Hernan Posada is a research pilot in the Flight Crew Branch at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., flying both remotely piloted unmanned aircraft and several mission support aircraft. He joined NASA in October 2005.
Posada is one of several pilots who operate NASA's Ikhana (Predator B), Global Hawks and small unmanned aircraft. The Ikhana carries instruments for environmental Earth science studies, and is also used for advanced aircraft systems research and technology development. The Global Hawks are flown on environmental science missions. Both the Ikhana and the Global Hawks are flown and monitored from ground control stations. Posada also flies NASA's B-200 King Air mission support aircraft.
Posada led a team of pilots during all aspects of Ikhana development and research flight operations, including training of all NASA pilots who fly the aircraft. He determines training objectives and standards, evaluates aircrew performance and is a subject-matter expert for development of the ground station and command and control communication system used to fly the aircraft.
Posada began his employment in the aviation industry in 1989, servicing corporate and general aviation aircraft at Van Nuys Airport, Calif., and moving up to flying positions. He became a line mechanic and pilot for American Aviation at Van Nuys in 1992. In 1995, Posada began flying a fixed-wing aircraft for Jetcopters Inc., a Los Angles traffic and aerial news organization.
Posada joined General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., San Diego, in August 1996. He
piloted a number of unmanned aerial vehicles, traveling worldwide. He has more than 10 years experience flying the MQ-1 Predator A and MQ-9 Predator B aircraft, including more than 400 hours as an instructor pilot.
Posada earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering technology from Northrop University, Los Angeles. He also holds an Airframe and Powerplant certificate from Glendale College, Glendale, Calif. He has both an Airline Transport Pilot rating for multi-engine aircraft and a commercial certificate for single-engine airplanes. Posada has accumulated more than 8,500 flight hours.