Major Robert White flew his X-15 rocket plane (above) at a world record speed
of 4,093 mph. The flight made him the first pilot to fly a winged craft at six times
the speed of sound (Mach 6). President John F. Kennedy used the occasion to
confer the most prestigious award in American aviation, the Robert J. Collier
Trophy, jointly to White and three of his fellow X-15 pilots; NASA’s Joseph
Walker, CDR Forrest S. Peterson of the United States Navy, and North
American Aviation test pilot Scott Crossfield.