Famous Texas Flyers

Tomorrow is the 17th anniversary of the Columbia Shuttle . . . disaster? tragedy? devastating event?

Whatever terminology applies, it seems appropriate to reflect on the glory & guts of some famous Texas flyers.

Sky background, white & black Columbia Space shuttle as wheels touched down at Kennedy Space Center
Space Shuttle Columbia landing at Kennedy Space Center 1994

Columbia Space crew, 7 members strong, died during re-entry.

Blue sky with white cloud background, edge of moon landing space shuttle with Alan Bean in the foreground in his astronaut gear.
Alan Bean, Wheeler, Texas, the 4th man to walk on the moon, Apollo 12
I love that Alan Bean went on to foster another career – that of an artist. He brought the magic of space flight to those of earth-bound.
Painting of lunar landing craft with 3 astronauts in full gear and helmets standing on the moon's surface.
Alan Bean painted this in 1992

What other barriers have Texas famous flyers broken?

First female African-American aviator, Azellia White.

Then there was the sweet-singing cowboy who took time from his music career to serve in the Air Force – Gene Autry.

Want to visit Texas flight museums?

NASA in Houston, TX – 1601 NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058

Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston, TX – 11551 Aerospace Avenue, Houston, TX 77034

American Airlines – CR Smith Flight Museum in Fort Worth, TX – 4601 Texas Highway 360
Fort Worth, Texas 76155

Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin, TX – 2200 W 35th St, Austin, Texas 78703

Aviation Museums across Texas – currently this list highlights 50 locations that are exclusively aviation museums or host special sections/events to honor famous Texas aerialists and their high-flying, dare-devil, speed-setting, gender and race-breaking accomplishments. Some are free (donations welcome); some are fee-based.

While many Texans are grounded – somewhere – on the 171.902 million acres that comprise Texas landscapes . . . others find glory and honor in the skies above.

Sunset background with Texas lone-star flag waving in the breeze above a Texas prairie.
Fellow Texans stand tall as we honor those who through their guts & determination have broken records and raised the bar higher for all.

Having lived in Texas all my life, I remember the Columbia tragedy. I remember the sonic boom that rattled my home’s windows and heralded the final explosion of the space shuttle. I remember the news stories as NTSB personnel collected the scattered remains of the craft. Mostly, I remember the images that indelibly seared my vision as those bright and brilliant lives streaked across the sky in their last moments. It was a collective-shared loss; a devastating tragedy in which we mourned. Yet, we, as Americans, are greater for those individuals who willingly launch themselves into space so that mankind will know, will see, will explore that which is beyond the horizon.

In memory of the Columbia Space Shuttle crew.

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