From Randy Cassingham:


A NASA engineer and test pilot stationed at the Dryden Flight Research Center, in 1967 Peterson was flying the M2-F2, a wingless "lifting body" test aircraft when he had control problems. He tried to recover, but crashed when he had to veer away from a rescue helicopter that got in his way. He survived, and thanks to extensive surgery he was able to return to NASA. Peterson became the model for The Six Million Dollar Man (TV movie 1973, and a weekly series from 1974 to 1978). The opening credits of the series shows a plane crash: that was Peterson's M2-F2 accident. Peterson was not made "bionic" by his surgery and, he said after the TV show went on the air, "I don't think it cost any $6 million to put me back together." Despite losing an eye he flew again for NASA until 1971, and later assumed responsibility for safety and quality assurance for Dryden until his retirement in 1981. Peterson died May 1 from "natural causes". He was 72.