Manage episode 281510023 series 1016570
Ace Beall entered the Air Force with over 200 hours flying experience, with a goal of becoming an airline pilot. He was commissioned through the "90-day wonder" program, and excelled in Undergraduate Pilot Training. Upon graduation he selected an assignment as a T-38 Instructor Pilot (IP).
After that assignment, he flew C-141s at McCord Air Force Base for four years. He had hoped to get an airline job, but instead flew a King Air for an oil company, which promptly went out of business. On a lark, he interviewed with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was hired as a T-38 pilot. In this role, he trained astronauts in the T-38, and was offered the opportunity to apply to be an astronaut, but chose to remain as a research pilot.
As a research pilot, he was flying five different types of airplanes, and eventually became the pilot of the shuttle carrier aircraft, the B747 that carried the space shuttle. He also flew the famous "vomit comet".
Ace now flies for NASA as a SOFIA pilot.