We are sorry to report that Robert K. Smyth (F), Grumman chief test pilot who flew the first flights of the A6A, the F-14A and the Gulfstream II, passed away on 10 January 2012. Bob had suffered a stroke a while back and seemed to be improving, but took a fall recently and did not recover.
His career at Grumman began as experimental test pilot after resigning from the U.S. Navy in 1955. He was appointed Chief Test Pilot for Grumman in 1967 and conducted first flights of three aircraft. His flight test programs at Grumman include projects on the F9F-6, -8, -8P and -8T, the F11F and -1F, the Mohawk and the Gulfstream I. This work included structural, spin and carrier suitability tests and FAA, British and Australian civil certification tests. Between 1962 and 1966 he served as Consulting Pilot and Astronaut Liaison on the Lunar Lander program in addition to his aircraft test flying. He was responsible for management of development and production test programs at Grumman and continuous flying in A-6s and Gulfstream Is.
His ten years of duty with the U.S. Navy included 3-1/2 years in fighter and night fighter squadrons flying F8F, F4U, and F2H-2N aircraft. He graduated from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1952 and was assigned to the Electronics Test Division at Patuxent River.
Bob was selected for the USN/Royal Navy exchange program and helped form the first Royal Navy jet night fighter squadron flying Sea Venoms in 1953-54.
He joined SETP in 1962 and became a Fellow in 1977. Bob is survived by his beloved wife Sally and two sons. If f you wish to remember Bob, please consider contributing to Hospice of Marion County, in Bob’s name.
Hospice of Marion County Main Office
3231 SW 34th Ave.
Ocala , FL 34474