Seattle Royal Aeronautical Society

The Quest for the First (Operational) Supersonic V/STOL Fighter
A Look Back at 60 Years of VSTOL Flight Research

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

Date: 12 Nov 2011

Time:  6:00PM

Speaker Profile: Dennis O’Donoghue, an experimental test pilot, is vice president of Boeing Test & Evaluation, part of the Engineering, Operations & Technology (EO&T) organization of Boeing. In this role, he is responsible for laboratory and flight test operations, in support of validation and certification of Boeing commercial and defense products. O’Donoghue leads an organization of about 6,500 engineers, pilots, mechanics and technicians. The group is responsible for test and evaluation of new Boeing aircraft, modification and upgrades to existing aircraft, and test support to certain Boeing businesses.

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. In this role, he was heavily involved in all aspects of design, development and flight test of both the X-32A and X-32B. 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 this capacity, he was involved in all aspects of the design of the aircraft, with particular emphasis on development, simulation and validation of flight controls and the pilot-vehicle interface. In November 2004, he was promoted to chief pilot, Production 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 becoming the leader of Commercial Airplanes' Flight Operations, Test and Validation organization. He assumed his current responsibilities in January 2009.

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 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 includes 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 Air Force Base, Wash. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in September 2005 at the rank of Colonel.

O’Donoghue holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a master's degree 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, and is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots as well as the Royal Aeronautical Society. He has logged more than 6,000 hours in 81 different aircraft types including fixed-wing and rotary-wing vehicles, and holds type ratings in the B-737, B-757, B-767, B-777, B-787, DC-9, G-159, L-300, L-382, NH-T38, T-33 and AV-L39.

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.