Grissom: Test Pilot
After returning from Korea, Gus Grissom became a flight instructor for the Air
Force in Texas.
In 1955, Grissom was transferred to the Air
Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Through that program, he received a bachelor's degree in aero-mechanics. It
was there that he met Gordon Cooper, another future astronaut.
Upon completing his degree, Grissom and Cooper reported to Edwards Air Force Base in California
to train as test pilots. Becoming a test pilot required passing rigorous
academic coursework, as well as being an extraordinary pilot.
In 1957, Grissom returned to Ohio to begin testing the Air Force's newest jet
Testing jets was one of the riskiest jobs conceivable. It required split
second mental and physical responses. These abilities prepared Grissom for his
next assignment: Astronaut.
A test pilot's job:
- Receive and understand the assigned test plan
- Fly the plane in the assigned way to conduct the specific test
- Document the results of the test
- Assess changes in the plane's response and behavior
- Quickly solve problems in flight
- Handle flight emergencies
"Some of these kids were pretty green and careless sometimes, and you had to
think fast and act cool or they could kill both of you."
- Gus Grissom