Crossfield Tested the Sky's — and Body's — Limits

Test pilot Scott Crossfield

Test pilot Scott Crossfield sits in a centrifuge machine, which duplicates the stress of extreme acceleration encountered by jet pilots at high altitudes, in this 1958 file photo. Crossfield was found dead Thursday after his plane crashed. He was 84. AP file photo hide caption

itoggle caption AP file photo

The legendary test pilot, Scott Crossfield, has died at age 84. The single-engine Cessna he was flying crashed Wednesday during a flight from Alabama to Virginia.

Crossfield's fame as a test pilot was surpassed only by that of Chuck Yeager.

He was the first person to fly at more than twice the speed of sound, Mach 2. He reached 1,300 mph in 1953.

In 1960, Crossfield reached Mach 2.97. That flight took place in an X-15 rocket plane that was launched from a B-52. In that flight, he reached an altitude of 81,000 feet.

Ken Hyde worked with Scott Crossfield on a much lower and slower craft, the replica of the Wright Brothers' plane that was built for the 100th anniversary of their flight at Kitty Hawk. Hyde is president of the Wright Experience in Warrenton, Va.

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