The tenth annual family-oriented patriotic event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fox Stephens Field, located on U.S. 271 South in Gilmer. Admission for the show is free and gates will open at 9 a.m.
Gilmer’s Fox Stephens Field is named in honor of USAF Col. Robert L. “Silver Fox” Stephens. Stephens served as the test director and chief test pilot for the super-secret SR-71 Blackbird at Edwards AFB, Calif. during the 1960s.
Stephens is an honoree at the Test Pilot’s Walk of Honor at Lancaster, Calif. and has a street at Edwards AFB, Calif. named for him.
Produced by Lockheed’s Skunk Works, the Blackbird was the first stealthy aircraft produced by Lockheed.
It was then and still is the highest flying and fastest aircraft in the world. Stephens and his flight test crews set world absolute speed and altitude records on June 1, 1965.
The Blackbird has since surpassed its own speed and altitude records numerous times, but no other aircraft has come close to challenging the marks first set by Stephens and his Blackbird test force.
Gilmer Texas’ Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum was founded to preserve and honor the contributions of Stephens and other hometown men and women who have served in uniform.
Military pilots from the 917th Air Force Reserve Group at Barksdale ABF, La. are scheduled to provide formation jet fly-overs in a flight of two Republic A-10 Warthogs, and a single high-speed flyover by a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.
Vintage WW II trainer, fighter, and transport aircraft will be on static display for the pleasure of the attendees. A rare antique example expected to fly in is a beautifully restored Cessna T-50 Bobcat, also know as the Bamboo Bomber.
In addition, three very rare vintage civilian airplanes, a 1929 Travel Air 4000, a Howard DGA 15-P, and a V-77 Gull Wing Stinson will be flown and displayed throughout the day.
“Warbird formations of Beechcraft T-34’s, North American T-6’s, and Cessna L-19 Bird Dogs will churn the skies over Gilmer, to the delight of airplane lovers of all ages,” Dean said.
Honor guards from the International Alert Academy, from the USAF Junior ROTC and members of the Gilmer High School Band will post the colors and provide the centerpiece for the military veterans’ tribute portion of the day’s program. This will occur during the noon hour in conjunction with the military aircraft fly-overs.
Mayor Buck Cross and the City of Gilmer are hosting a coffee for all veterans at the airport terminal building, beginning at 10 a.m.
The Gilmer Rotary Club will dedicate a new memorial marker at the airport terminal building Memorial Flower Gardens in memory of Amy Dean at 10:30 a.m.
At noon the veterans will parade from the terminal building onto the airport grounds in a convoy of Vintage Military Vehicles.
The “Veterans Tribute Ceremony” begins at 12:00 noon sharp with Mayor Cross assisting Congressman Louie Gohmert, Texas Sen. Kevin Eltiffe (R-Tyler), and State Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola).
Renowned aviation artist R.T.Foster from Oklahoma City, official artist of the museum, will demonstrate painting nose art on special warbirds in attendance. Vintage and classic aircraft, antique cars, and military recruiting displays, PT-17 Stearmans from the CAF Wing in Marshall, PT-19 ‘Cornell’s’ from the CAF in Corsicana, and the ETMC Air Ambulance will round out the patriotic feast for the eyes and ears,” Dean said.
Warbird rides are offered in the vintage warbirds: the T-6 “Texans”, the Stearman PT-17s, and Cessna L-19 Bird Dogs. Airtours will be offered in the historic Travel Air 4000 passenger ship. Rides may be scheduled on line. Log onto www.flightofthephoenix.org to schedule and pay for your flight on-line.
Food, snacks and refreshments will be served continuously throughout the day.
The Commemorative Air Force (CAFformerly known as the Confederate Air Force)will have a PX selling aviation memorabilia and the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum from Tylerwill offer a museum gift shop featuring aviation art and holiday gift ideas. Handicap and accessible accommodations provided.
Just tell the parking attendant your requirements.
“Rather than dun our loyal sponsors in a down economy, we’ve opted to fund our museum budget this year through a raffle of a 1989 Cadillac Sedan de Ville and a 1965 Piper Cherokee 140.
The car and the plane are licensed and fully operational. Details for the raffle are available on the museum website. Raffle and event details are on line at www.flightofthephoenix.org.
For further information. contact Dean, Museum and Show Director, Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum at 903-790-7435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .