Armstrong and the Arrowhead

Less than two years after his “one small step”, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong made another trip into the unknown — at the controls of the unique Handley Page HP115 delta research aircraft

Project pilot Flt Lt Ron Ledwidge (right) briefs Neil Armstrong before his flight in the HP115 from RAE Bedford on 22 June 1971.

Having of a million travelled miles a quarter to become the first human to set foot upon another celestial body, Neil Armstrong became a global hero. Back on earth, he was given the position of deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA headquarters in Washington DC. It was in this capacity that Armstrong led a small delegation to discuss matters of mutual interest with the Royal Aircraft Establishment in June 1971. Part of the schedule involved a tour of the RAE’s facilities at Bedford, but news of Armstrong’s presence was kept secret and the local press were not informed until he’d left the area.

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