Wednesday, September 07, 2005

William 'Bill' H. Dana 1930 -2014

William H. Dana piloted the famed X-15 research airplane. He flew the rocket-powered aircraft 16 times, reaching top speed of 3,897 mils per hour and a pick altitude of 307,000 ft. (over 58 miles).
Dana served as a pilot in the manned lifting body flight test program. The wingless lifting bodies were prototype lifting entry spacecraft shapes which competed to be the configuration of the Space Shuttle. Dana flew the M2-F3, HL-10 and X-24B wingless lifting bodies a total of 30 flights.
In 1976, he received the Haley Space Flight Award for his contributions to the design and testing of the flight control system in the M2-F3.
Dana became a Research Pilot for NASA in 1959. He served as project pilot on the F-15 HIDEC Program and the Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology research program. He was co-project pilot for the F-18 Hornet High Angle of Attack Research Program. Dana also took part in the Advanced Fighter Technology Integration program (AFTI-F16).
Dana became NASA's Chief Test Pilot in 1986. He was promoted to Assistant Chief of the Flight Operations Division at the Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility in 1992.
Born in Pasadena, California, in 1930, Dana received his B.S. degree from the United States Military Academy and an M.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California.
Dana is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and has been honored by NASA's Exceptional Service Medal and the Aerospace Walk of Honor (1993).