Charles Justiz est Research Pilot de la NASA. Ancien pilote de chasse et d'essais de l'US Air Force, il est instructeur sur T-38 depuis 1975.
Il est actuellement Pilote Instructeur à la NASA basé au Johnson Space Center à Houston.
Il forme les astronautes sur T-38 et est surtout instructeur sur le Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) où il a simulé plus de 12 000 approches et atterrissages de la navette spatiale. Il a contribué à la formation de la plupart des pilotes de la navette de ces dernières années.
En tant que pilote, il entraine également les astronautes à bord du Vomit Comet, l'avion d'entrainement pour les vols en micro-gravité.
Il est également un des pilotes du Boeing 747 SCA (Shuttle Carrier Aircraft) qui transporte la navette sur son dos lorsque celle-ci n'atterrit pas au Kennedy Space Center.
Charles Justiz est également écrivain. Son premier livre, un roman policier et de suspense, Specific Impulse, sortira le 1er juin 2010.
Il a également son site internet ; http://www.charlesjustiz.com/ (d'où sont extraites les photos avec l'autorisation amicale de Charles Justiz)
Interview réalisée en 2010
Rencontre avec Charles Justiz, Research Pilot de la NASA
1) How many years were you connected to the space program prior to selected as NASA Research Pilot and why have you choose this job ?
Before I became a Research Pilot for NASA, I did flight test in the United States Air Force.
I chose the NASA job because it was an incredible opportunity to keep flying and to keep learning.
2) How did you have trained as NASA Research Pilot ?
I came to NASA as all of the Research Pilots do – as a highly trained pilot.
The specific training we need to do our jobs safely and efficiently is provided by NASA as we need it.
The training changes from airplane to airplane and mission to mission.
3) What is exactly your job as NASA Research Pilot ?
The job of the research pilot is to take an aircraft that is either modified or unmodified and use it in an unusual way.
For example, one of my missions is to fly the Boeing 747 that has been modified to carry the Space Shuttle. The mission to carry the Shuttle was not envisioned when the engineers were originally designing the 747. We had to make compromises when we designed the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
4) What is your best memory as NASA Pilot ?
Chasing my first Shuttle as it was coming out of orbit.
That was STS-3.
5) What is your worse memory as NASA Pilot ?
6) What is your most amazing space dream ?
That we build a research station on our moon.
7) What are yours memories about the Apollo 11 and Moonlanding Event ?
I was learning to fly in Melbourne, Florida when Apollo 11 launched.
I remember thinking to myself what a wonderful organization NASA was and that I’d like to work for them some day.
8) I know you have wrote a book (will publish in june 2010). Could you tell us more about your 1st novel Specific Impulse (the 1st chapter on your site)…
It is a science-based fiction about a man and a woman – strangers – that are brought together when they experience an explosion.
All the other people that experienced the explosion are dead and the man and the woman are dying. They find out that their disease has not been seen before and that the FBI and other groups are hunting them down.
If they expect to survive, they must avoid capture and find a cure – a cure that might not even be on Earth.