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

NASA launches RapidScat wind watcher to Space Station

10 hours ago

A new NASA mission that will boost global monitoring of ocean winds for improved weather forecasting and climate studies is among about 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of NASA science investigations and cargo ...

User comments : 0