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  Dyna-Soar pilot candidate Byron Knolle (1924-2012)

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Author Topic:   Dyna-Soar pilot candidate Byron Knolle (1924-2012)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-19-2013 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colonel Byron Franklin Knolle, Jr. (ret. USAF), who on April 12, 1962 was selected among the second group of U.S. Air Force pilot candidates for the X-20 "Dyna-Soar," died on July 6, 2012. He was 88. As reported by the Pasadena Star-News last year:
Berlin Airlift pilot Col. Knolle, San Marino resident, died July 6th from pneumonia following a fall late May, broken hip surgery. His 27 year Air Force career also included SAC (Strategic Air Command), test pilot Edwards Air Force base, Space Command, and Special Task Force, then secret in LA area. After USAF retirement he worked 16 years as an aerospace engineer for Areojet Electric Systems Co.

Texas born, Knolle graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, Class of 1945. He received his wings, commission in the Army Air Corps at graduation and served in US Army of occupation, Germany. He has an MS engineering from University of Michigan.

[via Yahoo Groups AstroAddies]

Jeff
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alexbaja
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413 is in
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Delta7
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randy
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Michael Davis
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capoetc
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hlbjr
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albatron
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posted 04-20-2013 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Certainly in no way trying to take away from this great test pilots accomplishments and service to our Country, but I didn't think he was a Dyna Soar selectee. Here is Al Crews' response:
No. He was in the second class of the Aerospace Research Pilot School with me and about 10 other guys, all graduates of the standard test pilot school. The media went kind of wild with the school announcement.
Nonetheless, a tremendous loss to the Aerospace Community. RIP.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-20-2013 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, I don't know enough about this period of history to say one way or the other, but the information about the Dyna-Soar selection was from an article by David Shayler, "America's Forgotten Astronauts," in which he wrote under a subsection labeled "Dyna-Soar":
As part of the USAF preparation of its space programmes involving manned spacecraft the USAF organized three 8-month training courses between March and October 1962 at the Air Force Aerospace Pilots Training School, Edwards AFB, California; a total of 23 astronauts designees were chosen in three groups...

...on 20 September the USAF announced the names of the six men who were to fly the Dyna-Soar. They were Crews; Gordon; Knight; Rogers; Thompson and Wood, the 1st Group of USAF astronaut designees.

Some 12 months later the USAF cancelled the Dyna-Soar programme in favour of developing a Manned Orbiting Laboratory and six Dyna-Soar pilots were re-assigned to other duties.

And the article includes this list of "USAF Astronaut Designee Groups":
Group 2 Selected 20 April 1962. (Biog. Data from Assoc. Press Release 20 Apr 1962)

Capt. A. H. Crews, USAF
Capt. T. W. Twinting, USAF
Maj. D. L. Sorlie, USAF
Maj. B. F. Knolle, USAF
Capt. C. C. Bock, USAF
Capt. R.W. Smith, USAF
Capt. R. H. Mclntosh, USAF
Lt.-Com. L. N. Hoover, USN

So would that not make Knolle a candidate, someone who was trained but not selected, for the Dyna-Soar program?

albatron
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posted 04-20-2013 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, his career was still stellar, but I suppose, it depends on when they became candidates as opposed to selectees.

As Al says, the media made a big deal out of the ARPS graduates and assumed they'd all be going to X-20 or MOL.

In Knolle's case I don't believe he even went that route. Mike Cassutt is the true expert on these things, hopefully he'll weigh in.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 04-21-2013 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My friend Dave Shayler is quite sound on astronaut subjects, but his phrasing or interpretation is a bit off here, and may be from an earlier publication. As Crews and others have said, Knolle was a graduate of the Aerospace Research Pilot School, a follow-on to the regular test pilot curriculum that was intended to provide candidates for X-20 and MOL programs... but students and graduates can't be considered "astronauts" or even applicants.

(And the X-20/Dyna-Soar group was actually selected in 1959 and had, I believe, seven members... etc. etc. etc. The August 1962 "group" reflects the first public announcement of the names of the men involved, minus Armstrong and Dana, who had left by that time, and adding Crews, who joined in 1962 or so.)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-21-2013 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, if the the X-20/Dyna-Soar program not been canceled, would Knolle have still been a candidate for a future pilot class selection? Or was there no connection with being selected for the Aerospace Research Pilot School and being a candidate for later astronaut class groups?

Just trying to gain a better understanding of how the Air Force planned to select its space pilots.

Michael Cassutt
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posted 04-21-2013 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Air Force did indeed create ARPS to provide a pool of potential astronauts for NASA and military space programs ("pilot-consultants" as they were known in Dyna-Soar, or "aerospace research pilots" in MOL).

Chuck Yeager, head of the school from 1962 to 1966, was of the opinion that no Air Force officer should be eligible for such a program if he hadn't graduated from ARPS... hence his annoyance with Anders, when learning during a chance meeting at the Pentagon, that Anders had just been selected by NASA without going through Yeager's school.

When the USAF began selecting for MOL (in fall 1964, not August 1965 as every history has it), ONLY graduates of ARPS were considered, and they were essentially hand-picked by Yeager and his deputy, Buck Buchanan. (15 out of about two dozen grads were designated as candidates and sent to Brooks for medical tests, then to Andrews for a final board that selected nine.)

The process was ... ARPS student/graduate (so potential applicant/candidate) ... candidate ... selectee.

(Since we're on the subject, the MOL II and III groups were selected beginning August 1965 in the same process that fed USAF candidates to NASA for the 1966 group. However, only ARPS graduates were eligible for immediate selection, MOL II in June 1966. Seven contingency selectees -- Abrahamson, Herres, et al -- were then sent to ARPS. Four graduated and became the MOL III group.)

All times are CT (US)

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