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Author Topic:   Space shuttle chase plane pilots
hoorenz
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Posts: 823
From: The Netherlands
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 12-02-2006 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have a complete crewlist of the chase crews for ALT, OFT and early operational Shuttle-missions? Here is some of the data I got:

A chase team would consist of 6 people (3 T-38s?)

  • ALT:
    Bobko prime Chase (and alternating Capcom)
    Overmyer Prime T-38 Chase Free Flight 1 & 3

  • STS-1
    Mc Bride (Lead)
    Dave Walker

  • Richard E. Gray
    Mullane
    Nagel (Back-up)

  • STS-2
    Slayton
    Gibson/Sullivan
    Covey
    Richard E. Gray

  • STS-3
    ? Gibson (Lead) ?
    Bryan D. O'Connor / Ron McNair
    Covey
    Richard E. Gray

  • STS-4
    Guy Gardner/Jerry Ross

  • STS-5 Chase 1
    Charlie Justiz
    Pete Stanley (Photo)

heng44
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Posts: 2722
From: Netherlands
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posted 12-02-2006 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  • STS-1 STA (weather observation launch):
    Ted Mendenhall (JSC)
    Joe Engle
    (for subsequent flights this was John Young)

  • STS-1 STA (weather observation landing):
    Charlie Hayes (JSC)
    Ted Mendenhall (JSC)

  • STS-1 chase 1:
    Jon McBride
    Pinky Nelson (made the photos)

  • STS-1 chase 2 (TV):
    Dick Gray (JSC)
    Pete Stanley (JSC)

  • STS-1 chase 1 backup:
    Dave Walker
    Mike Mullane

  • STS-1 chase 2 backup:
    Robert Walker (JSC)
    Bobby Gray (JSC)

  • STS-2 chase 1:
    Hoot Gibson
    Kathy Sullivan (made the photos)

WSTFphoto
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Posts: 70
From: Las Cruces, NM, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 12-04-2006 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WSTFphoto   Click Here to Email WSTFphoto     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Jerry Ross's JSC Oral History transcripts, he tells about how he and Guy Gardner flew the lead chase T-38 for STS-4 at EAFB.

Bob M
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From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
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posted 12-05-2006 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the STS-1 landing I sent an STS-1 landing cover to one of the STS-1 chase pilots and it came back signed by nine individuals, but including some that aren't included in Ed's list. Here's how they signed with inscriptions added by them in quotation marks:
  • Jon McBride "Chase one"
  • George Nelson "Chase one"
  • Dick Gray "TV Chase"
  • Dave Walker "Chase 3"
  • Mike Mullane
  • Hoot Gibson "Chase 4"
    and also signing were:
  • Dick Scobee
  • Sally Ride
  • Shannon Lucid
I've accepted all this time that those nine were in T-38 chase aircraft for the STS-1 Columbia landing at EAFB, but believed that at least one autograph was missing (Pete Stanley?).

If these nine names are all correct, then that would indicate that at least five T-38 chase aircraft were involved in the STS-1 landing.

hoorenz
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From: The Netherlands
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posted 07-03-2007 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Found this on ALT Free Flight #1 (August 12, 1977) in an article by Bob Overmyer in Space Flight News No.27 (March 1988):

Chase pilots of the 6 T-38's (rest of ALT used 5 T-38's) were John Young, Vance Brand, Bob Overmyer/Dick Truly, Bill Dana/Gene Edmonds (NASA photographer), Hank Hartsfield and Dick Laidley (a NASA-JSC staff pilot - his plane was equipped with a tv-camera). The other 4 planes may have had back seaters as well, they are not mentioned in the article.

hoorenz
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Posts: 823
From: The Netherlands
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 12-08-2010 06:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hoorenz   Click Here to Email hoorenz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Found the name of the missing STS-5 Chase Pilot that was the reason I started this thread long ago: Charlie Justiz of NASA's Aircraft Operations Division. He also flew STS-41D Chase, which filmed the landing in IMAX. Justiz also applied for the Astronaut class of 1985.

Bob M
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Posts: 1416
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12-10-2010 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those with an interest in autographs, I have shown here my STS-1 cover autographed by the astronaut pilots I listed in my post of four years ago. Five have added what chase aircraft they were on: one, three, four and TV Chase. So it looks like that at least 5 T-38 aircraft were involved in STS-1 landing support.

Erik (Hoorenz) mentioned the pilot/crew of Photo Chase 1 on STS-5, Justiz and Stanley, and I have also shown an STS-5 cover autographed by those two.

And I also have a cover that was signed by several of the participants in the August 12, 1977 first ALT Enterprise free flight, and in addition to those listed back 4 years ago, Gary Krier signed and added "Chase 3" and Einar Enevoldson signed and added "NASA WX CK." Bob Overmyer signed and added "Chase 1."

Jacky1mcc
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posted 07-10-2011 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jacky1mcc   Click Here to Email Jacky1mcc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These posts brought back great memories. For STS-1 through STS-4 I worked for the JSC TV contractor and I provided ground support for the T-38 TV chase planes. This was a time that I think about often and will never forget.

alanh_7
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Posts: 1029
From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 03-17-2012 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently took a look at some of the film taken during ALT 1 flight by Haise and Fullerton. Does anyone know who flew the chase aircraft for that flight?

Was Engle and Truly one of the crews? It looks like there were three T-38 chase aircraft flying close chase and perhaps another flying from a distance filming.

Talk about close chase... Those T-38s were right on the wing. Any help with this is appreciated.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Bob M
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Posts: 1416
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 03-18-2012 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Concerning the question about chase pilots for the first ALT Enterprise free flight, I have a list provided by one of the chase pilots that differs somewhat from Erik's list above from '07.

I had a cover signed by three of the chase pilots, Overmyer, Gary Krier and Einar Enevoldsen, and the list they supplied follows:

  • Chase 1 - Overmyer/Truly
  • Chase 2 - Brand/Grau (photo)
  • Chase 3 - Krier/Edmonds (photo)
  • Chase 4 - Laidley/Stanley (TV Chase)
  • Chase 5 - Young/Algranti
Bob Overmyer added "Chase 1," Krier added "Chase 3" and Enevoldsen added "NASA WX CK."

larry115
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posted 07-15-2014 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for larry115   Click Here to Email larry115     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By sheer coincidence I was playing my tape of the air-to-ground comms of ALT-1. The list of chase crews given by the Dryden PAO, Trudy Tiedermann (sp?), was pretty much as you have stated, with the following exceptions:
  • Chase 2: Vance Brand and Bob Grey
  • Chase 4-A: Hank Hartsfield (no back seater given)
The T-38 piloted by Einar Enevoldsen wasn't a true "chase" aircraft. It was referred to various times as the "turbulence aircraft," and "turbulence tech aircraft."

In regards to STS-5, somewhere I have a picture of Pete Stanley and Charles Justiz standing together at Dryden the afternoon before the landing. If I find it, I will post it.

bobslittlebro
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Posts: 134
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 07-16-2014 02:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That STS-1 cover is great Bob.

p51
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Posts: 1063
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 07-16-2014 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I assume that if Mullane would have gone up as a chase for STS-1, he'd have been what the USAF refers to as a GIB (Guy In Back)? I know that was his role in the USAF in 'Nam and if I recall, his book mentioned a seriously imperfect attempt to land a T-38 that was never repeated...

Were backseaters for escorts tasked with camera duty? What other duties could they have performed?

cfreeze79
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Posts: 314
From: Martinez, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 07-17-2014 09:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good question...

In terms of finding the answer, I can tell you that Dick Gray passed away in the crash of a NASA T-37 at Edwards in 1982...

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