RIP Scott Crossfield – First Man to Fly at Mach 2

The BBC is reporting that Scott Crossfield (84) has been killed flying a single engined aircraft in the US. He was the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound in the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, the only time that particular aircraft did so (they’d had to specially tweak it):

In addition to adding the nozzle extensions, the NACA flight team at the HSFRS chilled the fuel (alcohol) so more could be poured into the tank and waxed the fuselage to reduce drag. With these preparations and employing a flight plan devised by project engineer Herman O. Ankenbruck to fly to an altitude of approximately 72,000 feet and push over into a slight dive, Crossfield made aviation history on November 20, 1953, when he flew to Mach 2.005 (1,291 miles per hour). He became the first pilot to reach Mach 2 in this, the only flight in which the Skyrocket flew that fast.