Retired Air Force Col. Arthur “Kit” Murray, the first test pilot to venture so high as to see the Earth’s curvature, has died at age 92. A native of Cresson, Pa., Murray died July 25 in a nursing home in West Tex., according to his Los Angeles Times obituary. Credited with setting unofficial and official altitude records of more than 90,000 feet in the Bell X-1A experimental aircraft over Edwards AFB, Calif., in 1954, Murray began his 22-year military career in the Army cavalry in 1939, but transferred to the Army Air Corps in 1941 the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He flew more than 50 combat missions in World War II. After the war, he became a test pilot at Edwards. He also piloted the Bell X-1B on its first powered flight at Edwards. (Includes Edwards release and New York Times obituary)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.