ABOUT THE GATHERING OF EAGLES EVENT
The Gathering of Eagles is a yearly celebration of the Flight Test Historical Foundation to acknowledge significant achievements in the flight testing of aerospace vehicles. The celebration honors both significant events and individuals that have made these events possible. The Gathering of Eagles is meant to provide an avenue for camaraderie, education, and as a way to memorialize and honor the people who contributed to the historic advancements in aerospace development by these 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.
Since 1983, the Flight Test Historical Foundation has been honoring luminaries in the aerospace world at events and award dinners. In 1996, the FTHF awarded the first Eagle Awards to Chuck Yeager, Bob Hoover, Bob Cardenas, De Beeler, and crew chief Jack Russell on the 50th Anniversary of the Bell X-1 breaking the sound barrier. In 1999, Pete Knight, Scott Crossfield, Joe Engle, Bill Dana, Fitz Fulton were honored with Eagles at the event celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the X-15 test program. Every year thereafter, the Foundation has awarded members of teams engaged in significant milestones in flight test and aerospace advancement conducted in the Aerospace Valley.
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Previous Eagle Awards and Honors
1989 (Tribute to Aerospace): Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing
Honored Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins (first time they’d been together in one place since 1969)
1990 (Tribute to Aerospace): Just Wings, Fifth Annual Tribute to Aerospace honoring Jack Northrop and several flying wing pilots such as first flight pilot Max Stanley, Bob Cardenas, Chuck Tucker, Bruce Hinds and Rick Couch
1991 (Tribute to Aerospace): 40TH Anniversary of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) Award accepted by Maj Gen John Schoeppner, then AFFTC Commander
1992 (Tribute to Aerospace): 50th Anniversary of America’s First Jet – Bell P-59 Honored Lt Gen Laurence C. “Bill” Craigie, First U.S. Military Jet Pilot
1993 First Gathering of Eagles, The Men of MACH One, Eagles: Richard H. Frost, Robert A. “Bob” Hoover, Thomas V. Jones, Col William J. “Pete” Knight, Anthony W. “Tony” LeVier, Col John Paul Stapp, M.D., Ph.D, Evelyn “Bobbi” Trout, Brig Gen Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager
1993 (Tribute to Aerospace): Kelly Johnson 50th Anniversary of Lockheed Skunk Works – Award accepted by Sherm Mullin
1994 (Tribute to Aerospace): 50th Anniversary of the USAF Test Pilot School
1994 Gathering of Eagles, Eagles: Brig Gen Robert L. “Bob” Cardenas, William H. “Bill” Dana, Col. C. Gordon Fullerton, Lt Col Fitzhugh L. “Fitz” Fulton, Robert O. “Bob” Rahn, Max R. Stanley
1995 (Last Tribute to Aerospace): Edward Heinemann and Douglas Aircraft
1995 Gathering of Eagles, Eagles: Robert J. “Bob” Gilliland, J.J. Quinn, Col C.E. “Bud” Anderson, Henry E. “Hank” Chouteau. “An Evening of Aviation History!” Special Guests included Yeager, Tony LeVier, Pete Knight, Bob Cardenas (and many other aviation greats).
1996 Gathering of Eagles, Eagles: Col Joseph F. “Joe” Cotton, Brig Gen. Frank “Pete” Everest, Col Jerauld “Jerry” Gentry, Arthur K. “Kit” Murray, Lt Col Richard G. “Dick” Rutan, Louis Wellington “Lou” Schalk, Jr., Col Wendell H. “Wendy” Shawler, Alvin S. “Al” White
1997 Gathering of Eagles, 50th Anniversary of the X-1 program, Eagles: Maj Gen Fred J. Ascani, De E. Beeler, Maj Gen Joe H. Engle, Honorees: Chuck Yeager, Bob Hoover, Bob Cardenas, Jack Russell, De Beeler
1998 Gathering of Eagles, Celebrating the Flying Wing, Eagles: Fred C. Bretcher, Col Richard S. “Rick” Couch, Lt Col Bruce J. Hinds, John Myers, Col Russell E. “Russ” Schleeh, Charles “Chuck” Tucker
1999 40th Anniversary of the X-15 Test Program, Eagles: Scott Crossfield – Honorees: Pete Knight, Joe Engle, Bill Dana, Fitz Fulton
2001: 50th Anniversary of the AFFTC, Eagles: Lt Gen Thomas Stafford, Charlie Bock, Jesse Jacobs, Don Mallick, and Fred Stoliker
2002: 50th Anniversary of the B-52, Eagles: John Carlson, Phil Conley, Charlie Kuyk, Al Phillips, Guy Towsend
2003: Centennial of Flight and Century Series Fighters, Eagles: Henry “Hank” Beaird, Jr., Robert “Bob” Little, Robert “Bob” Titus, and William “Bill” Weaver
2004: Out of the Black, Into the Blue –Paper Designs and Flying Prototypes, Eagles: Keith Beswick, Den Dyson, Doug Benjamin, Rudy Haug, Dan Vanderhorst, and Dick Thomas.
