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Philip W. Brown


Williamsburg, Virginia

Inducted in 2009, Philip W. Brown earned his Navy wings in 1963. After four years of fighter squadron service, he left active duty in 1967 to add engineering degrees to his previous liberal arts degree. In 1974, with aeronautical engineering BS and MS degrees earned from Georgia Tech and Princeton, Brown was hired by NASA-Langley Research Center.  As the stall/spin project pilot on NASA’s wingtip mounted, hydrogen peroxide rocket equipped Beechcraft Sundowner, his testing verified spin tunnel test techniques and results; examined previous guidelines for configuration effects on spin behavior; and established methods for achieving general aviation aircraft spin resistance. In addition to piloting NASA’s agricultural aviation research aircraft, Brown flew tests to measure the environmental impact of the Space Shuttle’s exhaust plume.  The 420 direct lightning strikes he acquired during five years of flying the F-106B Storm Hazards airplane yielded data leading to lightning protection standards for modern aircraft constructed of composite material and equipped with solid state electronics.  His simulator and flight research in a modified F-16XL and a vectored-thrust F-18 aircraft helped perfect improvements in controllability during extreme angle-of-attack maneuvers. This in turn led to the development of air combat maneuvers which advantageously used advanced aircraft maneuver capabilities. In his 27 years as a NASA research pilot he acquired 7,100 flying hours including 363 flying hours in rotary wing aircraft. He was involved in all levels of research and authored and co-authored 36 papers and oral NASA presentations. In 1995 Brown won the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his body of work.