Born: 1904-09-28. Died: 1966-12-05.
May took his first flying lessons in 1926. After years of flying experience gained by any means necessary, he became a DC-2 co-pilot for TWA in 1937. He was hired by Douglas in 1941 as a test pilot. After WWII he became chief pilot for the Navy's D-558 supersonic aircraft project. May was the only pilot to have flown all 6 of the D-558 aircraft, and made the first flight in 5 of them. He made 103 of the 231 Skystreak flights; 46 of the 314 Skyrocket flights; and was the first grandfather to fly supersonic. After 1951 he was relegated to desk jobs due to health issues and left Douglas to work flying for other companies. He retired in 1960.
Douglas pilot Eugene F. May flew the number one Skystreak for the first time on April 14, 1947, at Muroc Army Airfield (later renamed Edwards Air Force Base) in Calif. The goals of the program were to investigate the operation of a straight-wing configuration in the lower third of the transonic speed range (which extended from roughly 0.7 to 1.3 times the speed of sound).