Col. Bob Gilliland
Year Inducted: 2015
Bob Gilliland joined the Navy at age 17, graduated the Naval Academy in 1949, and was commissioned as an Air Force 2nd Lt. After earning pilot wings, he flew F-84 Thunderjets in the Korean War and became a test pilot at Eglin AFB, FL. Gilliland was hired by Lockheed in 1960 as a test pilot for the F-104 Starfighter program, and then participated in the flight envelope expansion and J58 engine tests for the revolutionary Mach 3 A-12 Blackbird. He went on to fly the YF-12 Interceptor and was personally chosen by Kelly Johnson as Project Test Pilot for the SR-71, making that aircraft’s first flight on December 22, 1964. Gilliland made the inaugural flights of the first 10 SR-71 aircraft, including the unique SR-71B models.
A distinguished Fellow Member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Bob retired from the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in 1974.