NASA research pilot and aerospace artist / photographer Mark Pestana has been recognized by Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine for his award-winning painting, "The Quest for Mach 10," that was published in the magazine's annual photography / art issue in late December. The painting depicts the NASA X-43 aircraft, chased by an F/A-18, after launch on its record-setting hypersonic flight to mach 9.8 in November 2004. It took first place in the space category of the magazine's annual aviation art competition selected from paintings displayed at the American Society of Aviation Artists juried exhibit.
The special issue also features Pestana's photograph of a hot air balloon, one of the participants in the July 4th celebration in Bear Valley Springs, hovering over Cub Lake in the Tehachapi Mountains. Pestana's artwork and photography have appeared as honorable mentions in previous Aviation Week photography / art issues. Several of his paintings are part of the Air Force art collection at the Pentagon, and he has also designed nine space shuttle mission patches.
A retired Air Force colonel, Pestana has been a research pilot and project manager at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for the past nine years. He pilots the B200 King Air, the T-34C and the remotely piloted "Ikhana" Predator B, and serves as co-pilot and flight test engineer on the center's F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. He has also been a flight engineer and mission manager on NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory. Pestana has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of military and civilian flight experience.
Pestana is a member of the Tehachapi Society of Pilots and recently painted a mural depicting the first airmail flight from Tehachapi in 1938.
PHOTO EDITORS: High-resolution illustrations to support this release are available electronically on the NASA Dryden web site at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/newsphotos/index.html
For more information about NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and its research projects, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden on the Internet.
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