Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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Standing in front of the AD-1 Oblique Wing research aircraft is research pilot Richard E. Gray.Richard E. Gray joined National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, in November 1978, as an aerospace research pilot. In November 1981, Dick joined the NASA's Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, California, as a research pilot.Dick was a former Co-op at the NASA Flight Research Center (a previous name of the Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility), serving as an Operations Engineer.At Ames-Dryden, Dick was a pilot for the F-14 Aileron Rudder Interconnect Program, AD-1 Oblique Wing Research Aircraft, F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire and Pilot Induced Oscillations investigations. He also flew the F-104, T-37, and the F-15. On November 8, 1982, Gray was fatally injured in a T-37 jet aircraft while making a pilot proficiency flight.Dick graduated with a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering from San Jose State University in 1969. He joined the U.S. Navy in July 1969, becoming a Naval Aviator in January 1971, when he was assigned to F-4 Phantoms at Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar, California. In 1972, he flew 48 combat missions in Vietnam in F-4s with VF-111 aboard the USS Coral Sea. After making a second cruise in 1973, Dick was assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Four (VX-4) at NAS Point Mugu, California, as a project pilot on various operational test and evaluation programs. In November 1978, Dick retired from the Navy and joined NASA's Johnson Space Center. At JSC Gray served as chief project pilot on the WB-57F high-altitude research projects and as the prime television chase pilot in a T-38 for the landing portion of the Space Shuttle orbital flight tests.Dick had over 3,000 hours in more than 30 types of aircraft, an airline transport rating, and 252 carrier arrested landings. He was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots serving on the Board of Directors as Southwest Section Technical Adviser in 1981/1982.Richard E. Gray was born March 11, 1945 in Newport News, Virginia; he died on November 8, 1982 at Edwards, California, in a T-37 spin accident.