Monday, December 29, 2014

Forty Years of Bad to the BOne!

December 23rd was the 40th anniversary of the first flight of the B-1A, and ironically, on December 26th, the Archive found and acquired this rather faded, signed print from that flight.

Pilot for that historic flight was Rockwell's Chief B-1 program test pilot Col. Charlie Bock (ret)., copilot was USAF Col. Emil Sturmthal, and the flight test engineer was Richard Abrams.

Bock was a veteran of Korea and Vietnam, with 103 combat missions under his belt. He had also served as an SR-71 test pilot before retiring from the Air Force and hiring on with Rockwell. He later moved to Northrop and worked on the B-2 program.

Sturmthal was also a former combat pilot, starting with the B-26 in Korea. In all, he racked up 196 combat missions, then moved to the test world where he flew a number of planes, including the XB-70.

Abrams had worked for the Air Force and the FAA, before moving to Rockwell. He later moved to Lockheed and was the flight test program manager for the YF-22. He was the recipient of the AIAA's Chanute Flight Test Award for his work on the F-117 and the YF-22. Sadly, he died at the age of 56 in 1994.

When the B-1A program was cancelled, 74-0158 had a mere 403 hours in its log book. It was dismantled and parts of it were used for weapons training.

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