AIAA Cape Canaveral - Spring Dinner Meeting Featuring Test Pilot and Astronaut Mark

When:  May 30, 2024 from 17:30 to 21:00 (ET)
Associated with  Cape Canaveral Section
Join us at the Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach for the Spring AIAA Dinner event featuring test pilot and astronaut Mark "Forger" Stucky. With special guests from the 1st place award winning Embry Riddle Design Build Fly Team, it's a night you won't forget!
Speaker Bio:
Forger is a professional test pilot and commercial astronaut. He began his career in the military and flew for the Marines, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves, and finally, as an active-duty Air Force test pilot. As a Marine fighter pilot, he attended the Navy Fighter Weapons School, commonly referred to as TopGun, graduating a year before Tom Cruise. He was subsequently selected for Air Force TPS Class 89A and has been involved in flight test ever since. As a test pilot he was sent on temporary duty to the middle east and flew F/A-18 combat missions during the initial days of Desert Storm.
After thirteen years in the Marines, he resigned his commission and spent six years flying for NASA as an instructor pilot and research pilot, the highlights being the F-18 High Angle of Attack Research Vehicle (with thrust vectoring and actuated nose strakes), the F-16 XL2 cranked arrow wing for supersonic laminar flow at altitudes above 60,000 feet and speeds above Mach 2, and the Eclipse program where he was towed from the runway to altitude in an F-106 on a 1,000 foot rope behind a C-141.
He left NASA for United Airlines and was scheduled to pilot Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles on September 18th, 2001, but exactly one week prior that flight was hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center. The airlines cut back on flying and he was furloughed.
That same day he was recalled to military active duty, as an Air Force Test Pilot School Instructor pilot. During his tenure at TPS he was selected as the Instructor of the Year by every class except for the one when he was on temporary assignment in Iraq. He made repeated trips to the middle east, test flying multiple Iraqi aircraft under combat conditions. For that work, the Air Force honored him with the 2006 Bobby Bond Award, commonly referred to as their test pilot of the year award.
After a subsequent tour in Nevada, Forger retired from the Air Force to accept a test pilot position with Scaled Composites, the company contracted to design, build, and flight test the prototype SpaceShipTwo for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space tourism company. He flew over twenty spaceship flights, including the first three rocket powered flights, but an accident on the 4th powered flight resulted in the destruction of the spaceship and the death of a close friend.
Virgin Galactic decided to take the program over and hired Forger as their lead test pilot to fly an upgraded spaceship. He flew the first glide flight, the first rocket powered flight, and in December 2018 commanded their first spaceflight, becoming their first commercial astronaut. In 2021, shortly before Richard Branson’s flight to space, the acclaimed investigative reporter, Nicholas Schmidle, published the book “Test Gods”, profiling Forger and chronicling Virgin Galactic’s road to that first space flight. The company fired Forger a few days after Branson’s flight.
He was subsequently hired by Blue Origin and now lives in Cape Canaveral where he is working on various projects supporting our nation’s return to the moon.


Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach
3435 North Atlantic Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931