Joseph 'Joe' Sweeney 1952-
Joe Sweeney has been employed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (formerly General Dynamics, Fort Worth Division) since February 1985. He presently serves as the Director of Flight Operations and as a senior experimental test pilot. He has accumulated over 4700 hours of flight time in jet, propeller and rotary wing type aircraft in 30 years of flying.
Joe received a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974 and an MS degree in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 1975. He received his designation as a Naval Aviator in August 1976 and flew the A-7E operationally from 1976 to 1980 with Attack Squadron 37 (VA-37), accumulating more than 1000 hours and over 300 carrier landings in that airplane. He was then ordered to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Five (VX-5) at China Lake, California where he was assigned as the Operational Test Director for the new F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. He directed the Navy's Operational Evaluation of the F/A-18 in 1982.
Upon leaving the Navy in July 1983, Joe was employed by Calspan's Flight Research Department in Buffalo, NY as an Engineering Test Pilot/Project Engineer. He participated in a wide variety of flight control system and handling qualities research and flight test programs, including the LAVI and X-29 inflight simulations, the space shuttle control law update, and the initial project engineering for the VISTA research airplane. He also served as an academic and flight instructor for stability and control, flying qualities and flight control systems at both the US Navy and US Air Force Test Pilot Schools.
Since coming to Lockheed Martin, Joe has test flown nearly every version of the F-16. He was the project pilot for incorporation of the Digital Flight Control System, for the F-16 Multi-Axis Thrust Vectoring demonstrator aircraft, for the F-16ES Conformal Fuel Tank demonstration, and for the F-16 Divertless Supersonic Inlet demonstration. He worked as the lead project pilot and was designated to be the first flight pilot for the A-12 program. Joe was assigned as the Manager of Flight Operations at Fort Worth in July 1991. He has been the project pilot for the X-35C Navy variant demonstrator for the JSF program since 1995. He flew the first flight on the X-35C on December 16, 2000. He was assigned as the Director of Flight Operations for LM Aero in January 2001. Also in 2001 he was elected a Fellow in The Society of Experimental Test Pilots.