Hoot Gibson – naval aviator, astronaut, aviation accident investigator, and air race pilot – will speak at the Minnesota Council of Airports Conference on April 20, 2016 at Maddens Resort in Brainerd, Minn.
Gibson entered active duty with the U.S. Navy in 1969. He saw duty aboard the USS Coral Sea and the USS Enterprise, flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in the F-4 Phantom with VF-111. He also made the initial operational carrier deployment of the F-14 Tomcat with VF-1. Gibson is a graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School “TOPGUN.”
Gibson’s flight experience includes over 6,000 hours in over 50 types of civil and military aircraft. He holds an airline transport pilot license, multi-engine and instrument ratings, and has held a private pilot certificate since age 17. Gibson has also completed over 300 carrier landings.
Selected by NASA in January 1978, Gibson became an astronaut in August 1979 and flew five shuttle missions from 1984 to 1995.
Gibson participated in the investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, and also participated in the redesign and recertification of the solid rocket boosters.
Gibson left NASA in November 1996 and became a pilot for Southwest Airlines until he retired in 2006. He then went to work for Benson Space Company as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Test Pilot.
Gibson is currently an aviation expert witness and air racer. He has flown 111 different types of aircraft, including the MiG-21 owned by Air USA, Inc., and has become a regular competitor at the annual National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev. In 2015, Gibson won the Unlimited Gold at Reno flying the P-51 Mustang “Strega.”
Gibson is married to fellow astronaut, Dr. M. Rhea Seddon. They have four children, and live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.