Born in Sacramento, California; married with three children. Joined USAF in November 1952 and flew 49 missions in the Korean War. Graduated with BS in aeronautical engineering from Oklahoma University in 1958 and then completed USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School . Tested LLRV lunar module trainer in 1964. Selected as MOL astronaut, but left MOL program for X-15, taking Joe Engle's place when he was selected as NASA astronaut in 1966. Died in X-15 crash when spacecraft went out of control during reentry. Erroneous computer data and failure of dampers caused the X-15 to re-enter the atmosphere 180 degrees out of phase. Major Adams chose to remain with the aircraft in an attempt to recover it.
Maximum Speed - 4666 kph. Maximum Altitude - 22980 m. Engine shut down at 90 seconds.
Maximum Speed - 5020 kph. Maximum Altitude - 28040 m.
Maximum Speed - 6150 kph. Maximum Altitude - 40570 m. Inertial system failed after peak altitude; cabin pressurization lost during descent.
Maximum Speed - 5985 kph. Maximum Altitude - 50900 m.
Maximum Speed - 5802 kph. Maximum Altitude - 69890 m.
Maximum Speed - 5012 kph. Maximum Altitude - 25720 m.
Fatal accident, aircraft destroyed. After reaching peak altitude, entered spin at Mach 5. Entered dive at 30,000 m, began high frequency pitch oscillations, disintegrated when these reached 15 Gs.Maximum Speed - 5744 kph. Maximum Altitude - 81080 m.