Alvin M. Johnston : biography
Alvin M. "Tex" Johnston (August 18, 1914 – October 29, 1998) was an American jet-age test pilot for Bell Aircraft and the Boeing Company.
Family and death
In 1991, Johnston wrote his memoirs Tex Johnston: Jet Age Test Pilot with writer Charles Barton.
Johnston developed Alzheimer's disease in the 1990s and died in 1998. He is survived by his wife DeLores and three children.
After World War II ended, he bought two surplus Airacobras and modified them to enter and win the Thompson Trophy at the 1946 National Air Races. He set a world speed record of .
Johnston helped design and flew the rocket propelled Bell X-1 on May 22, 1947."."
He became a test pilot for Boeing in July 1948. He flew the B-47 Stratojet and piloted the first flight of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress prototype."."Discovery Wings Touched by History Dr. Strangelove
From 1960 to 1963, he was assistant program manager for Boeing's X-20 Dyna-Soar program in Seattle, Washington.
From 1964 to 1968, he was manager of the Boeing Atlantic Test Center in Cocoa Beach, Florida, working two Boeing's programs, Minute Man missile and Lunar Orbiter designed for Apollo missions. He also worked managing Saturn and Apollo programs with NASA.
In 1968 Johnston left Boeing to manage Tex Johnston, Inc., Total-In-Flight-Simulator Inc. and Aero Spacelines (manufacture and certification of an outsized cargo airplane known as the Pregnant Guppy).
In 1975, he became director and chief pilot of Stanley Aviation Corporation, focusing on personnel escape systems (ejection seats). Johnston was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1993.
Johnston was born August 18, 1914, in Admire, Kansas, to farmers Alva and Ella Johnston. He made his first flight in 1925, at eleven years old, when a barnstormer landed near his home. That day, he decided to become a pilot. He received mechanics and pilot instruction, soloing at age fifteen. After graduating from high school, Johnston began barnstorming himself. Later he returned to school for engineering, but dropped out in 1939 before he finished the required courses to get his degree.
He married his wife DeLores in 1935.
He was a civilian instructor for the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Once the United States entered World War II, Johnston transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps Ferry Command.
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