Friday, January 12, 2007

Lt Col (ret) Robert L.Riedenauer 1936-2007

Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Riedenauer is the only test pilot to have flown the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter, highlighting a military and civilian flight test career that included advanced development of some of the most famous aircraft of the 20th Century. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University in 1967 and graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1969.

Riedenauer conducted performance and handling quality tests of the FB-111A, prototype development of the Pre-SCANA F-111 and various programs in the U-2. Reidenauer then flew developmental flight tests of the SR-71 at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale and later retired from the Air Force as Chief of SR-71 Flight Test. At Lockheed Skunk Works, he was an Engineering Test Pilot and later Director of Operations. He helped design, develop and test classified programs and served as one of Lockheed's principal test pilots during the initial flight tests of the F-117A Stealth Fighter. Riedenauer flew the first production flight of the F-117 and later retired from Lockheed in 1993.

Riedenauer is a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and has logged over 6,500 hours in more than 50 different aircraft, including the T-33, A/T-37, T-38, F-86, F-104, F-105, F-4, F/FB-111, F-117, SR-71, B-52 and U-2. He also flew 120 combat missions in the F-105 in Southeast Asia in 1968 and was honored with the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with eleven oak leaf clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal.