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William G. “Bill” Dana

  • Graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned in the United States Air Force in 1952.
  • Named project pilot of NASA’s  F-100C in 1957 and the L-19 aircraft in 1963.
  • Appointed a NASA project pilot of the X-15 rocket research airplane in 1965. He flew the X-15 sixteen times, attaining a speed of Mach 5.5 (3897 miles per hour) and an altitude of 307,000 feet. In October, 1968, Dana flew the 199th and final flight of the program.
  • Served as research pilot on several lifting body aircraft including the HL-10, flying it multiple times and setting the lifting body altitude record of 90,300 feet.
  • Demonstrated the feasibility of night low lift-to-drag ratio landings later used by NASA to develop night landing techniques for the Space Shuttle.
  • Returned to Dryden Flight Research Center in 1975  where he served as a project pilot, Chief Pilot, and Chief Engineer until 1991.
  • On August 23, 2005, NASA officially conferred on Dana his Astronaut Wings.

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