Seattle Royal Aeronautical Society

Defying Gravity and the Odds: The Unlikely Story of the Boeing X-32B Joint Strike Fighter

Location: Museum of Flight, 9404 East Marginal Way South, Seattle, Washington 98108-4097, Tel.: 206-619-5442

Date: 15 Sep 2009

Time:  6:00PM

Speaker Profile: Dennis O'Donoghue is vice president of Flight Operations, Test and Validation for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. In this role, he is responsible for all experimental and production flight test operations, customer flight operations support services, and test and validation of all Boeing commercial airplanes and those Integrated Defense Systems products that use commercial airplanes as platforms.

O'Donoghue's first Boeing assignment was in 1996 as the lead test pilot of the X-32B STOVL Joint Strike Fighter Concept Demonstrator Aircraft program.  During the summer of 2001, he commanded the first flight and flew the first hovers and first vertical landings of the X-32B. Subsequent to the JSF program, he was assigned as deputy project pilot for the Sonic Cruiser and the 7E7/787 programs. In November 2004, he was promoted to chief pilot, Production Flight Test Operations, with responsibility for production flight test of all Boeing transport category aircraft.

O'Donoghue left Boeing in July 2005 to serve as director of Flight Operations and chief test pilot of the Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet (VLJ) program at Eclipse Aviation Corporation. On his return to Boeing in July 2006, he briefly served as vice president of Flight Operations for Commercial Airplanes before assuming his current responsibilities.

Prior to his Boeing career, O'Donoghue was a NASA research test pilot at Lewis Research Center , Cleveland , Ohio . He conducted exploratory flight tests, airborne science projects, and space support missions on a various aircraft platforms including the DC-9, DHC-6, G-159, Lear 25, OV-10, T-34, and YAV-8B Harrier.

O'Donoghue's military experience included 12 years of active duty as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot and test pilot. He flew operational missions in the A-4M, AV-8A and AV-8B Harrier aircraft, and engineering flight tests on the AV-8B and F-14 Tomcat. In 1994, O'Donoghue transferred to the U.S. Air Force Reserve where he flew the C-130, C-141, and C-17. He commanded both the 728th Airlift Squadron and the 446 Airlift Wing, stationed at McChord AFB, Wash. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in September 2005 at the rank of Colonel.

O'Donoghue holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy , a Master of Science in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee Space Institute, and an MBA from the University of Washington . He is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He has logged over 6,000 hours in 78 different aircraft types and holds numerous type ratings in Boeing, Douglas, Lockheed, Learjet, AeroVodochody, North American, and Gulfstream airplanes.