Local Aviation Photographer And Author Calls Armstrong A Remarkable Man

Aug 27, 2012

Neil Armstrong is being remembered as a national hero, and another Ohioan who was an aviation pioneer. WYSO's Emily McCord reports, that even though he made history, he is also being remembered as a humble man.

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta. As a young man, he became a pilot and studied engineering at Purdue University. He flew in the Navy during the Korean War. Armstrong made two trips to space, the second time, of course, he was the first man to land on the moon. But aviation photographer and author Dan Patterson says, that's something he never bragged about.

"We lost somebody on the same level as Magellan or Columbus. Somebody who does something remarkable. But he would be the first to say he was the guy got the job and the thousands and tens of thousands people who work for NASA got him there. He was the one to step out the door," says Patterson.

Patterson says Armstrong was considered by his peers the best pilot with a cool head. He says that was proven especially when he landed on the moon.

"The alarm bells were going off. The fuel gauge was running out and the on-board computer was leading them towards a landing site filled with boulders and he took over control and he flew that thing by hand," says Patterson. "A couple years ago, he spoke at the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He said 'yeah, it was pretty tight, but like any good Ohio farm boy knows even when the needle says empty there's a few gallons left in the tank.'"

A private ceremony for Neil Armstrong will take place in Cincinnati on Friday. He was 82 years old.