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Fearsome Forehand 08-28-2012 11:45 AM

Neil Armstrong
The first person to walk on the moon died the other day.

He had a hell of a life and cheated death more times than one can imagine as a fighter pilot, test pilot and astronaut.

His calm piloting skills are probably the only reason that the Apollo 11 LEM landed safely on the moon because the landing did not go according to plan at all. The original landing site was not as described. He had to fly around trying to find a suitable one. They were suppose to land with 3 minutes worth of fuel left, they landed with about 15 seconds of fuel left. The ground crew thought he and Aldrin were toast.

Fearsome Forehand 09-01-2012 07:08 AM

Really amazing, given the risk involved, that the Feds didn't grant these fellows some sort of life insurance.

El Diablo 09-01-2012 07:27 AM

These guys chose this work in spite of -- or perhaps because of -- the risks involved. If money were a large concern, he could have done quite nicely as an airline pilot, but chose to do what he enjoyed most. Life insurance is a lousy investement in any event; Consumer Reports recommends you only have term life insurance if you have kids to put through college, and get rid of even that as soon as they graduate.

Fearsome Forehand 09-01-2012 08:10 AM

Given the high risk nature of their jobs, life insurance would have been cost prohibitive. I am sort of surprised that there was nothing in NASA's budget, say $100K/head set aside, if the worst case scenario unfolded (as in the case of the Apollo 1 accident).

Neil almost bought it on the LEM simulator; he had to punch out maybe a couple of hundred feet (if that) off the ground.

All of those guys were maniacs. The mortality rate among test pilots was fairly high. Armstrong flew fighter jets in Korea, flew the Bell X Series planes, etc. Then was in the Gemini and Apollo programs. Amazing that he lived to a ripe old age. Chuck Yeager is still alive, pushing 90. :)

Neil was buried yesterday, the day of a blue moon. Seems appropriate.

El Diablo 09-01-2012 08:20 AM

I think victims' families were able to manage. Gus Grissom died on the pad in that flash fire, and his widow got published a book he had just about finished writing. Another book about him was published with her authorization. My house was once owned by Alan Shepard's sister and we were told by the last owner that Alan, not a victim, made out quite nicely for himself in any event.

MAXXply 09-05-2012 01:31 AM


Originally Posted by El Diablo (Post 6854025)
My house was once owned by Alan Shepard's sister and we were told by the last owner that Alan, not a victim, made out quite nicely for himself in any event.

I remember reading in Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" that Shepard could readily call on for company any number of women whose phone numbers he had jotted down in his Little Black Book. Those comforts were probably very welcoming for men whose lives were always at risk.

I've always wondered why no-one, not even Wolfe, decided to write a similar New Journalism (or gonzo) account of the Apollo program - if there is/are, I'd be interested to know.

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