Legendary test pilot's plane located, body recovered - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Legendary test pilot's plane located, body recovered

(Ranger, Georgia-AP) April 20, 2006 - The Civil Air Patrol says the body of legendary test pilot Scott Crossfield was found Thursday in the wreckage of his single-engine plane in north Georgia.

Searchers found the crumpled plane shortly after 1:00pm in the mountains near Ranger, about 50 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Crossfield's Cessna 210-A had disappeared Thursday morning while on a flight from Alabama to Virginia. Kathleen Bergen of the FAA says officials lost radar and radio contact with the plane at 11:15 a-m. Bergen says there were thunderstorms in the area at the time.

The 84-year-old Crossfield was one of a group of civilian pilots assembled by the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, the forerunner of NASA, in the early 1950s.

Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager had already broken the speed of sound in his history-making flight in 1947. Crossfield set the Mach Two record, twice the speed of sound, in 1953, when he reached 13-hundred miles per hour in a Douglas D-558-Two Skyrocket.

In 1960, Crossfield reached Mach 2.97 in an X-15 rocket plane launched from a B-52 bomber. The plane reached an altitude of 81,000 feet. At the time, Crossfield was working as a pilot and design consultant for North American Aviation, which made the X-15. He later worked as an executive for Eastern Airlines and Hawker Siddley Aviation.

Among his many honors, Crossfield was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1983.

Updated 9:50am by Bryce Mursch

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