Biplane pilot and flight engineer
Technology isn't just about wires and widgets and levers and code. It's also about the people who make it happen, who help translate electrical and mechanical possibilities into things that work--and work right--in the real world. In the world of aviation, the people who get some of the most critical hands-on experience are a hardy, daring breed known as test pilots. Into the wild blue yonder they go, strapped into aircraft that often have yet to be proven fully airworthy, and in so doing help push the boundaries of flight science.
In the United States, some of the earliest organized aeronautical research--that is, after the jump start by the Wright Brothers and other intrepid individuals--was done under the auspices of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NACA began its operations at Langley Field in Virginia, and here, in a photo from about 1920, we get a glimpse of NACA's first civilian test pilot, Thomas Carroll, tucked into the front cockpit of a biplane. Behind him, more prominent in the white shirt, is engineer John Crowley Jr.
July 4, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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