STEVEN A. HAZELRIGG, CAPT, USN
Steven Hazelrigg '70
Date of birth: February 20, 1948
Date of death: August 15, 1990
From the 1970 Lucky Bag:
Steve was piloting an A-6E Intruder on August 15, 1990 when the aircraft suffered a catastrophic failure of the longitudinal flight control system during a test flight. He was the Chief Test Pilot of the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron at the time of the crash. His co-pilot ejected and survived despite being severely injured.
From the Class of 1970 40th Reunion Book:
Steve’s goal throughout his time at the Naval Academy was to be a Navy carrier pilot. His mastery of A-6 tactics and shipboard operations was legendary and led to his selection for Navy Test Pilot School from which he graduated in 1976. In recognition of his skills as a test pilot, Steve, or “Axel” as he was known, was chosen to perform high-risk testing of shipboard takeoff techniques using a new “ski jump” design, a forerunner to ramp launches currently in use by the Royal Navy. Steve continued his career with several deployments in the A-6 and assumed command of VA-145 in 1987. During this very successful tour he became a member of the highly select “Grand Club,” having achieved 1000 carrier landings.
After his command tour, Steve returned to Pax River as Chief Test Pilot for Strike Aircraft test directorate. Tragically, Steve lost his life performing high-risk weapons carriage flight testing in an A-6. During a test maneuver which called for rapid control inputs at maximum speed, his aircraft suffered a severe mechanical malfunction from which he was not able to recover.
In a tribute to Steve’s outstanding contribution to Naval aviation and flight test, a major new test facility was named in his honor: The Captain Steven A. Hazelrigg Flight Test Facility. Additionally, the Steven A. Hazelrigg Memorial Award is presented during each Strike test squadron commander’s tour to “those whose qualities of professionalism, leadership and team spirit best commemorate the levels of positive leadership, professional achievement and selfless devotion to duty, which Capt Hazelrigg possessed.”
He is survived by two lovely daughters, Cecily and Stephanie.
From the October 1990 issue of Shipmate:
Capt. Steven A. Hazeigg USN, Chief Test Pilot for the Naval Air Test Center, died 15 August 1990 in an aircraft accident during a routine training flight from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
A native of the Lone Star State, Capt. Hazelrigg graduated from the Naval Academy in 1970 and received the Bachelor's in Chemistry. He was Company Commander for the 13th Company.
Capt. Hazelrigg's distinguished aviation career began with his designation as a Naval Aviator in 1972. After an initial tour as an Advanced Training Command Instructor, he transitioned to the A-6 and, in 1974, was selected Intruder Pilot of the Year. He then served with VA-145 and in VA-128 before entering the Naval Test Pilot School in 1978.
Graduating from the Test Pilot School in 1979, he became the Carrier Suitability and Ordnance Separation Test Pilot for the Naval Test Center where he conducted the first conventional jet ski-jump takeoff and piloted the longest refueled flight in an A-6 series aircraft. He also eamed a Master's in Human Resources Management during his Pataxent River tour.
Returning to the A-6 community 1982, Capt. Hazelrigg began at VA-95 as a Department Head for Operations, Safety and Maintenance. In 1984 he became Executive Officer of VA-128. After a brief tour as Wing Manpower Officer, he became Executive Officer and later Commanding Officer of VA-145. During his tenure at VA-145 he guided the introduction of the first A-6E aircraft into the Pacific Fleet.
Completion of his command tour was followed by training at the Defense System Management College. His last assignment brought him back to the Naval Air Test Center as the Chief Text Pilot for the Strike Aircraft Directorate where he flew A-6 and F-14 aircraft and supervised flight testing of all Navy tactical jet aircraft.
Capt. Hazelrigg had accumulated over 5000 flight hours and 1100 carrier landings in 25 different aircraft. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal.
He is survived by his two daughters Cecily and Stephany, his mother, Germaine Hazelrigg, his father, Rudolph Koch, and a brother Rudolph Koch, an Air Force Master Sergeant.
An A-6 Intruder bears Steve's name; as of 2006 it was parked outside of Hazelrigg Hangar (Bldg 2133) on the south side of Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
The Captain Steven A. Hazelrigg Memorial Award is given to those whose qualities of professionalism, leadership and team spirit best commemorate the levels of positive leadership, professional achievement and selfless devotion to duty, which Captain Hazelrigg possessed. The officer/engineer team spirit that underlies the many successes of the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron was fueled by the warm, charismatic personality of Captain Hazelrigg. This award is to recognize the officer and engineer team that demonstrates the qualities of Captain Hazelrigg during each tenure of the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Three (VX-23) commanding officer.