Topic Author
Posts: 3875
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:13 am

Boeing Pioneer Test Pilot Dies :(

Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:18 am

Pioneer James Gannett passed away!


Former Boeing Test Pilot Dies At 83

June 21, 2006

By Associated Press

REDMOND - James R. Gannett, a retired Boeing test pilot who was in the co-pilot's seat of a 707 jetliner that stunned onlookers in 1955 by doing two barrel rolls over Lake Washington, has died.

He was 83 when he died of a brain aneurysm Saturday in this suburb east of Seattle.

"He was a good father and a good husband, but the love of flying and solving problems was really his passion," said his son Craig Gannett.

The elder Gannett fell in love with aviation after his father gave him $1 to ride in a plane. He earned a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan, and spent 1950-1954 at Southern California's Edwards Air Force Base testing experimental aircraft.

He flew alongside testing celebrities such as Chuck Yeager and flew 55 combat missions during a nine-month stint in the Korean War.

In 1954, Gannett and his family moved to the Seattle area so he could work for Boeing, where he first tested an experimental version of the 707. He tested other 707 versions throughout his tenure at Boeing.

Gannett helped develop pilot certification rules for the FAA when it was time to update the rules for jets, and trained airline pilots how to fly the 707.

"A lot of his students went out and populated the airlines at the beginning of jets," said John Cashman, director of flight operations at Boeing.

Gannett was the project pilot for Boeing's SST, the supersonic transport plane - the American version of the Concorde - until the federal government scrapped the program in 1971.

Gannett also tested the Boeing 727, 737 and 747, and military airliner adaptations such as the 707-based AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) radar jets.

He spent much of his life developing better instruments for jetliners, including gadgets used today in Boeing 747s, 757s and 767s, Cashman said. Gannett recently got a patent on a new navigational instrument that gives pilots more intuitive readings for a plane's attitude.

"He would persist to complete things. ... He was stubborn in a good way and stubborn in a bad way," his daughter Laurie Milton said.

Gannett never stopped flying. He flew a small Cessna prop plane one day last week. Tennis was another passion, as were skiing, sailing and fishing. When his son was young, Gannett would fly his family in a float plane to remote lakes in the Canadian Rockies to fish.

In addition to his son and Laurie Milton, survivors include his wife, Eleanor, daughter Julie Gannett and five grandchildren.

Memorial services are planned for July 15 at the Boeing Museum of Flight, and July 16 at the Redmond United Methodist Church.
I Am A Different Animal!!
Tan Flyr
Posts: 1618
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2000 11:07 pm

RE: Boeing Pioneer Test Pilot Dies :(

Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:33 am

May he RIP..He has joined many other aviation pioneers at the great airport in the heavens!
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 6:17 am

RE: Boeing Pioneer Test Pilot Dies :(

Fri Jun 23, 2006 4:55 am

Another Lion gone. Now he flies himself on the ultimate flight.

Rest in Peace.
Posts: 6990
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:43 am

RE: Boeing Pioneer Test Pilot Dies :(

Fri Jun 23, 2006 7:04 am

May flights of angels....

God rest his soul. A true pioneer -- a brave man -- has left our midst.

[Edited 2006-06-23 00:04:31]
What's fair is fair.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos