Friday, September 16, 2005

Thomas C. McMurtry 1935-2015

Thomas McMurtry joined NASA as a research test pilot in 1967. The first project he was assigned to as the project pilot was the F-8 Supercritical Wing project. He piloted its first flight on March 9, 1971 and that of the AD-1 on December 21, 1979. He was project pilot on the F-8 Supercritical Wing Airplane and the AD-1. He was co-project pilot on the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire Airplane, the 747 Shuttle Carrier Airplane and performed digital electronic F-15 engine efficiency control tests. On November 26, 1975, the X-24B dropped from the sky for the last time, piloted on its 36th flight by McMurtry.
He co-piloted the 747 Carrier Aircraft as it transported the Shuttle Enterprise to its first launch on August 12, 1977. McMurtry logged over 11,000 hours of flying time since earning his pilot's wings in 1958. A graduate of the United States Naval Test Pilot School, he has flown many aircraft including the U-2, X-24B, F-8A, AD-1, YF-12C, F-104, F-15 and NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. McMurtry became chief research test pilot and then Chief of the Research Aircraft Division for the NASA Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility. He eventually rose to be the Director for Flight Operations at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
McMurtry has been honored with the Society of Experimental Test Pilots' Iven C. Kincheloe Award for his work with the AD-1 Oblique Wing Airplane Program in 1982 and received Presidential recognition with the rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service. He was also awarded three NASA Exceptional Service Medals and the Aerospace Walk of Honor.