The sights, sounds and smells of a high performance flying machine just felt right to Alan. He enjoyed being catapulted off of--and then landing on--aircraft carriers, formation flying, bombing, gunnery, all of it. Alan loved everything about being a naval aviator.
After his tour-of-duty, Alan went to the Navy Test Pilot School where his intructor was Pete Conrad, who would later become the Commander of the Apollo 12 mission and Alan's fellow moonwalker.
Alan Bean was a test pilot when John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. To Alan, flying a spacecraft at 25,000 miles-per-hour at an altitude of 100 miles was vastly more appealing than flying an airplane at 600 miles-per-hour at an altitude of 5 miles above the Earth.
Alan set his sights higher.
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