Los Angeles: Famed research test pilot Bill Dana, who flew the X-15 rocket plane and other pioneering aircraft, has died at age 83.
Word of Dana`s death yesterday was announced by NASA`s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.
Starting in the 1950s, Dana logged more than 8,000 hours in more than 60 types of aircraft ranging from helicopters and sailplanes to the hypersonic X-15, in which he reached a top speed of 3,897 mph.
He also flew NASA`s so-called lifting body aircraft that led to the design of the space shuttle.
Born in California on Nov 3, 1930, Dana died after a long illness at an assisted living facility in Arizona.