Retired Maj. Gen. Hugh Boyd Manson died Oct. 4 in Los Gatos, Calif. He was 98.
Manson’s last assignment was as Air Force Flight Test Center commander here at Edwards after being appointed in January 1966. He also supervised the operation of the former Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards and the Air Force activities at the former Joint Parachute Facility at El Centro, Calif.
Combat and airlift aircraft testing during Manson’s tenure included the F-111A, a joint-service aircraft that eventually served with distinction in the Air Force after a long period of developmental test. The F-4E Phantom II also underwent test in his period and served the needs of the U.S. Air Force until replaced by the F-15 then on the drawing boards. Edwards also began to test the C-5A in 1968.
In the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance realm, the highly modified U-2R made its first flight during this timeframe, and SR-71 flight testing continued.
The ill-fated XB-70A research program was undertaken and the highly successful X-15 high-speed flight research program was also ongoing, setting many speed and altitude records.
Other research projects included the XC-142A, a large tilt-rotor aircraft to test principles of Vertical Short Takeoff and Landing, which later applied to the design of the CV-22 Osprey.
AFFTC and NASA were also testing lifting bodies like the X-24A, M2-F2, and HL-10 that contributed to the design of the Space Shuttle orbiter.
Manson retired from the USAF in 1969.
Following his military career he was Vice President of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University until his retirement.
Manson will be buried Oct. 19 at St. Andrews Cemetery in Darien, Ga., where he was born.