Bill Dana was not only a test pilot but an aeronautical engineer and an astronaut to boot. X-15 test pilot Bill Dana was one of those wonderful personalities who began their careers at NASA way back in the late 50s. In fact, he was the first of the batch of technorati at NASA.
The very day when NASA was founded, Bill joined its staff roster. This remarkable man got to fly and maneuver some of the most sophisticate aircraft and space vehicles from fighter jets all the way to the Space Shuttle. It all ended with a brief stint on the Space Station. He took a long hiatus off from work at NASA in 1998.
Bill Dana had served NASA for a total time period of 40 years. He breathed his last on May 6th, 2014 at the age of 83. Until his death, Bill had still acted as a contractor for NASA.
He chose to work without a salary after retirement. Such was his level of commitment and selfless attitude. He had a career record of flying over five dozen aircrafts of various sorts. And he spent over 8000 hours in the sky travelling on missions.
He was especially known for being an X-15 test pilot. He spent almost half a decade in the Air Force before being culled by NASA. The man was a virtual genius in matters of operating different aircraft. He manned fighter jets such as the F-14, F-15, F-16 and YF-17.
He trained Armstrong along with the rest of the space team in 1986. Bill was awarded several accolades and medals for his services. He will be long remembered for his professionalism and dedication to the spirit of aeronautics and space exploration. May his soul prosper in the Hereafter.