US Air Force Announces New Class of Test Pilots – Randolph AFB

WARBIRD RADIO – Forty-four Air Force captains and first lieutenants have been selected as primary or alternate test pilot school program attendees, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Jan. 21.

According to a recent news release “Officers selected will fill classes beginning in June this year, said Maj. Miles Middleton, AFPC special assignments branch.

The program exists to develop specially trained pilots, combat systems officers, flight test engineers and remotely piloted aircraft pilots to monitor, manage, and perform flight tests on research, experimental or production-type aerospace vehicles and weapon systems, he said.

“Program graduates have profound strategic impact on future combat capabilities, so selection is highly competitive,” Middleton said. “Graduates are future senior leaders who will help shape our national security and identifying the right people for this opportunity was critical.”

To see the list of selectees, visit myPers at and enter “Test Pilot School” in the search window.

QUICK LINK:  Test Pilot School

Planes of Fame Presents Test Pilot Robert Gilliland & Ron Hackworth – September 7th!

TestPilotsPOFWARBIRD RADIO – Mark your calendars now for the Planes of Fame Air Museum (Chino, CA) monthly Living History Event. The topic for the September 7 event is ‘Test Pilots’, featuring the N9MB Flying Wing, P-59 Airacomet, and the SR-71 cockpit. Robert J. Gilliland, first man to fly the SR-71 Blackbird, and Ron Hackworth will be our featured speakers, followed by a question & answer period and flight demonstration when possible. The N9MB will be on display and perform a flight demonstration. At 12:00 noon, the Membership Sponsored raffle flight will occur.

The featured speaker for this event is Robert J. Gilliland, the first man to fly the SR-71 Blackbird, has logged more experimental supersonic flight test time above Mach 2 and Mach 3 than any other pilot.

Gilliland joined the newly formed United States Air Force. After flying P-47 Thunderbolts and F-84 Thunderjets in Germany, he flew F-84s during a combat tour in Korea in 1952. His first test flight was measuring the wing loads of the Thunderjet. When he finished, he analyzed the flight saying, “The wing didn’t come off, so I felt pretty good.”

As a fighter test pilot in 1953 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, he flew most of the aircraft in the Air Force inventory. Later, he joined Lockheed as a civilian test pilot flying the F-104 Starfighter.

In 1962, Gilliland began to test the fastest and highest flying airplanes, including the A-11/A-12, YF-12A and the SR-71. He made the first flight of the SR-71 on December 22, 1964, taking the aircraft to Mach 1.5 and 50,000 feet altitude. He served as the principal test pilot for the SR-71’s development program.

He logged over 6,500 hours in many different aircraft, including the F-104, F-80, F-84, F-86, T-6, P-47, YF-12A and SR-71.

A Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Gilliland was awarded the Iven C. Kincheloe Award in 1964 for his work on the Blackbird program. He was named an Eagle by the Air Force Flight Test Historical Foundation in 1998 and received the Godfrey L. Cabot Award in 2001. He is a trustee of the Association of Naval Aviation.

Ron Hackworth will talk about the flying characteristics of the N9MB Flying Wing, then following the seminar, Ron will perform an exhibition flight in the N9MB.  Ron was the leader of the 13-year reconstruction of the N9MB.  He is the Museum’s primary pilot for the Flying Wing, regularly flying and maintaining it for seminars and air shows. Ron is a retired employee of McDonnell Douglas who worked in their commercial aircraft product support.

Kevin Thompson (POF Moderator and Aviation Historian) and Edward Maloney (Museum Founder & Curator, and Aviation Historian) moderate and join in the presentation.

WHEN: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 10am–12 noon: Speaker program & flight demonstration. Museum doors open at 9:00am.

WHERE: Planes of Fame Air Museum, 7000 Merrill Avenue #17, Chino, CA 91710

WHY: It is the Mission of Planes of Fame Air Museum to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum sponsors regular events in the form of inspirational experiences, educational presentations, flight demonstrations, and airshows in fulfillment of this mission.

QUICK LINK:  Planes of Fame Air Museum

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