Adams, Michael James, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
2865-Experimental Test Pilot
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1966-1967, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Service Years
1950 - 1967
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Stephen Willcox-Deceased to remember Adams, Michael James, Maj.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Johannesburg, CA

Date of Passing
Nov 15, 1967
Location of Interment
Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery - Monroe, Louisiana
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
In the Line of Duty
  2014, In the Line of Duty

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
"The tragic accident that took Mike Adams life occurred on November 15, 1967, during the 191st flight of the X-15 program. It was the first suborbital mission for Adams, who already had completed six atmospheric flights in the famed rocket plane. Adams was flying the third of three X-15s build by North American Aviation in Inglewood. It was the same airplane in which eight of the twelve X-15 project pilots earned their astronaut qualifications. Adams' accident was the only fatal mishap during the decade-long program."  Source:

Major Adams "seventh X-15 flight, flight 3-65-97, took place on 15 November 1967. He reached the peak altitude of 266,000 feet; the nose of the aircraft was off heading by 15 degrees to the right. While descending, at 230,000 feet the aircraft encountered rapidly increasing aerodynamic pressure which impinged on the airframe, causing the X-15 to enter a violent Mach 5 spin. As the X-15 neared 65,000 feet, it was diving a Mach 3.93 and experiencing more that 15-g vertically (positve and negative), and 8-g laterally, which inevitably exceeded the design limits of the aircraft. The aircraft broke up 10 minutes and 35 seconds after launch, killing Adams. The United States Air Force posthumously awarded him the Purple Heart and astronaut wings for his last flight." Source:

Other Comments:
Michael James Adams entered the Air Force in 1950 after graduation from Sacramento Junior College with an AA Degree in Forestry. After Basic Training a Lackland AFB, he served with the 3501st Pilot Training program as a Link Training instructor until he was selected as an Aviation Cadet. He received his primary training at Spence Field, Georgia and advanced training at Webb Air Force Base in Texas. After returning from Korea in 1954 he spent 2 or so years in England and on a rotational basis at Chaumont Air Base in France. After returning to the U.S. he earned an aeronautical engineering degree in 1958 and did graduate work at MIT. After a stint as a Maintenance Officer at Chanute AFB,  he "was selected in 1962 for the Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Here, he won the Honts Trophy as the best scholar and pilot in his class. Adams subsequently attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS), graduating with honors in December 1963. He was one of four Edwards aerospace research pilots to participate in a five-month series of NASA moon landing practice tests at the Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland. In November, 1965 he was selected to be an astronaut in the United States Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. In July 1966, Major Adams came to the North American X-15 program, a joint USAF/NASA project. He made his first X-15 flight on 6 October 1966 in the number one aircraft." Source:

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Astronaut (Command)

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1950, Basic Military Training (Lackland AFB, TX)
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
3501st Pilot Training Squadron (Cadre)Aviation Cadet Flight SchoolAir Training Command80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
Fighter-Bomber UnitsAir Force Test Pilot SchoolSchool AssignmentsAir Force Space Command (AFSPC), United States Space Command (USSPACECOM)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  1950-1951, 3501st Pilot Training Squadron (Cadre)
  1952-1952, Aviation Cadet Flight School
  1952-1953, Air Training Command
  1953-1954, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
  1953-1954, 618th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
  1954-1955, 813th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
  1955-1956, 813th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
  1962-1962, Air Force Test Pilot School
  1963-1963, Aerospace Research Pilot School (Staff)
  1965-1965, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), United States Space Command (USSPACECOM)
  1966-1967, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1952-1953 Korean War/Third Korean Winter (1952-53)
 Colleges Attended 
University of OklahomaMassachusetts Institute of Technology
  1948-1950, Others/Not Listed
  1956-1958, University of Oklahoma
  1958-1959, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-80/P-80 Shooting Star  F-86 Sabre  F-104 Starfighter  F-5 Tiger II  
T-33 Shooting Star (T-Bird)  X-15 (Rocket Powered)  
  1952-1954, F-80/P-80 Shooting Star
  1952-1954, F-86 Sabre
  1963-1963, F-104 Starfighter
  1964-1964, F-5 Tiger II
  1964-1964, T-33 Shooting Star (T-Bird)
  1966-1967, X-15 (Rocket Powered)
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