Lt. Col. David L. "Dave" Ferguson 1938-2011
F117A In flight, signed by Bandit 105,Dave Ferguson
Maiden Flight of the Lockheed YF-22A
Dave Ferguson is best known for piloting the first flight and initial airworthiness demonstration of the YF-22A on September 29, 1990 in his role as Chief Test Pilot for Lockheed's YF-22A Advanced Tactical Fighter Program.
He joined Lockheed in 1979 to begin working on the F-117A in its infancy. He was the second company pilot to fly the F-117A, the nation's first operational stealth aircraft. He flew the performance and flying qualities, structural demonstration, high angle of attack and weapons separation tests in the F-117A. By 1986, he had flown 500 flights in the aircraft. He was promoted to the position of Director of Flight Operations for the Lockheed Skunk Works in July 1991.
Ferguson has flown over 6,500 hours in 60 different aircraft including the F-105, F-102, F-4, F-117A, YF-22A, U-2, F-15, F-16 and F-111. He flew many of the nation's most advanced fighter aircraft for the Air Force, including several that remain classified. He was a 1972 graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School. A decorated veteran, he flew two tours in Vietnam, the first in the F-105 as a strike pilot and the second in the F-105 Wild Weasel.
A past president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Ferguson has been honored with the Society's Iven C. Kincheloe Award twice, once for flight test of the F-117A in 1983 and again for testing the YF-22A in 1991. He has received the Legion of Merit twice for his work on classified programs and has been honored with two Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight Air Medals and the Aerospace Walk of Honor.