Michael J. Adams, US Air Force. X-15 Pilot No. 12.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Adams stands in front of an X-15 in the Flight Research Center hangar.

courtesy North American Aviation

Then Govenor Ronald Reagan with B.G. Simms at Simms Hardware.

courtesy Lance Simms collection

Mike's first job was at Simms Hardware in Sacramento.

courtesy Lance Simms collection

Mike with his best friend, Charles Gerdel, on one of their numerous hunting trips.

courtesy Charles Gerdel collection

Mike and Freida Adams on their wedding day: January 1955.

courtesy Freida Adams collection

Mike hanging out with his children: Brent, Liese, and Michael Jr.

courtesy Freida Adams collection

Adams (front row, 2nd from left) with his fellow classmates at the Aerospace Reseach Pilot School. Directly behind Mike is Dave Scott.

courtesy Colin Burgess collection

Inside the cockpit of X-15 No. 3: 1 Jul. 1966.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

After suiting up, Adams walks across the tarmac to the X-15: 1-69-116 on 6 Oct. 1966.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Adams prepares for his first flight: 1-69-116 on 6 Oct. 1966.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

X-15 No. 1 with Adams in the cockpit, ready for taxi on his first flight.

courtesy author's collection

Detail showing the X-15 flight markings on the side of the fuselage of B-52 No. 003.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

X-15 No. 3 prepares for drop from B-52 No. 008. Note the T-38 Talon chase plane.

courtesy NASA Headquarters

An X-15 comes in for a perfect touchdown.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Adams meets with ground personnel soon after landing.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Post-flight on Rogers Dry Lake.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Frame from X-15 No. 1 bug-eye camera prior to flight: 1-70-119 on 22 Mar. 1967.

courtesy Air Force Flight Test Center Museum

X-15 flight plotting board at the Beatty High Range site.

courtesy TD Barnes collection

Radar control equipment at the Beatty High Range site.

courtesy TD Barnes collection

Inside the Beatty control room during flight.

courtesy TD Barnes collection

X-15 No. 3, with US Air Force pilot Michael J. Adams at the controls, spins out of control over the California desert: 3-65-97 on 15 Nov. 1967.

computer art courtesy Thommy Eriksson

Firefighters check the still smouldering wreckage: 3-65-97 on 15 Nov. 1967.

courtesy NASA Headquarters

Investigators start their examination into the cause of the tragic accident.

courtesy author's collection

The cockpit canopy of X-15 No. 3 was found relatively quickly after the accident.

courtesy author's collection

View of the forward fuselage of X-15 No. 3. Note the nose wheel well and Q-ball.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Cockpit of X-15 No. 3 after the accident.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Aerial view of forward fuselage.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Milt Thompson (second from left) at the crash site of X-15 No. 3.

courtesy NASA Headquarters

View of the rear fuselage of X-15 No. 3.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Reconstruction of X-15 No. 3 in Building 4820 at Edwards AFB: 22 Nov. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

A model was used to create a stop-motion film of the flight events: 22 Dec. 1967.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Mike Adams.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center

Adams' sense of humor is evident when he went out on the wet lakebed at Edwards to comment about flying conditions.

courtesy Armstrong Flight Research Center