Wilson “Rusty” Lowry is a 1979 graduate of the University of Virginia and a 1983 graduate of the US Naval Test Pilot School. He worked for 35 years as a flight test engineer for the US Navy, serving as the Technical Director for the VX-23 Strike Aircraft Test Squadron and the US Naval Test Pilot School before retiring in 2014. Rusty is an owning partner at Massey Aerodrome, a public use grass airfield located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and continues to support the flight test community as a consultant. He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Screen Actors Guild and continues to fly in a variety of old airplanes, gliders, and tow planes.
Rusty has provided technical presentations on a wide variety of flight test and risk management subjects including comparisons of the Hollywood Stunt Business and Flight Testing, Lessons Learned from Motorcycle Racing (as applied to Flying), Risk Management for the X-31 Flight Test Program, and the History of the X-2 and Ivan Kincheloe’s Flight Above 100,000 Feet. Audiences have included industry safety presentations (Boeing, NASA, Flight Test Safety Workshops), Military (Navy, Air Force, EAA Warbirds), Professional Societies (SETP, SFTE, Maryland Professional Engineers) and academia (University of Virginia, Test Pilot Schools) among many others.
He will provide a briefing on Operational Risk Management and the tools developed at the US Naval Test Pilot School to assess flight risks. One of these is an Operational Risk Assessment Matrix where multiple issues including weather, pilot experience, location, and flight complexity are assessed for their possible impact upon a chosen flight. This matrix is based on that used by the test pilot school and adapted to specifically apply to Warbird operations and operators.