Former Air Force test pilot passes

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Air Force photograph

Col. Joseph F. Cotton stands in front of the XB-70 #1 aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Aviation legend, Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph F. Cotton has died at the age of 94 in Atherton, Calif.

Cotton began his flying career as a World War II bomber pilot and later became a test pilot working many major experimental projects. He was most noted for his work on the XB-70 Valkyrie here at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

He was awarded the Air Medal for his action during an emergency with the XB-70 when he extended the jammed nose gear by use of a paper clip. Cotton retired from the Air Force in 1968.