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  Space Cover 253: Pete Knight and the X-15

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 253: Pete Knight and the X-15
micropooz
Member

Posts: 1276
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 02-16-2014 06:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 253 (February 16, 2014)

Space Cover #253: Pete Knight and the X-15

Well, in our ongoing bios of unsung X-15 pilots (SCOTW's 80, 143, 165, 196, 207, 226, and 243), let’s now focus on Air Force pilot William J. “Pete” Knight.

Pete Knight joined the Air Force in 1951 as a pilot. He both completed his engineering degree and entered test pilot school in 1958. Knight was selected to be a pilot for the X-20 Dyna Soar and worked to develop the space plane until it was canceled in late 1963. He then completed more test pilot training and was selected to fly the X-15 in 1965, completing his first mission on September 30, 1965. He flew more missions through 1965-66 including a Mach 6.33 (4,250 mph) record speed run on November 18, 1966.

The cover at top was one of two carried on that speed run flight (Ellington-Zwisler Vol 2, #US 97). The typed cachet was filled in by Knight, and he mailed it back to the requester from Edwards on November 22.

Knight beat that speed record, reaching Mach 6.72 (4,504 mph) on October 3, 1967. The eye-popping cover carried on that flight was featured in SCOTW 192.

Two weeks later, Knight earned his astronaut wings, reaching 53 miles altitude on October 17, 1967. The cover below was hand canceled at Edwards that day, cacheted by the local Boy Scout troop, and autographed by Knight.

Knight left the X-15 program after it ended in 1968 having flown a total of 16 missions. He went to Viet Nam, completing 253 combat sorties in F-100 fighter planes. He then moved through several test programs in the Air Force including a stint as the vice-commander back at Edwards. Knight retired from the Air Force in 1982, and in the ensuing years entered California politics. Pete Knight was serving as a California State Senator when he died in 2004.

stevedd841
Member

Posts: 189
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 02-17-2014 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis, your flown cover at the top of the page is a great space cover of the week for Pete Knight's X-15 test November 22, 1966, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Seeing your flown cover reminded me to check my X-15 covers thinking the cover looked very familiar. And, surprisingly, it was! Here is the second flown X-15 cover Pete Knight carried on this X-15 test flight along with yours. What a surprise!

bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 115
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 02-17-2014 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great covers guys!

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1276
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 02-17-2014 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Geez, I didn't know that you had the other one, Steve!

Interesting to note that yours got hand canceled while mine got machine canceled. I'd think that Knight threw them both into the same mail drop, but maybe not...

All times are CT (US)

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