The Society is saddened to learn that Dave Seeman (F) passed away peacefully at Asbury Nursing Facility, Solomons, Maryland on 3 October, 2023. He was 95 years old. He was predeceased by his wife Barbara and his daughter Ellen Seeman Booker. He is survived by his daughter Betsy (Steve) Rhodes, son David, son-in-law Frank Booker, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
David Bruce Seeman was born on February 24, 1928 to Eugene and Irene (Wendebaum) Seeman in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Jamaica High School in 1945 after which he attended Adelphi College before beginning his life in aviation as a Flying Midshipman in 1948. Designated a Naval Aviator in 1949 he flew F-4Us and F-9Fs in VF-14 and VF-173 followed by designation as a Navy Acceptance Test pilot at Grumman Bethpage in 1953.
Dave joined Grumman in 1955 as a test pilot, graduating from USN TPS in 1956. At Grumman, he flew the famous Cat Series; Bearcats, Panthers, Cougars and Tigers, including F-11 Tiger spin tests at Patuxent and Edwards. Returning to Long Island, Dave continued his test work flying the HU-16 Albatross, G-1 and TC-4C Gulfstream, OV-1 and RV-1D Mohawks, A-6A Intruder, and the S-2 Tracker series craft. His work on the E-1 Tracer and the W2-F (E-2 aerodynamic prototype) would lead to the development of the two aircraft with which Dave would become most famously identified with – the E-2 Hawkeye and the C-2 Greyhound.
After serving at Patuxent as the Grumman BIS Manager for the F-14A, E-2C and EA-6B and as the Flight Test and Deputy Program Manager for the KA-6D at Stuart, Florida, Dave returned to Bethpage as the chief test pilot for the Hawkeye and Greyhound programs. His flight test work on these two programs included first flights on the C-2A and C-2A(R). His duties included overseeing systems and airframes development, aircraft production acceptance and training of Foreign Military Aircrew.
Retiring from Grumman in 1989, Dave and his wife Barbara returned to Southern Maryland, but he could not stay away from aircraft. He became a docent in the fledgling Patuxent River Naval Aircraft Museum, and was soon called back to duty as a flight test advisor for the E-2C and C-2A eight bladed propeller (NP 2000) program which had it’s first flight in 2001.
During his lengthy career (9,300 hours, over 5,000 in flight test), Dave mentored numerous Grumman, Northrop Grumman, and Navy test pilots and flight test engineers. Although the C-2A(R) was retired in 2023, Dave’s legacy lives on in the newest Hawkeye, the E-2D, and the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. A Memorial Service and reception will be held at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum on Sunday, November 5th at 2 PM.