colonel Eileen M. Collins, USAF (Retired)

Test pilot Eileen M. Collins was the first female Space Shuttle pilot and commander in history. Selected by NASA while attending Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 1990, she became an astronaut in July 1991.


Collins served as pilot on STS-63 (February 1995), the first of the new joint Russian-American Space Program, and STS-84 (May 1997). She became the first female commander of a U.S. spacecraft on STS-93 (July 1999). She also commanded STS-114 in 2005, the first mission after the loss of Columbia in 2003. During the STS-114 mission she became the first astronaut to fly the Space Shuttle through a complete 360-degree pitch maneuver. A veteran of four space flights, Collins has logged over 872 hours in space


Collins’ awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and Space Flight Medals, and the National Space Trophy, among many others. Named one of the top women in history who have changed the world, she has logged over 6,750 hours in more than 30 types of aircraft.

2008 Collins, M.          Major General Michael Collins, USAF (Retired)

After four years in a fighter squadron, Michael Collins reported to the USAF Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in 1960. There he completed experimental test pilot school and tested stability and control characteristics of jet fighters. NASA selected Collins to be an astronaut in 1963.


On his first mission (July 1966) he piloted Gemini X (sharing command with pilot John Young), during which he set a world altitude record and became the nation’s third space walker. His second flight was as Command Module Pilot of the historic Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. He remained in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. Collins completed two space flights, logging 266 hours in space.


An Associate Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, his honors include the Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings, the Robert J. Collier Trophy and the Harmon International Trophy, among others. Collins has logged more than 5,000 hours as a fighter pilot, experimental test pilot, NASA pilot and AF Reserve pilot.


2008, Cooper          Colonel Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., USAF (Retired)

Before becoming one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, Leroy “Gordo” Gordon Cooper was posted to the Flight Test Engineering Division at Edwards AFB where he served as a test pilot and project manager testing the F-102 and F-106B. He was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 1959.


In May of 1963, he piloted Faith 7 which concluded the operational phase of Project Mercury. Cooper then served as command pilot of the Gemini V mission (August 1965). He also served as backup command pilot for Gemini 12 and as backup commander for Apollo X. The first man to make a second orbital flight, Cooper accumulated more than 225 hours in space.


A member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, he received many awards including the Air Force Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Collier Trophy, the Harmon Trophy, the Iven C. Kincheloe Award and others. Cooper logged more than 7,000 hours of flight time, with 4,000 hours in jet aircraft.


2008, Schiele          Colonel Joe Schiele, USAF (Retired)


Colonel Joe Schiele’s work has been crucial to the continued development of aviation technology and flight research programs. After his graduation from the USAF TPS, he flew early development tests on the T-37 engine and fuel control, T-28 control systems, and snow/ski tests on C-130s and SC-47s, along with adverse weather and icing tests on many cargo and trainer aircraft.


In 1961, Schiele was assigned to Bomber Test at Edwards AFB, where he flew the X-21A, a highly modified B-66, used for research on laminar flow control. He also piloted the C-141 on its first transcontinental flight (June 1964), flying from the Lockheed-Georgia plant to Edwards. He gained prominence in project Rough Road Alpha, which entailed take-off and landing tests on unprepared strips with C-123s and C-130s. He was the primary pilot on the Cat II Development Test and Evaluation of the C-141. Schiele was the first Air Force pilot to fly the C-5A. He is the acknowledged expert in unprepared surface testing.


A member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Schiele has logged over 7,200 hours of flight.


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