Skip to content

‘Gathering of the Eagles’ at Flight Test Museum


On Saturday, Nov. 12, the Flight Test Museum Foundation (FTMF) will host its annual Gala, “The Gathering of Eagles,” celebrating 75th Years of “breaking the barriers” over the Antelope Valley. A silent auction of rare memorabilia begins the event at the Antelope Valley Fair and Event Center, H.W. Hunter Pavilion in Lancaster. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m.

The event marks the 40th year of sharing the story of flight testing and aerospace research at Mojave Air and Space Port, Edwards AFB, NASA Armstrong Research Center, and Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, and current aerospace industries including Space X, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, CEO of Roddenberry Enterprises, and executive producer of the groundbreaking Star Trek franchise, will serve as the event’s honorary chairman. He will participate in a discussion with Bill “Evil” Gray, test pilot at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.

The Foundation’s Eagle Award recognizes significant achievement in flight test and will be presented to the following individuals who will be in attendance and part of the panel discussion:

•  Fred W. Haise, Jr. – Marinepilot, Air Force test pilot, NASA astronaut, Apollo 13; commander, Space Shuttle Enterprise, Northrop Grumman VP Space Programs, president.

•  Pamela A. Melroy – Air Force Test pilot; NASA astronaut, Pilot Space Shuttles Discovery & Atlantis; commander, Discovery; NASA Deputy Administrator.

•  Todd “Leif” Ericson – Air Force and Virgin Galactic Test Pilot; SpaceX/Polaris Dawn Mission director, Denmar Director of Business Development.

The panel discussion will answer the questions of how we got to where we are today in aerospace development, where we are going, and how we will get there panelists include the newly inducted Eagles listed plus:

•  Donald L. Mallick, Navy pilot, NASA Dryden (now Armstrong) research pilot, deputy chief director NASA

•  Kelly Latimer, Air Force and Boeing Test pilot, NASA Research Pilot; Virgin Galactic test pilot and director of flight test

•  Jared “Rook” Isaacman, CEO, Draken International and Shift4, and SpaceX/Polaris Dawn commander, commercial astronaut

•  Wesley R. Persall, Air Force, Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company Flight Test; Blue Origin Principal test engineer.

All proceeds will support Phase Two construction of the museum.  Along with tributes to trailblazers, such as Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier 75 years ago in the Bell X-1, 35 notable air- and spacecraft, including the Lockheed A-12 “Oxcart” and the last remaining NASA Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, will be exhibited at the museum.

“Our national mission is to honor technological advances made by test pilots, preserve rare aircraft and spacecraft developed in the Aerospace Valley, and inspire the next generation through the future museum’s STEM education programs,” said Art Thompson, chairman of the Foundation’s board of directors.

For tickets or more information, visit