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NASA Dryden Biographies, Former Pilots: Kelly J. Latimer
May 8, 2014

Kelly J. Latimer
Kelly J. Latimer

Kelly Latimer served as a research pilot at NASA's Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, from March through November 2007. Latimer flew the T-38, T-34, C-17, 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) 747SP. Latimer was Dryden's first female research test pilot.

Prior to joining NASA, Latimer was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force. She has accumulated more than 5,000 hours of military and civilian flight experience in 30 aircraft.

Latimer's first association with NASA was while attending graduate school at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Her studies included work with the Joint Institute for the Advancement of Flight Sciences at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.

She flew an Air Force C-17 during a 2005 NASA study to reduce aircraft noise. A team of California Polytechnic State University students and Northrop Grumman personnel were stationed on Rogers Dry Lake located at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, to record the noise footprint of the aircraft as it made various landing approaches to Edwards' runway.

Latimer completed undergraduate pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, TX, in 1990. She remained at Reese as a T-38 instructor pilot until 1993. She was assigned as a C-141 aircraft commander at McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma, WA, until 1996.

Latimer graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards in Class 96B. She served as a C-17 and C-141 experimental test pilot at Edwards until 2000. She then became the chief of the Performance Branch and a T-38 instructor pilot at The Air Force Test Pilot School.

She returned to McChord in 2002, where she was a C-17 aircraft commander and the operations officer for the 62nd Operations Support Squadron. In 2004, Latimer became the commander of Edwards' 418th Flight Test Squadron and director of the Global Reach Combined Test Force. Following that assignment, she deployed to Iraq as an advisor to the Iraqi Air Force. Her last active duty tour was as an instructor at the Air Force Test Pilot School. She retired from active duty in 2007 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

She received her commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in astronautical engineering. Latimer earned a Master of Science in astronautics from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. After leaving NASA in late 2007, Latimer joined The Boeing Company, where she was involved in several programs, including developmental flight testing of the Boeing 767-2C / KC-46 aerial tanker.

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Page Last Updated: May 8th, 2014
Page Editor: Yvonne Gibbs