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  Photo of the week 412 (September 15, 2012)

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Author Topic:   Photo of the week 412 (September 15, 2012)
heng44
Member

Posts: 2564
From: Netherlands
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 09-15-2012 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Lifting body pilot Bill Dana discusses the flight program of the M2-F3 (seen in background) at the NASA Flight Research Center with Neil Armstrong,who was the NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics at the time. The photo was taken in January 1970. Both men flew the X-15 at FRC during the 1960s.

Ed Hengeveld

Apollo Redux
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Posts: 346
From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Registered: Sep 2006

posted 09-17-2012 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo Redux   Click Here to Email Apollo Redux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting it.

Philip
Member

Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 09-18-2012 06:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like the Northrop Lifting body aircraft that was shown in the opening credits of the "Six Million Dollar Man" TV-show.

328KF
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Posts: 829
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 09-18-2012 07:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is, in fact, the M2-F3 lifting body. It is the same test aircraft that was piloted by Bruce Petersen in the film sequence that was used in the TV series intro.

Prior to the crash, the third vertical fin that you can see behind Neil's head had not yet been installed. Then known as the M2-F2, the aircraft had some poor stability characteristics which could lead to pilot-induced occillations. These handling issues led to the incident that badly damaged the vehicle and severely injured the test pilot.

Bill Dana was involved in the lifting body test series, but the program was being flown after Neil had already tranferred to the manned space program. This aircraft now hangs in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

albatron
Member

Posts: 2103
From: Stuart, Florida, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 09-18-2012 08:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In test flight circles, Bill Dana is certainly one of the most under sung and under appreciated test pilots, but certainly not amongst his peers.

A photo pairing him with Neil is certainly well done - thanks Ed.

Not only a prolific test pilot for the X-15 and Lifting Bodies, he has flown nearly everything else in the NASA inventory.

If anyone wants to hear a funny story about Bill and his humility contact me off list. I've shared it a zillion times and don't want to bore folks with it here.

Aztecdoug
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Posts: 1330
From: Huntington Beach
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 09-18-2012 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by albatron:
If anyone wants to hear a funny story about Bill and his humility contact me off list. I've shared it a zillion times and don't want to bore folks with it here.

Never boring.

Jurg Bolli
Member

Posts: 520
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 09-19-2012 08:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, let's hear it.

mikepf
Member

Posts: 351
From: San Jose, California, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 09-19-2012 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Me too...I'm in. Lets hear the story.

drjeffbang
Member

Posts: 103
From: Virginia
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 09-19-2012 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Me three. These aircraft are so interesting.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 09-19-2012 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al, please DO tell!

albatron
Member

Posts: 2103
From: Stuart, Florida, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 09-19-2012 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK if you insist:

In 1999 I took my soon to be 18 year old son to Edwards (actually Lancaster) for the Gathering of Eagles by the flight Test Historical Foundation.

The day after the event where I met Bill in person, my son and I went to Dryden. As we were walking around the X-15 (replica) on display, there was this obnoxious guy and his wife by the X-15. He was regaling his bored wife with "facts" about the X-15 (that were soooo far off base).

Well here comes Bill back from the Commissary with some box lunches for he and the girls in the Public Affairs Office where he was doing some research.

The guy flags him down and starts in "fella fella can you take our picture by the airplane". Bill and I were talking then, and he asks me to hold the lunches while he accommodates the guy. As he hands the camera back, he asks Bill if he knew anything about the X-15. Bill says why yes, I know some.

The guy begins to lecture Bill and tells him as a NASA employee he should know ALL about the aircraft, and how it flew into space, was capable of going into orbit (it wasnt) and all these other ridiculous facts.

Bill just smiled and thanked the man for the lesson. He takes the box lunches back, winks at us, shakes our hands and walks back in.

The guy turned to me and said "your friend sure doesn't know much". I said well do you know who "my friend" was? The guy says no.

I says well "my friend" was one of the 12 people who actually flew it, so I think he knows more about it than you do.

He was rather embarrassed to say the least.

Jurg Bolli
Member

Posts: 520
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 09-20-2012 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for this story.

astroborg
Member

Posts: 170
From: Woodbridge, VA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 09-20-2012 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astroborg   Click Here to Email astroborg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is classic!

Thanks for letting us in on the story!

bwhite1976
Member

Posts: 145
From: belleville, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 09-20-2012 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great story. How big of an expert could he have been if he couldn't recognize the flight legend himself? Everytime I go to a museum I cringe at the other people explaining spacecraft ect. My ultimate would be Gemini 3 being described as Grissom's Mercury capsule.

Dana is a man of real class.

All times are CT (US)

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