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Astronaut Joe Engle Returns to Oshkosh

October 4, 2017 - Astronaut Joe Engle will be delivering the keynote presentation during the Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet in December. After an exciting Apollo reunion during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, Engle is happy to return to Oshkosh and tell his unique story during the annual dinner. 

Engle knows his way around an experimental aircraft. He began his career in the U.S. Air Force flying the F-100 Super Sabre. After a personal recommendation by Chuck Yeager, Engle was admitted to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School where he became a pilot in the X-15 research program. During test flights, he reached a maximum altitude of 53.1 miles, meeting the qualifications for spaceflight and earning the title of astronaut. Engle’s space career continued when, in April 1966, he was selected by NASA to be one of the program’s 19 astronauts. He served as a backup on Apollo 14 and was slated to be part of the prime crew of Apollo 17 until a shuffling of mission crews replaced Engle with a geologist. 

Although the Apollo program ended with mission 17, Engle received another chance at space flight as commander of one of the crews for the space shuttle program’s approach and landing tests. He flew multiple test flights in addition to serving as commander of the second flight of a space shuttle, STS-2. He was the first and only astronaut to fly manually all the way through reentry and landing, and logged more than 225 hours in space. Combined with his flights in the X-15, Engle is also the only astronaut to have flown two different types of winged vehicles in space.  

As the last remaining pilot of the X-15 program, Engle will give Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet keynote presentation and share experiences from his storied career. His achievements embody the spirit of the Wright Brothers that inspired them to make their first powered flights more than 100 years ago.

The banquet, which has sold out in previous years, will be held on Friday, December 8 in the Eagle Hangar at the EAA Aviation Museum. The evening includes cocktails (cash bar), dinner, and the keynote presentation. Tickets are $55 for members and their guests and $65 for nonmembers. As space is limited, those wanting to attend this unforgettable event are encouraged to reserve their spot early by going to www.EAA.org/wrightbrothers. 

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