Richard E. Gray
Richard E. Gray was a research pilot at NASA's Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility - now the Armstrong Flight Research Center - at Edwards, CA, from 1981 to 1982. Among flight research projects and aircraft he flew were the F-14 Aileron Rudder Interconnect project, the AD-1 Oblique Wing research aircraft, and the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire project. He also flew the F-104, T-37, and F-15 airplanes.
Gray was fatally injured in the crash of a T-37 aircraft while on a pilot proficiency flight on Nov. 8, 1982.
Gray had been an aerospace research pilot at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, from 1978 until he transferred to Ames-Dryden.
While at Johnson, he was chief project pilot on the WB-57F high-altitude research aircraft and served as the prime chase pilot in the T-38 aircraft for video documentation of the landing portion of space shuttle orbital flight tests.
Before becoming a NASA pilot, Gray had served as a naval aviator. He joined the U.S. Navy in July 1969 and earned his wings in January 1971. He was assigned to fly F-4 Phantoms at Naval Air Station Miramar, San Diego. He flew 48 combat missions in F-4s over Vietnam while assigned to squadron VF-111 aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1972.
After a second sea deployment in 1973, Gray was assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-4 at Naval Air Station Pt. Mugu, CA, as a project pilot on various operational test and evaluation programs. He served as chief test director for the AIM-7F Sparrow missile in 1975-76 before being assigned as an F-14A project pilot on the Air Combat Evaluation/Intercept Missile Evaluation program. Gray was also the chief test director for the operational test and evaluation of the television sight unit and the dual-seat visual-target-acquisition system in the F-14A. Prior to his retirement from active military duty, he returned to Miramar as an F-14A pilot for a short tour of duty in 1978.
Supported by a scholarship from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Gray earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from San Jose State University in 1969. Gray became a member of the test pilots group in the mid-1970s and served on its board of directors as Southwest Section Technical Adviser in 1981-1982.
March 2010 Rev.