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[i]...on October 3, 1968, the first [Lunar Landing Training Vehicle] LLTV had made its maiden flight at Ellington AFB. Joe Algranti made a four-minute checkout, during which he reached a maximum altitude of about 15 meters. The three LLTVs incorporated changes that were the result of the initial [Lunar Landing Research Vehicle] LLRV test program at FRC and their systems were more like that of the real [Lunar Module] LM. Each one had cost about $2.5 million.
...on December 8, Algranti took off in LLTV no. 1 for a final checkout of the vehicle before it would be released for astronaut training. It was the 15th flight for this particular craft. About four minutes into his planned six-minute flight, when he had descended from 160 to about 65 meters, Algranti suddenly experienced stability problems. He ended the simulated lunar landing to regain control of his craft. That caused severe lateral oscillations, after which the LLTV began to fall like a brick. Algranti wasted no time and ejected, one second before the vehicle crashed and exploded. He landed safely nearby, his only injury being thigh bruises from the force of ejection.[/i]
[i]He began his career as a research test pilot in Cleveland, OH at NACA. Next he moved to NASA at Langley, VA. From 1962, he assumed the role of Chief of Aircraft Operations and Chief Test Pilot at NASA in Houston, TX, where he was instrumental in the training of all aspects of the space program. He retired from NASA in 1992, and after retirement, he moved to Chapel Hill and then to LaGrange.[/i]
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