Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Dave Seeman graduated from Jamaica High School in June 1945 and went to work with American Airlines as a junior mechanic at LaGuardia Field. He entered the wartime Navy V-5 program and attended Adelphi University in 1946,reporting to NAS Pensacola in 1948. Designated Naval Aviator (Aviation Midshipman) in 1949. He saw Fleet service in VF-14 and VF-173 from 1949 until 1953 flying F6F,F4U-4& -5,F9F-6 and SNB aircraft. He became a Navy acceptance pilot and assistant engineering officer attached to the Bureau of Aeronautics office at Grumman,Bethpage 1953 through 1954 flying AF,F9F,S2F and UF aircraft. CIC School and Commissioning crew of USS Forrestal through Nov 1955.
He joined Grumman as an engineering test pilot in November 1955. He graduated from Naval Test Pilot School (Class 17) in Jan 1957. He flew build-up and contractor's spin demo of the long nosed F11F-1 at Bethpage,Edwards and Patuxent River 1957/8. The program consisted of over 600 spin entries in 5 different stores configurations and included tactical entry profiles.
Concurrent with work on other Grumman programs, he was one of the three prime pilots assigned to assist in design studies for the development of the W2F-1 (E-2A) in 1958. After the first flight of the design in October 1960, he became the third pilot flying program and initially concentrated on the stability and control and performance aspects of the test work. This included considerable stall investigation to try to improve less than desirable stall characteristics. During the course of the E-21/C-2A programs he flew the formal contractor's structural build u-ups and demonstrations of both aircraft (flown solo). He was P1C for the first flights of the C-2A (1964) and the re-procured C-2A (1985).
His other work during his 33+ years of flying at Grumman included envelope expansion and structural demonstrations of the TC-4C, OV-1D and RV-1D. He flew as P1C for the first flight of the TC-4C and carrier suitability structural programs to end points on the E-2A/C, WF-2 (E-1) and C-2A aircraft. Assigned as project pilot for the first manned nose tow catapult work using a non flyable AJ-1 test bed on the H-8 and TC-7 sites at Patuxent in preparation for W2F and A2F designs. He was designated Senior Engineering project pilot for the E-2C,C-2AOV-1D and TC-4C aircraft. He worked as an engineering pilot for stability and control, performance and systems development for the F9F series, F11F-1, A-6A,E-1,S2F and the OV series aircraft. He also assisted the FAA certification of the G-111 (HU-16B).
He has held collateral responsibilities a TC-4C and OV-1D Test Manager and Flight Test Manager of the Grumman Stuart Facility. While there he doubled as the on-site program manager for the modification of the 46 A6-A aircraft into KA-6D tankers. From 1972 through 1975 he served as on-site Grumman Flight Test Manager for the Board of Inspection and Service Trials of the F-14,E-2C and the EA-6B at the Naval Air Test Center at Pax River. He returned to Bethpage in 1975 as the Senior E-2C/C-2A project pilot and conducted flight operations, planning and training for all FMS programs (Israel,Japan, Singapore,Egypt and the French Air Force effort). Additionally he conducted development and production flights of the re-procured C-2A and the initial flight of the Allison T-56-427 engine installation in the E-2C.
Dave Seeman retired in February 1989 to Patuxent River with 33years at Grumman in flight status and with 9600hours of flight time (4000 of which in the E-2/C-2 aircraft designs). He has been P1C in 52 aircraft types and has completed 251 carrier landings.