“Everyone knows that Neil Armstrong, who died on 25 August 2012 aged 82, was the first man to step on the moon. What is probably less well known is that in 1971 he visited the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Bedford, at that time the UK’s premier flight testing and wind tunnel research centre, while on a goodwill visit to Britain.
The Establishment at Thurleigh was conducting experimental flying and other research as part of the Concorde development programme. As an experienced test pilot, Armstrong readily accepted the invitation to fly something unusual, one of RAE’s unique research aircraft, the Handley Page HP115. This was used to investigate the low-speed flying qualities of highly-swept “slender delta” wings suitable for Concorde…
The HP115’s first flight took place at Thurleigh on 17 Aug 1961..8 years before Concorde, which had its first flight in the same year, 1969, as Armstrong landed on the moon.
As his introduction to flying the single-seat HP115 aircraft at Bedford on 24 June 1971, Armstrong was briefed by RAE test pilot Ron Ledwidge (who died in 2003) and then, in effect, was handed the keys and
told to go. That’s what test pilots do. He came back safely, all smiles after a brief flight. The HP115 is now at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton” (via)