The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin on the tragic death of famed test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield.

“Scott Crossfield was a true pioneer whose daring X-15 flights helped pave the way for the space shuttle. NASA remembers Scott not only as one of the greatest pilots who ever flew, but as an expert aeronautical engineer, aerodynamicist, and designer who made significant contributions to the design and development of the X-15 research aircraft and to systems test, reliability engineering, and quality assurance for the Apollo command and service modules and Saturn V second stage. Today, those of us in the aeronautics and space communities extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to Scott’s family.”

Crossfield made aeronautical history in 1953 when he reached a speed of more than 1,320 mph, or Mach 2, in a Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. He played an important role in the agency’s highly successful X-15 research aircraft program in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He flew most of the early experimental X-series research aircraft for NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

In 1993, Crossfield was honored with the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his contributions to aeronautics research and development over his historic 50 year career.

For additional information about Crossfield and his contributions to aeronautics visit,