Alan Shepard Quotes
Rear Admiral Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. (November 18, 1923 – July 21, 1998) was an American astronaut, naval aviator, test pilot, and businessman
Read more about this author on Wikipedia
Later, in the early teens, I used to ride my bike every Saturday morning to the nearest airport, ten miles away, push airplanes in and out of the hangars, and clean up the hangars.
The first plane ride was in a homemade glider my buddy and I built. Unfortunately we didn't get more than four feet off the ground, because it crashed.
Of course, in our grade school, in those days, there were no organized sports at all. We just went out and ran around the school yard for recess.
And I think that still is true of this business - which is basically research and development - that you probably spend more time in planning and training and designing for things to go wrong, and how you cope with them, than you do for things to go right.
I didn't mind studying. Obviously math and the physical science subjects interested me more than some of the more artistic subjects, but I think I was a pretty good student.
Of course I was delighted the flight was over, but I still had to worry about cleaning up inside the cabin, I had to worry about the hatch, how to get in the sling, and so on.
Obviously I was challenged by becoming a Naval aviator, by landing aboard aircraft carriers and so on.
But when I was selected, after my very first tour of squadron duty, to become one of the youngest candidates for the test pilot school, I began to realize, maybe you are a little bit better.
Whether you are an astronomer or a life scientist, geophysicist, or a pilot, you've got to be there because you believe you are good in your field, and you can contribute, not because you are going to get a lot of fame or whatever when you get back.
We worked with the engineers in the design and construction and testing phases in those various areas, then we would get back together at the end of the week and brief each other as to what had gone on.
I think the sense of family and family achievement, plus the discipline which I received there from that one-room school were really very helpful in what I did later on.
We wanted to be in great shape, we wanted to be able to cope with zero gravity, we wanted to be able to cope with accelerations and decelerations and so on. So all of us trained so that we were probably in the best physical condition we had ever been in up until that point.