NASA Chief Engineer Bohn-Meyer Dies In Crash

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Marta Bohn-Meyer, 48, chief engineer at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., died Sunday morning when the Giles G-300 she was flying crashed as she was beginning an aerobatic practice routine near the C.E. Page Airport in Oklahoma. Bohn-Meyer was the first female crewmember from NASA or the Air Force -- and the second woman -- to fly in the supersonic SR-71, and was active throughout her career as a mentor to women in aviation. She was married to fellow pilot and aeronautical engineer Bob Meyer, who also works at Dryden. She was practicing for the U.S. National Aerobatic Championship, to be held next week in Texas. An early report said a witness saw something fall from the aircraft shortly after takeoff.

"Marta Bohn-Meyer was an extraordinarily talented individual and a most trusted technical expert and manager at NASA Dryden," said Kevin Petersen, director of the research center. "She committed her life and career to aviation and the advancement of aeronautics and space in the United States. We at Dryden will miss her tremendously." Among other honors, in 1996 she received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal "for exceptional service in flight operations and project management in support of several national flight research programs." She was also awarded the Aerospace Educator Award in 1998 from Women in Aerospace and in 1992 received the Arthur C. Fleming Award in the Scientific Category. She was an active member of Women in Aviation, International, and attended the group's International Conference nearly every year. "Marta was never shy about mentoring other women engineers, or women interested in building their own aircraft, or women interested in aerobatics. She was there for all of them," WAI spokeswoman Amy Laboda told AVweb on Tuesday. The crash is being investigated by the FAA.