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  NASA Chief Test Pilot Joe Algranti (1925-2009)

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Author Topic:   NASA Chief Test Pilot Joe Algranti (1925-2009)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-01-2009 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA test pilot Joseph Samuel Algranti passed away on April 29. He was 84.

From Ed Hengeveld's article "Lunar landing training was 'touch and go'" as was published in Spaceflight in December 1992:

...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.

From the LaGrange (GA) Daily News:
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.
In addition to flying the LLTV, Algranti worked on modifying the Gulstream II to fly as the Shuttle Training Aircraft and modified T-38 jets to serve as the chase planes for space shuttle landings. He flew the modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and the Super Guppy, as well as the KC-135 "Weightless Wonder" (or "Vomit Comet") training aircraft.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice LaGrange in memory of Mr. Joseph Samuel Algranti.

Johnson Space Center's History Office conducted an oral history interview (PDF) with Algranti in 1998.

A moment of silence can be signified by an entry with no words and only a period.

nasamad
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413 is in
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Jay Chladek
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kr4mula
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gliderpilotuk
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Michael Clemente
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AstroAutos
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Delta7
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spaceman1953
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posted 05-01-2009 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another of the "unsung heroes" that got us to the Moon! Thank you for all you did!

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capoetc
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Lunar rock nut
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randy
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machbusterman
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posted 05-02-2009 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sad news indeed... and with the passing of Jack Kluever fairly recently we have lost another important test pilot from the Golden Age of Flight Test.

Respectfully, Derek

Richard Easton
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