Honoring Cold War CIA/USAF Pilots at the Blackbird Airpark Open House in Palmdale on 26 April 2014

April 23, 2014


Robert-Gilliland-SR-71-Blackbirf-AirparkHey everyone, come and help us honor some real Cold War heroes: U-2, A-12, & SR-71 pilots!

We will be hosting an SR-71 & U-2 50-Year Cold War Commemoration at Blackbird Airpark at Plant 42 (2509 East Avenue P, Palmdale, CA.) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 26.

The main feature of this event will be a “meet-and-greet” with Robert Gilliland, a Lockheed Martin test pilot who flew the SR-71 for the very first time fifty years ago out of Palmdale, in 1964.

To commemorate this special event a number of A-12, SR-71, U-2, F-117, and F-22 pilots, both past and present, will be signing books and handouts, and participating in a Q&A panel discussions throughout the day.  

Pilots scheduled to attend include:

U-2 Pilots:

  • Lou Setter, Col., USAF (Ret.) (Gary Powers’ U-2 Instructor Pilot)
  • Tony Bevacqua, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.) (U-2 and SR-71 pilot)
  • Rob Rowe (Lockheed’s U-2 Chief Test Pilot)

A-12 Pilots:

SR-71 Pilots:

  • Bob Gilliland (SR-71 first flight pilot)
  • Ed Yielding (4 world speed records on last SR-71 LA to DC flight)
  • BC Thomas (most SR-71 hours)
  • Ray Scalise (YF-12 FCO)
  • Bill Flanagan (SR-71 RSO)

F-22/F-117 Pilot:

Blackbird Airpark is the only place in the world where an A-12, an SR-71, a U-2, and a D-21Blackbird Airpark - Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird - Lockjeed A-12 OXCART drone are displayed next to each other.  Seeing them all in one place is a rare opportunity for aircraft enthusiasts, while meeting pilots who flew them is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In addition to aircraft viewing, this event will showcase the traveling Gary Powers U-2 exhibit, on display now through June 27 at Blackbird Airpark.  The U-2 exhibit includes historic artifacts, photos and the Silver Star posthumously awarded to Francis Gary Powers, as well as other personal items that were shipped to the Blackbird Airpark, and then set up, by Francis Gary Powers, Jr.

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2 Responses to “Honoring Cold War CIA/USAF Pilots at the Blackbird Airpark Open House in Palmdale on 26 April 2014”

  1. Jerry M. Davis Says:


    I attended the U-2, 4080 Strat Recon Wing Reunion at Palmdale last week. You had some prints of the U-2 showing drawings of all the configurations and paint schemes of the U-2 over the years. You left your card for those that wanted copies of the print.

    Could you send me information on how to get some copies of that print, you had brought a few copies but not near enough for everybody that wanted them. Seems to me the print was about 18″ by 24″ or even larger.

    I was in the program 1965 – 1967, my pilot number is 199.

    Jerry M. Davis
    PO Box 2804
    Rocky Mount, NC 27803-0807

  2. Angella Says:

    Jerry, I don’t recall if I ever got back to you. At the time, I only brought enough poster to be signed for the museum, not to pass them out. I am checking with Lockheed if they will print more for us (we can’t afford the $1000 for reprinting them), but in the meanwhile I e-mailed you a JPG of the poster. I have a high resolution version of it somewhere, and if you want I can find it and email it to you. You can upload it to Walgreens of Snapfish and get it printed for about $15. Let me know please…

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