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.