Events

October 6, 2017
 

Gathering of Eagles event Set for Oct. 21

Tags:
Linda KC Reynolds
staff writer

Kyle Nemecek of A2ZFX and Sage Cheshire cut out centerpieces and special awards for the Flight Test Historical Foundation’s Gathering of Eagles event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the F-22 aircraft’s first flight. Each award takes approximately 15 hours to craft and 57 are being made. The event is Oct. 21 at the H.W. Hunter Pavilion at Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Calif.

What on earth could be better than sitting around a campfire, hearing first-hand what it is like to save an aircraft that is spinning out of control, the earth merely seconds away; or the rush of being the first person to fly a world-class fighter jet for the very first time?

Well, there won’t be s’mores, but there will be plenty of stories, merriment and fellowship as the Flight Test Historical Foundation hosts their annual Gathering of Eagles banquet, this year commemorating the 20th anniversary of the F-22 aircraft’s first flight.

The event occurs Oct. 21 at the H.W. Hunter Pavilion at Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Calif., with social hour starting at 4:45 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a panel discussion and an auction of aviation memorabilia.

Admission is $75 and tickets may be purchased online at the Foundation website, http://EdwardsMuseum.org/GoE2017.

“This is one of the great premier events of the Antelope Valley, where everyone can come and meet the test pilots who helped make these amazing aircraft fly and are in the history books,” said Art Thompson of Sage Cheshire and A2ZFX, who is designing and crafting the center pieces for the event.

Thompson said that the legends in aerospace will be sharing their stories and hair-raising experiences during test flights and program development.

“It is an opportunity to rub elbows, get photos with and hear first-hand from this amazing community of pilots that are not only on stage but fill the audience as well.” Some stories shared at these events are rarely shared with the general public.

“We will be flying with people who made history and have shaped the face of aerospace,” Thompson said.

Serving as the vice chair of the Flight Test Historical Foundation, Thompson helped recruit an anonymous $2 million donation this year to help create a Flight Test Museum, STEM education center, and relocate the museum outside the secure gates of Edwards Air Force Base. The move will improve accessibility of the facility, so the public can more easily enjoy and learn from Edwards’ rich aviation history.

The panelists for this year’s Gathering of Eagles are: Paul Metz – F-22 first flight, and Lockheed Martin chief test pilot; Chuck Killberg – first Boeing test pilot; Bret Luedke — second Lockheed Martin chief test pilot; Randy Neville — second Boeing test pilot; James “JB” Brown – third Lockheed Martin chief test pilot; and Steve “Hooter” Rainey – first U.S. Air Force F-22 pilot, former Boeing F-22 pilot and current Lockheed Martin chief test pilot.

Sculptor Nay Schuder works on a few pieces of art to be displayed at the Gathering of Eagles event Oct. 21 at the H.W. Hunter Pavilion at Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Calif. Douglas Castleman and Mark Pestana will also display their art.

The honorary chairman will be retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Doug Pearson.

In memoriam: David P. “Cools” Cooley will be remembered and honored during the event. Cooley perished in 2009 in an F-22 crash near Edwards.

James Brown was the first pilot to reach 1,000 hours flying the F-22 Raptor in 2012 and will be honored as an Eagle at the event.

“I find becoming an Eagle quite an honor and I’m privileged to be in the company of such accomplished individuals.” Brown said it was amazing to join the program when the jet was in its infancy and grew to become a world-class Olympic Champion without peer.

“It is the most capable fighter aircraft ever developed by mankind!” Currently, Brown is the chief operations officer and test pilot instructor at the National Test Pilot School located in Mojave, Calif.

Displaying some of their aviation art this year will be Douglas Castleman, Mark Pestana and sculptor Nay Schuder.

“I really want to thank everyone who helps with this event and a special thanks to Edwards Federal Credit Union, for stepping up as our Signature Sponsor,” said Danny Bazzell, general manager of the Flight Test Historical Foundation. “If you are an aviation fan, this is an event you do not want to miss!”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – December 8, 2017

News Enlisted combat pilots? The Air Force is launching a test that could lead to that – The Air Force is launching a new pilot training program that will include enlisted airmen — and could eventually lead to them flying combat aircraft.   Pentagon now says 7,200 troops are in Iraq, Syria – The Pentagon...
 
 

News Briefs – December 8, 2017

Serbia, Bosnia seek to boost ties after war crimes tensions Serbian and Bosnian leaders said Dec. 6 they want to resolve problems left over from their 1990s conflict after tensions soared over the conviction of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic and the death of a Croat ex-general at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal....
 
 
eafb-vfw4

Cal City VFW post refreshes flag at flying wing crash site

Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9375 members finish planting a new American flag and U.S. Air Force flag at the YB-49 crash site north of Edwards Air Force Base Dec, Calif.,. 4, 2071. The N...