2005: 50th Anniversary of the U-2, Eagles: Louis Setter, Lt. Col. Harry Andonian, Robert “Bob” Riedenauer, Tom C. McMurtry, Don Sorlie
2006: B-58 Hustler 50th Anniversary, Eagles: Johnny G. Armstrong, Beryl Erickson, Brig. Gen, Harold Confer, Charles Harrison, Lt. Col. Robert Gray Sowers
2008: XB-70 Valkyrie Flight Test Program, Eagles: Paul Reukauf, Lyle Schofield, Bill Schweikard
2009: 50th Anniversary of the X-15 Flight Test program, Eagles: Bob White, Betty Love, Bob Hoey, John McTigue
2010: Excellence in Aviation Awards – Honorees: Brig. Gen Robert Cardenas, Bob Hoover, Clay Lacy, David Tallichet
2011: Excellence in Aviation Awards – Honorees: Frank Robinson, Robert Gilliland, Jens Neelsen
2012 – Salute to the Space Shuttle Eagles: Neil A. Armstrong
NASA ALT/OFT – Approach and Landing Teams, Orbital Flight Test
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center’s Space Shuttle Operations Team,
Boeing’s Space Shuttle AIT Team – Assembly, Integration and Test of all orbiters
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s SSME – Space Shuttle Main Engine Team
US Air Force Space Shuttle Recovery Team
2012 Excellence in Aviation Space: Dr. Buzz Aldrin and General Joe Engle; Aviation: Col. Joe Kittinger, Award presented by Bob Gilliland; Aviation Business: Mr. Del Smith, CEO Evergreen Aviation; Friends of the FTHF Foundation: Mr. David Hartman and Dr. James O. Young, former Chief Historian of the AFFTC History Office
2013 40th Anniversary LWF, Eagles: Lt. Col. Michael J. Clarke, Col. James H. Doolittle III, Col. Robert Ettinger, John Hicks, Richard Hildebrand, Frank N. Lucero, Philip F. Oestricher, James A. Papa, Col. James G. Rider, Col. Dean Stickell, Charles Van Norman, Richard A. Wood
2014 70th Anniversary of the Test Pilot School, Eagles: Gary Aldrich, George Cooper, Andy Gerner, Bill Gray, Dave VanHoy
2015 60th Anniversary of the U-2 and 25th Anniversary of the SR-71, Eagles: Lt. Col. Tony Bevacqua, Lt. Col. David Kerzie, Col. Robert A. Rowe, and Lt. Col. Ed Yeilding
2016 35th Anniversary of the First Flight of the F-117, Eagles: Col. Skip Anderson, Jon Beesley
Hal Farley, Dave Ferguson, Larry McClain, Tom Morgenfeld, and Pete Winters
2017 20th Anniversary of the First Flight of the F-22, Eagles: James E. “JB” Brown, David P.”Cools” Cooley, Chuck Killberg, Brett Luedke, Paul Metz, Randy Neville, and Steve Rainey
2018 Breaking Barriers – The Women of Flight Test, Eagles: Florence Lowe “Poncho” Barnes, Cynthia “CJ” Bixby, Dr. Eileen Bjorkman, Laurie Grindle, Lt. Col. Kelly Latimer (Ret.), Dr. Sandy Miarecki Lt. Col., and Col. Angela Wallace Suplisson, PhD
2019 30th Anniversary of the First Flight of the B-2, Eagles: Frank Birk, Bill “Flaps” Flanagan, Tony Imondi, Tom LeBeau, Bob Myers, and Otto Waniczek