NASA Announces Retirement of Armstrong Flight Research Center Director

A photo of David D. McBride, director of NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

A photo of David D. McBride, director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. Credit: NASA.

David McBride, director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, retired on June 30 after 35 years of service to the agency. He began his career at NASA as an intern.

During McBride’s tenure as director, the center completed the flight evaluation of the X-48B/C hybrid wing body experimental aircraft and demonstrated the Orion spacecraft’s launch abort system.

“David’s contributions in aviation, science, and exploration have strengthened our agency’s missions and improved the lives of people throughout our country — and will for generations to come,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Individuals at the beginning of their career at NASA – and members of the Artemis Generation who dream of one day working here – will be inspired by David, knowing their work can also lead to a lifetime of service to this storied agency. I wish him and his family all the best in his retirement.”

While studying electrical engineering at the University of New Mexico, McBride joined the NASA family as a cooperative education student, specializing in digital flight control systems analysis. His technical assignments included serving as chief engineer for the X-33 Extended Test Range and as lead flight systems engineer for the X-29.

Before his appointment as director in 2010, McBride served as acting center director, deputy center director, and associate director for programs and projects, where he oversaw Armstrong Flight Research Center’s portfolio supporting exploration, science, and aeronautics.

Upon McBride’s retirement, Deputy Center Director Brad Flick will serve as acting center director. Flick began his career at the Dryden Flight Research Center, now Armstrong Flight Research Center, in 1986 as a flight systems engineer on the F/A-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle project. The agency also will soon start the formal process to identify a successor and will announce a selection later.