Chuck Coleman

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Chuck Coleman
Chuck Coleman - Extra 300 (48895136196).jpg
Coleman at the 18th Annual Apple Valley Airshow and Car Display
Michigan, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
OccupationPilot, aerospace engineer, test pilot

Charles Thomas Coleman a.k.a Chuck Coleman is an American aviator, aerospace engineer, airshow and test pilot.[1][2][3] He has worked as a design and performance engineer for several aircraft corporations such as McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, Bede Jet Corporation and Scaled Composites. Coleman is a member of the Society of Test Pilots SETP as an Associate Fellow, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Mojave Air and Space Port.

Early life and education

Coleman was raised in Ludington, Michigan by Thomas Coleman and JoAnn (Benedict) Smith.[4] He graduated from the University of Michigan and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering.[5]


Coleman was a design engineer for 6 years at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri where he was involved in military jet projects including serving as the Senior Design Engineer on the High Angle of Attack Research Vehicle (HARV), a modified F/A-18 Hornet, utilized by NASA to investigate controlled flight at high alpha utilizing thrust vectoring.[6][7]

Coleman also served as a Senior Engineer on the F/A-18 conversion from combat-ready aircraft into performance planes for the United States Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron.[4]

He was a project engineer at the Bede Jet Corporation in Chesterfield, Missouri at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. He served as the test pilot on the BD-10, a kit-built experimental jet aircraft, and BD-12, a two-seat experimental plane with a pusher configuration.[7]

Coleman joined Scaled Composites in Mojave, California as a performance engineer, test pilot, and chase pilot.[5][8] he was on a team of five engineers that designed, constructed and flight tested the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer which was the first jet powered aircraft to fly around the world non-stop un-refueled.[9][10][11][12]

Coleman was also a test pilot for the Proteus high altitude jet and tested Tier One Navigation System for the SpaceShipOne addition to conducting high G astronaut training for SpaceShipOne astronauts and served as the chase pilot for the SpaceShipOne.[1] Coleman also served as a test pilot for Icon A-5, The ICON A5 is an American amphibious light-sport aircraft.[13][14]


Coleman has performed at numerous airshows and flown aerobatics planes for Patty Wagstaff, Gene Soucy, Ian Groom, Tim Weber, Sean D Tucker,[15] Discovery Channel, Toyota Airsports, and Paramount Pictures. Coleman trained the actors starring in Top Gun: Maverick featuring Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, and Jennifer Connolly. Coleman conducted 140 G tolerance training flights in an Extra EA-300 with actors Glen Powell, Miles Teller, Monica Barbaro, Jay Ellis, Lewis Pullman, and Danny Ramirez in a flight training regime designed by Tom Cruise. These aerobactic flights were conducted in order to prepare the actors for flight in F/A-18E/F Super Hornets during actual filming. [4][16][17][18]


Coleman won two Collier Trophies for his involvement in the development of the McDonnel Douglas C-17 Globemaster (1994)[19][20] and Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne (2004).[21][22] Coleman was also part of the Scaled Composites team that won the Ansari X Prize which was a space competition in which the X Prize Foundation offered a cash prize for the first non-government organization to launch a reusable crewed spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Crash of Virgin Galactic craft highlights dangerous lives of private test pilots". Washington Post. 2014-11-05. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  2. ^ tomlear (2016-11-10). "Chuck Coleman". Desert Lightning News - Nellis/Creech AFB. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  3. ^ "Chuck Coleman". Desert Lightning News - Nellis/Creech AFB. 2016-11-10. Retrieved 2021-07-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b c "Aerobatics pilot's trade isn't for faint of heart". Shoreline Media Group. Retrieved 2021-07-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b c "New directors installed at Mojave Air & Spaceport". The Loop Newspaper. Retrieved 2021-07-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Flight Testing of a New Air Launch Method for Safely Launching Personnel and Cargo into Low Earth Orbit".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ a b "About Chuck". Mojave Air & Space Port. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  8. ^ "Can a Small Start-up Build America's Next Spaceship?". Popular Science. 2005-09-13. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  9. ^ "Aerobatics pilot's trade isn't for faint of heart". Shoreline Media Group. Retrieved 2021-07-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "The Next Last Great Milestone". Flying. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  11. ^ "1 Jet Engine & 18,000 Pounds of Fuel". Popular Science. 2004-01-18. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  12. ^ "Looking to Log a Flight Record". Los Angeles Times. 2004-01-09. Retrieved 2021-07-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Hansen, Cathy (2021-01-10). "2020 in Review at Mojave Air and Space Port". Aerotech News & Review. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  14. ^ "Icon A5 Light-Sport Aircraft Review". Flying. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  15. ^ "Grin: Sean D Tucker graciously gives me a big grin and a thumbs up at my request, as Chuck Coleman maintains a tight formation with Sean and our photo ship". Air & Space Magazine.
  16. ^ "A philanthropic airshow — General Aviation News".
  17. ^ "Skyway flyby". Tampa Bay Times.
  18. ^ "Mojave Air & Space Port swears in three new board directors". Aerotech News & Review. 10 December 2020.
  19. ^ "RIVERSIDE: Airshow to return March 28 with demonstrations, family fun". Press Enterprise. 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  20. ^ "Collier 1990-1999 Recipients - NAA: National Aeronautic Association". Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  21. ^ "Collier 2000-2009 Recipients - NAA: National Aeronautic Association". Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  22. ^ "Historic Space Launch Attempt for SpaceShipOne Scheduled for June 21". Retrieved 2021-07-25.

External links

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