Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Robert A. Rowe, Col. (Ret.), USAF

Rob “Skid” Rowe graduated 8th of 902 graduates from the USAF Academy in 1979 with a bachelor degree in Ops Research, Aero, and Math – he was the only triple-major of his class.  As a 2nd lieutenant, he attended Princeton University from 1979 to 1981 under a Guggenheim Fellowship, earning a Master’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  Assignments that followed were pilot training (distinguished graduate) and flight instructor (initial cadre) of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard AFB, Texas

Rowe flew the U-2 aircraft on world-wide reconnaissance missions between 1986 and 1989.  In May of 1988, after hydraulic loss and other landing gear and aircraft complications, he successfully crash-landed a “dead-stick” U-2, with a flamed-out engine and main gear up, on Beale AFB’s runway.
Rob Rowe is a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School’s ‘89B class, and was assigned as an Operations officer of the Edwards AFB Bomber Test Squadron after his graduation, working the B-1 and B-52 programs from 1990 until 1992.  The programs he oversaw were the B-1 conventional weapons integration, Advanced Cruise Missile, and the Tri-Service Stand-off Attack Missile (TSSAM).  Rob was at the controls during the first successful launch of a TSSAM off a B-52.
After retiring from the USAF in 1993, Rowe worked briefly as an FTE on the C-17, then as a test pilot on the U-2 until he became the U-2 Chief Test Pilot with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in 1997.  In September of 1994, Rob piloted the first flight of the U-2 “S” model (new engine and autopilot), and in December of 1998 he flew the first U-2 PEMI jet (power and electrical upgrades).
Overall, Rowe has over 31 years of pilot experience on AF/DARPA projects and 20+ years on Lockheed Martin projects, including being the first flight pilot of the X-55A/Advanced Cargo Composite Aircraft’s flight on June 6th, 2009.  He has logged a total of 9300 flight hours, 5300 of them on the U-2 aircraft.
Rob Rowe retired from the USAF Reserves in 2006 as a Colonel.