In this update: Keeping up with the works in progress; high-flying visitors;  and meet Gen. Joe Engle USAF (ret)

Today’s Featured Sponsors

   DavidClark Logo2  

Topcon Decal  David Clark Decal  Welders Direct Decal

Today Von Armstrong, Ed Shadle, Lars Pedersen, Les Holm, Andrew Kirk and John McQueen, Cory Mitchell, Trish Woods, Omar Chramosta, Steve Wallace were on hand to put another day’s work into the North American Eagle™  Chris Greene came trailering in this morning to show off his latest battered hulk of a race car acquisition.

Ed, Pilar and Wolf Czaia

Wolfgang Czaia and his wife Pilar came by to see the team.  Wolf is a  test pilot for the Starfighters Group out of Kennedy Space Center. They currently have a fleet of flight ready F-104s.   Activities were going on in every corner of the hangar and some outside this Saturday.

Steve Wallace

Head in the data bay, making his computer work its magic

Gigantic improvement in our data acquisition system this weekend.  Steve Wallace installed a new Topcon electronics board that raises our original 20 Hz rate to 100 Hz.   This will increase the accuracy rate of the positioning system.  The Topcon Positioning System (GNSS) provides higher accuracy than copper wires strung out across an alkaline lakebed.

Andrew removing the rust

The new welding table got a working over by Andrew, removing the rust coat from the table top in preparation for its first use today.  Keith gave two thumbs up as he used the table to do quite of bit of welding this weekend.  Special thanks to Central Welding Supply for all of our welding consumables.


Trish Wood

Trish was inspecting parachutes and untangling the risers.  They have been hanging up inside the hangar to dry and Trish is getting them ready to run.

Les touching up a rear fairing

Cory Mitchell

Doing some ladder work on an overhead door release, forcing it into submission.


Keith was teaching young John McQueen some tool skills while working on the new belly pan,  getting it ready for installation.

Lars Pedersen and Ed Shadle

Lars had an apprentice this week


New laser mount

The big trailer’s traveling crane carriage was needing some more TLC from Lars and Ed, who were having some deja vu moments with the hydraulic oil, random voltages, and all.  Then Lars was back to work on the steering system.  During the week he determined that the previous laser was not accurate. He decided to make a new one from scratch.  The new laser is complete and ready to be mounted for final alignment.  Lars gets around.

New Feature:  Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines – Former Pilots of 56-0763

Today’s Featured Pilot

General Joe Engle USAF (ret)

Ed Shadle and General Joe Engle USAF (ret) at Dayton OH

He was a test pilot with over 11,600 hours in 140 aircraft; he flew the shuttle twice and was destined to land on the moon but was replaced by a geologist just a few months before launch; and to us, he was one of the former pilots of 56-0763.


General Joe Engle USAF (ret) with the X-15 Rocket Plane

Pete Knight in 56-0763 (F-104A) and Joe Engle in 56-6622 (X-15)


The X-15 is carried aloft under the wing of a B-52

Engle flew 16 missions in the X-15:  Three of those were above the 50-mile threshold, where space begins.  Ed noticed in the flight logs that Joe made an aileron roll with the word (unauthorized) in parentheses.  Ed asked him about it.  He responded that he was just “checking out the flight characteristics!”  A photo above is on the NASA website and was confirmed by Tony Landis;  Pete Knight flying 56-0763 and Joe Engle flying the X-15.


Joe Engle, Gene Cernan, Ron Evans: Apollo 14 Backup Crew

Joe Engle 3rd from the left

Most of the Apollo Astronauts, July 20, 2009, 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

Ed Shadle and General Joe Engle USAF (ret) at Dayton OH

As mentioned, Engle was on the backup crew for Apollo 14 and destined to fly Apollo 17, but he was replaced a few months before by Harrison Schmitt.  In 2009 Ed and Keith were guests of Col. Joe Kittinger USAF (ret) at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement and got a chance to hook up with Gen. Engle.  It was a special night, with all of the living Apollo astronauts on stage as David Hartman interviewed them.

Shuttle: STS 2, STS 51I


STS 2 on Columbia & STS 51I on Discovery


STS 2 and STS 51I

He was flight commander on two shuttle missions, STS2 and STS 51I, and back up on STS 1.   Problems arose in STS 2 and the flight had to be cut short, with only two days into the mission.  Joe Engle had to manually fly Columbia from Earth orbit to landing, the only astronaut to have done this.

General Joe Engle USAF (ret);  at Edwards AFB 2005 Airshow

General Joe Engle USAF, (ret) lecture at University of Kansas.  Click on photo.

Jet Blast from The Past: Photos of 56-0763 before it was a land speed vehicle




At the very beginning of the project Tony Landis, who worked in the historical archives at NASA Armstrong (Then Dryden), saw that we were using an F-104A to build the North American Eagle.™   He researched the serial number, 56-0763 and found that the aircraft was based at Edwards AFB its entire lifetime.  He then searched the log books and saw that it was flown by some of the greatest test pilots of all time.  In addition, he found the above photos of 56-0763 at Edwards AFB.

We Remember “Gentleman” Hank Johnson

Legendary Northwest Drag Racer “Gentleman” Hank Johnson

Dailey and Johnson Top Fuel Dragster

Click on the photo above and go back in time to the ’70s

One of the Pacific Northwest’s well-known drag racers, “Gentleman” Hank Johnson, passed away on April 8th after a battle with cancer.  He was one of the favorites with fans at Seattle International Raceways (now Pacific Raceways),  running his Top Fuel Dragsters.  In November 2008, at the Motorsports Northwest Auto Show in the Tacoma Dome, Hank and his team stopped by to meet and talk with the team.  He won Top Fuel in the 1971 Supernationals at Ontario CA.

Sponsor Feature: S&S Turbine Services

S&S Turbine Services provides 45,500 horses for the Eagle

Dassault Systèmes offers 3DEXPERIENCE


Dassault Decal2

Click on image above and learn all about it

Dassault Leadership Team

Bernard Charlès and Phillip Forestier at COE

Mr. Charlès is the Vice Chairman , CEO and Mr. Forestier is the EVP, Global Affairs and Communities.  Dassault Systèmes is a long time sponsor of the North American Eagle™ providing CATIA design Software solutions, working closely with IDEX Solutions.  We have made numerous appearances at COE Conventions in Las Vegas and Orlando, along with The European CATIA Forum in Paris France.

lemay logo

LeMay Family Collection is a long time sponsor of the North American Eagle™

God Bless and Protect our Troops