Early life and educationEdit
He was born in Paragould, Arkansas on August 9, 1924. Wood earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology in 1954. He was married and had three children.
Wood served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, and flew 10 combat missions. In the Korean War, he flew more than 100 combat missions.
As a USAF Test Pilot School graduate, he was serving as an experimental test pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, California when selected for the X-20 Dyna-Soar program. However, before his selection, he had an unsuccessful application for NASA astronaut group 1. Wood was the senior test pilot on the Dyna-Soar project and was slated to be the pilot on its first sub-orbital mission. If the program had not been cancelled, the first drop test would have been in July 1964. After the Dyna-Soar program was cancelled on December 10, 1963, he remained with the U.S. Air Force and served as Commander of Test Operations at Edwards Air Force Base. He retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Colonel.
He died in Melbourne, Florida on January 1, 1990 of natural causes, aged 65.
- Astronautix biography of James W. Wood
- Spacefacts biography of James W. Wood
- James W. Wood at Find a Grave
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