By Jerry Lips
The “Living Legends of Aviation” are currently in the process of filling their roster back to their mandate of 70 members. Current Legends have the responsibility of selecting the additional 6 Legends needed to fill that roster. Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar and Chuck Hall have received multiple nominations for their remarkable careers in aviation. Their stories will be told in future issues of Airport Journals and in a future volume of the “Living Legends of Aviation” book.
Dr. Bonnie Dunbar has logged over 700 hours flying time in T-38 jets and over 100 hours in a Citation Jet. She became a NASA astronaut in August 1981. In 1994, she traveled to Star City, Russia, and spent 13 months training as a back-up crew member for a 3 month flight on the Russian Space Station, receiving her certification to fly to the Mir Space Station.
Her spaceflight experience with NASA has included an Oct 30-Nov 6, 1985, West German D-1 Spacelab mission, including the completion of 75 scientific experiments in physiological sciences, navigation, biology, and material science. The Columbia launch of January 9-20, 1990, from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, deployed a Syncom IV-F5 satellite, was her second space mission where she did further testing on microgravity and other scientific tests. In another Columbia launch on June 25 to July 8, 1992, Dr. Dunbar was the Payload Commander; she and her crew performed over 30 experiments housed in the Spacelab in the Shuttle’s payload bay, working around the clock. Atlantis launched June 27, 1995 to July 7th, and was the first Space Shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir, and involved an exchange of crews. Evaluations of medical flight evaluations were done on weightlessness, cardio/vascular systems, bone/muscle systems, cardio/pulmonary systems, and the immune system. Her last flight into space was with Endeavor Jan 22-31, 1998, and was the eighth shuttle-Mir docking mission where they transferred more than 9,000 pounds of logistical hardware and water and scientific equipment to Mir. Dr Dunbar has a total of 50 days, 8 hours, and 24 minutes in space time logged in outer space. .
Born March 3, 1949, in Outlook, Washington, she graduated from the University of Washington in 1971, and worked for Boeing Computer Services for two years as a systems analyst. Her master’s thesis was in the field of mechanisms and kinetics of ionic diffusion in sodium beta-alumina. As a visiting scientist, she did research at Harwell Laboratories in Oxford, England involving behavior of liquids on solid substrates. She was a senior research engineer with Rockwell International Space Division in Downey, California. Dr. Dunbar later served as an adjunct assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. Dr. Dunbar retired as a NASA astronaut in September 2005 and is currently the president and CEO of the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA.
With the call sign “Oden,” Chuck Hall participates in air shows nation wide with his personal P-51 Mustang, and is a member of the Air Force Heritage Flight Demonstration Team. He is active in the civilian warbird community and flies many former military fighter aircraft now in civilian inventory. With over 30,000 hours flight time, he began flying at the age of 19. As an Army aviator, he spent his military career flying helicopters. He was elected to the Society of Experimental Test Pilots during his stint as Chief Pilot on the L-1011 program for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He rose to Vice President of Operations for a major US air carrier and retired as a 747 Captain. For over 20 years, he has participated in the Reno Air Races with multiple wins in the unlimited class, flying P-51 Mustangs. Chuck Hall is a most respected pilot and qualified nominee among the Living Legends of Aviation.