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Guest: Michelle Evans; Topics: The X-15 with new website information, restructuring and lots of new photos. See www.mach25media.com. We also talked about Michelle's award winning book, "The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space."
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Michelle Evans was welcomed back to the show to let us know about her X-15 website revisions with new photos, new information and stories and more. Listen to the story behind the finding of the new information and updating the website as the project turned out to be a Covid lockdown project. As I have done with other program summaries, I think the best way to summarize our discussion is to suggest you follow the order of the show as depicted by the tags and key words. These items do follow the order of the discussion Michelle and I had which covered multiple X-15 and related topics as they came up between not jus ourselves but also with email questions. As I found out late in the program with an email from Tony, the toll free line was "off the hook" and busy to anyone trying to call the show. Upon learning this, I noticed that Pepper had knocked the phone off the hook without my knowing it until Tony brought the busy signal to my attention. Tony promptly called in late in the show for a discussion on multiple topics including the X-15, Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, even the B-17 being deployed to the Pacific front during WW2.
Returning to the earlier part of our discussion, here is a copy of the tags/key words for your convenience: "Michelle Evans, The X-15 Rocket Plane book, X-15 discussion, Mach25media X-15 revisions, X-15 photographs, Comparable vehicles to X-15, X-planes, X-37, Space Shuttle, X-20 Dyno Soar, X-15 pilots, Joe Engle, Joe Walker, Mike Adams, Paul F. Bikle X-15 Project Manager, X-15 speeds, X-15 flight plans, X-15 possible woman pilot, Gen. Chuck Yeager, Jackie Cochran, Yeager and the NF104, X-15 pilot ejection history, B-52 carrier plane, B-52 pilots, AIAA Space Shuttle webinar April 10 program, Neal Armstrong, US. Presidents and the X-15, Griffith Observatory, X-15, B-17, X-15 site tour, X-15 international following."
Michelle responded to listeners sending in email questions along with myself. We talked about additional interesting facts and stories surrounding X-15. For example, early on Todd by email asked Michelle if there were any other X planes or for that matter any type of plane that could be compared to X-15. He specifically mentioned X-37. Michelle said no but listen to all of what she said as her commentary covered many other X planes that both flew and had programs that were cancelled. Don't miss what she said about X-37 and the Space Shuttle relationship with X-15.
Another question I thought to be interesting was asked by Roger who wanted to know why the various X-15 flights varied so much in speed. He wanted to know if the pilots had any freedom to fly or go all out if they wanted. This questions led Michelle to talk extensively about test flights, the X-15 flight plans, how the flight plans were created, the input from the pilots, the specific goals for each flight and the specific flight mission profile. The bottom line was that X-15 pilots flew specific mission profiles. Once again, be sure to hear all of what our guest said on this topic.
Another interesting story that came up was when Michelle was asked if X-15 ever had a woman pilot. This story revolved around Chuck Yeager. Don't miss a word of it because Michelle told us a great story about the possibility of a woman flying the X-15, described as stunts by the X-15 project manager, Paul Bikle. This story then led to Michelle talking about Chuck and the NF104 plus other commentary Chuck was noted as saying about different people. Another part of the discussion that caught my attention was when a listener asked Michelle if any X-15 pilots had ejected in an emergency. X-15 did have an ejection seat but I will let Michelle tell the story. As we were moving to the second segment of the program, Michelle talked about the three X-15 vehicles, the B-52s that carried X-15 to launch and what happened to them plus our guest talked about the B-52 pilots involved in the X-15 program.
As we started the second segment, Michelle promoted the coming April 10 AIAA webinar by the Los Angeles-Las Vegas section to honor the 40th anniversary of the first space Shuttle flight. Michelle provided detailed instructions on how to find the AIAA webinar on her website and register for the event which will ben 12-2 PM PDT on April 10. I hope you can make it. Here is a link to the program flyer: https://engage.aiaa.org/vandenberg/events/event-description?CalendarEventKey=571412ed-23cb-41a0-a845-e8ebc5523e29&CommunityKey=f2788d8e-f4fc-411f-9333-c0c0e734f5f8&Home=%2Fevents%2Fcalendar.
Michelle next talked about Joe Walker and some of the new photos she had on the site regarding Joe and his family along with the Harmon Trophy which he was awarded. Another listener asked Michelle questions about Neal Armstrong. Yet another listener asked Michelle if President Johnson or other US presidents ever visited an X-15 flight or even the facilities at Edwards. Michelle told us about the three presidents that served during the X-15 period. Very interesting commentary.
Tony called near the end of the program as mentioned earlier. He had good stories for us around Griffith Observatory and X-15. Michelle talked about wanting to arrange and X-15 tour which would go from near LAX to the upper part of Nevada. Tony also talked about B-17s being deployed to the Pacific Front during WW2. The final question was from Carl wanting to know about any international following for X-15.
Please post your comments/questions for Michelle on the blog for this program. Michelle can be reached through me or her website per the above URL.