X-15 rocket plane pilot Bill Dana dies at 83

May 07, 2014

Famed research test pilot Bill Dana, who flew the X-15 rocket plane and other pioneering aircraft, has died at age 83.

Word of Dana's death on Tuesday was announced by NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

Starting in the 1950s, Dana logged more than 8,000 hours in more than 60 types of aircraft ranging from helicopters and sailplanes to the hypersonic X-15, which he flew to a maximum altitude of nearly 59 miles, reaching a top speed of 3,897 mph.

He also flew NASA's so-called lifting body aircraft that led to the design of the .

Born in Pasadena, California, on Nov. 3, 1930, Dana died after a long illness at an assisted living facility in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

Explore further: California NASA center renamed for Neil Armstrong

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Solar plane sets distance record on US tour

May 23, 2013

The first manned aircraft that can fly day and night powered only by solar energy set a new distance record Thursday when it landed after the second leg of a cross-country US tour.

Recommended for you

Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

4 hours ago

This NAVCAM mosaic comprises four individual images taken on 20 November from a distance of 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/C-G. The image resolution is 2.6 m/pixel, so each original 1024 x 1024 pixel ...

DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

Nov 26, 2014

The genetic material DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into the earth's atmosphere—and still pass on genetic information. A team of scientists from UZH obtained these astonishing results ...

Team develops cognitive test battery for spaceflight

Nov 26, 2014

Space is one of the most demanding and unforgiving environments. Human exploration of space requires astronauts to maintain consistently high levels of cognitive performance to ensure mission safety and success, and prevent ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.