The fly-by featuring a pair of T-38/F5 aircraft will honor Col. Fox Stephens, a Gilmer native, who commanded the aviation team responsible for creating the SR-71 Blackbird. Fox set world records for speed and altitude in the aircraft.
The fly-past in the Black T-38/F-5 Aircraft at 8:14 p.m. is to signify the Skunk Works Stealth Fighter Initiative, the genesis of which was the SR-71 Blackbird.
On May 1, 1965, the SR-71 set a speed record of 2,070 miles per hour and an altitude record of more than 80,000 feet.
Gilmer’s airport was renamed Fox Stephens Field in 2000 to honor the colonel.
Gates will open at 7:30 p.m., and the air show will begin at 8:30 p.m. The fly-past over Jeff Traylor Stadium at 8:14 p.m. is to honor Stephens and the Blackbird test force at Edwards AFB which he commanded.
Stephens’ widow, Joy, daughter, Lila Lou, and grandson, Stephen Gresch, will be on the ground, along with citizens of Gilmer, watching as the black jets fly past.
Following the T-38 fly-past, Stephen Covington will perform a barnstormer aerobatic routine in his Christen Eagle II.
At sunset, Team FENIX will perform a 12-minute vintage warbird “Smoke, Lights and Noise” routine to the sounds of a patriotic themed musical score.
From 8:45 p.m. until 9:15 p.m., there will be a patriotic music program honoring the men and women veterans who served in the Korean War, an armed conflict between communist and non-communist forces in Korea from June 25, 1950 through July 27, 1953.
During the Korean War musical tribute, a reception will be held in the main viewing area honoring Mrs. Joy Stephens and her family and the Korean War veterans.