We lost Fred Drinkwater as well this year in March…
Fred was a Marine Corps aviator and a pioneer of experimental aviation. He began his flight career as a Corsair pilot in Korea, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Upon returning home, he took a position as a test pilot at NASA Ames Research Center. He continued as a pilot in the Marine Corps Reserves, commanding a squadron of A-4s at Alameda NAS. He retired from the Marines in 1986 as a full colonel, and from Ames in 1988 as Chief, NASA Ames Research Aircraft Operations.
During his career at Ames Fred worked on a wide variety of flight programs. He developed flying techniques for the VTOL jet X-14, and worked with fellow Navy pilot Neil Armstrong developing techniques for landing the LEM on the moon. He was in the vanguard of developing landing systems for extreme low L/D flight, precursor to the space shuttle landing scheme; he worked on many V/STOL aircraft and rotorcraft, including the Tiltrotor, precursor to the Marine V-22 Osprey. Other aeronautics projects included numerous flight simulations, aviation safety, accident recreation, etc. Fred also flew NASA airborne sciences projects in high-altitude astronomy, advanced radars, sea ice dynamics, arctic mammal surveys, hurricane formation, and many others.