Meet pilots, team behind B-2 Spirit bomber

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The 2019 Gathering of Eagles will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the B-2 Spirit bombers first flight with the theme “From First Flight to First Fight.”

The gathering is set for Oct. 19 in the Hunter Pavilion — 2551 West Avenue H, in Lancaster, Calif.

Sponsored by the Flight Test Historical Foundation, the gathering affords attendees the opportunity to honor and meet some of the team members and pilots from the B-2 program.

The B-2 Spirit has participated in nearly all of America’s wars and military actions since its first flight in 1989.

The annual event is a fundraiser for the foundation and will include a B-2 Presentation and Q&A, Eagle Recognition, Dinner and Keepsake Silent Auction.

The reception starts at 5 p.m., and the dinner and program starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person, and can be purchased by visiting http://www.afftcmuseum.org/gathering-of-eagles-2019.

Sponsorship and full table purchases also available.

This year’s honorees are:
* Col. Frank T. Birk, U.S. Air Force — B-2 Combined Test Force Director
* Lt. Col. William “Flaps” Flanagan, Ret. – Northrop Grumman Flight Test Weapon System Operator
* Lt. Col. Anthony A. ‘Tony’ Imondi, Ret. – Former B-2 instructor pilot
* Lt. Col. Thomas J. LeBeau, Ret. — Operational Test & Evaluation Pilot; B2 Test Pilot
* Robert G ‘Bob’ Myers — Northrop Grumman Vice President B-2 Flight Test
* Otto J Waniczek — Northrop Grumman Air Vehicle Manager

The 2019 co-chairs are:
* Col. Rick Couch, Ret. — First Flight Co-pilot, First CTF Director, and a 1998 Eagle
* Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. — B-2 Pilot, and commander of Air Force Materiel Command

For more information on sponsorship, volunteering or to buy tickets, visit http://www.afftcmuseum.org/gathering-of-eagles-2019.

There will also be B-2 displays on hand, as well as a silent auction, and Aerospace Art Sales. Art by award-winning artists Doug Castleman and Mark Pestana will be available for purchase. As official Air Force artists, dozens of their paintings are in the Pentagon Collection. Fifty percent of their sales will be donated to the Flight Test Historical Foundation.

The Gathering of Eagles is an annual celebration, hosted by the Flight Test Museum Foundation, to acknowledge significant achievements in the flight testing of aerospace vehicles. The celebration honors both significant events, and individuals, that have made these achievements possible. The Gathering of Eagles is meant to provide an avenue for camaraderie, education and a way to memorialize some of the history of flight test programs. The event is also a fundraiser, providing resources to the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards Air Force Base, university scholarships, and a variety of STEM education programs.

The mission of the Flight Test Historical Foundation is to raise funds to support the development of the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards Air Force Base in California, and the museum’s Blackbird Airpark Annex at Air Force Plant 42 in nearby Palmdale. The foundation’s fund-raising efforts focus primarily on museum improvements, new construction, exhibits, aircraft acquisition and restoration, and educational programs.