In Memoriam

Mr. Johnny Armstrong

2005 SFTE “Kelly” Johnson Award Winner

Mr. Armstrong tested crucial hypersonic and space vehicles throughout his 48-year career. A gifted flight test engineer, he planned and executed critical missions for the X-15 and several lifting body programs including the X-24A/B, M2-F3 and HL-10. The results from these efforts fed directly into the Space Shuttle’s design and concept of operations. He was handpicked by the AFFTC Commander as the Air Force lead for the Space Shuttle’s re-entry landing test program as well as the National Aerospace Plane program verifying crucial vehicle performance parameters. Recognized as having a strong foundation and leadership that contributed greatly to probability of success of experimental programs, Mr. Armstrong became a key player in numerous advanced technology demonstration efforts that included the X-33, X-34, X-37, X-38, X-40 and X-43 projects. 

Dr. Panagiotis Kefalas


SFTE Member and 2000 Empire TPS FTE graduate Dr. Panagiotis Kefalas was retrieved from the Gulf of Patras, Greece, on 19 January after ditching his airplane. The recently-retired Colonel from the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) and only one of two TPS FTE graduates from the HAF, was a Research Associate at the University of Patras, while the Sonerai airplane he was flying was also used as a test bed for various small research projects. In the photo below he is wearing his SFTE patch on his right arm. He was 47 years old and is survived by his wife and two children. Provided by Dr. Panos Vitsas