Thomas A. Morgenfeld
Lockheed F-117 Flight Test Pilot
Thomas A. Morgenfeld, a 1965 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, was designated a Naval Aviator in 1967. He had two fleet tours flying the F-8 Crusader where he flew 90 combat missions and amassed over 500 carrier landings. Between those tours he attended the United States Naval Postgraduate School where he earned his MS degree in aeronautical engineering. In 1975 he attended the Empire Test Pilots’ School in England, winning the McKenna Trophy as top student in his class. In 1976 Tom was ordered to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron FOUR where he participated in several classified test programs in addition to serving as the F-18 Project Pilot. In 1979 Tom went onto USAF exchange duty with the 4477th Test and Evaluation Flight where he was responsible for all USN involvement with the then top secret flying of MiG airplanes for exploitation purposes. At the end of that tour, he left active duty but went on to complete a 26-year naval career. His final billet was as commander of the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake reserve unit.
Tom joined Lockheed’s Skunk Works in December 1979. He was first assigned to the F-117 program and went on to fly almost 1300 hours in developing that aircraft. In 1989 he went to the Advanced Tactical Fighter program where he was primarily responsible for flying the second YF-22A prototype. After Lockheed won that competition, Tom was named Chief Test Pilot for the YF-22A follow-on test program. In 1991 he was named Chief Test Pilot for the Skunk Works and in 1999 was promoted to Director of Flight Operations as well. Tom was the Chief Test Pilot on the Joint Strike Fighter program where he performed the first flight on the X-35 and tested all three versions of the airplane. He served as an Engineering Technical Fellow of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. until his retirement in 2004. Tom then worked over three years as a Test Pilot Instructor at the National Test Pilot School and is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees at that school. Over the years he has accumulated over 7,000 hours in more than 80 different aircraft.
A retired Navy Captain, Mr. Morgenfeld is a Fellow and past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots as well as a Senior Member of AIAA. He has received SETP’s Iven C. Kincheloe Award for excellence in flight testing, is a member of two Collier Trophy winning teams, and has been inducted into both the Aerospace Walk of Honor and the Golden Eagles. A native of Hamburg, NY, he is married to the former Norma K. Shoemaker, also of Hamburg. They have two sons, Captain Steven A. Morgenfeld USN, Senior Defense Attaché to the Republic of South Africa, and Mr. Michael F. Morgenfeld, the Director of Cartography for Perseus Publications.
Jon S. Beesley
USAF F-117 Test Pilot
Jon S. Beesley was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho. He graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. Degree in Physics and was commissioned in the USAF in 1972. Following USAF pilot training and conversion training in the F-4 Phantom II, he served 4 years as an F-4 pilot stationed in the Netherlands with the 32 TFS. Jon graduated from USAF Test Pilot School in 1979 and began his test pilot career at Edwards AFB working on classified programs.
Selected as the Operations Officer (1981-1986) for the F-117 Stealth Fighter, he had the good fortune to be one of the first USAF pilot to fly the stealth fighter. In this testing, his efforts focused on flying qualities and envelope expansion flights. He was a co-recipient of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots – Ivan C. Kincheloe award, the top award given for his work in the early days of the F-117 program. He was also presented with an Air Medal by the USAF Chief of Staff for safely recovering an F-117 badly damaged during a destructive flutter incident later in the program.
Jon left the Air Force in 1986 and joined the General Dynamics Corporation in Fort Worth Texas. As a General Dynamics Test Pilot, he flew development flights on an innovative night attack system on the F-16 called “FALCON EYE”. The program was one of the first to use helmet mounted displays and head steered infrared devices on a tactical aircraft. He also became the General Dynamics test pilot on the YF-22 in the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition in 1990. Following the selection of the YF-22 as the USAF’s next fighter, he moved into the F-22 program as the Fort Worth Project Pilot.
His efforts with the F-22 program were focused on the development and subsequent flight testing of the F-22 Raptor. The primary area of emphasis was aircraft systems integration, development of superb flying qualities and agility throughout the Raptor’s flight envelope. He was the second pilot to fly the F-22 and one of the lead pilots in envelope expansion flights. He was awarded the Chuck Yeager award in 2000 by the Engineers Council of Southern California for his career achievements as a test Pilot.
Jon was the Chief Test Pilot on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from June 2002 to January 2011. As chief test pilot he was involved in development of all aircraft systems and the handling characteristics of all three variants of the F-35. He flew the First flight of the F-35 on 15 Dec 2006. For his work on the initial air worthiness phase of the program he received a second Ivan C. Kincheloe award from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in September 2007. He flew all 3 variants of the F-35 in envelope expansion flight testing including the Short Takeoff / Vertical Landing variant – the F-35 B. In January 2011, he was the third pilot to perform a vertical landing in the F-35 B. This was the first vertical landing by a pilot with no prior experience in vertical landing aircraft. His last flight in the F-35 occurred in January 2011. He retired 1 February 2011. During his career he flew over 50 different typed of aircraft and accumulated approximately 6000 hours of flying time. Recognized in December 2011 as a Distinguished Alumnus of the United States Air Force Test Pilot School.
He served as Mission President of the Alaska Anchorage Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from July 2011 to July 2014.
Larry D. McClain
USAF Test Wing Commander
A pioneer in stealth technology, Colonel Larry D. McClain flew some of the earliest tests in radar absorbent materials (RAM) and, as the commander of HAVE GLIB, guided both prototype and initial F-117 flight tests. He ended his career as Northrop’s manager for flight test of the B-2 Bomber.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University in 1952 and entered the Air Force as an Aviation Cadet, remaining on duty for 29 years. Following his graduation from the USAF Test Pilot School in 1958, his first test task was to fly a T-33 coated with RAM. His subsequent tests included all weather T-37, F-4 and RF-4C missions, cold weather testing of the RF-4C, radar suppression, automatic landing systems, an atomic bomb test and development tests in the F-4 and F-15.
Colonel McClain flew 6,800 hours in 53 different aircraft. Flying the F-4, he completed 200 combat missions in Vietnam. His most memorable aircraft were the T-6D, an F-100 and a T-33 equipped with thrust reversers, an F-94C and F-101B with open cockpits, the F-86, F-104 and F-15.
At Edwards Air Force Base, he served on the F-4 Test Team, as Deputy Commandant of the Test Pilot School, Director of the F-15 Joint Test Force and Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations.
Colonel McClain is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and has been honored with two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Meritorious Service Medals, eight Bronze Stars, Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Aerospace Laurels and the Aerospace Walk of Honor.
Larry D. McClain was born in Aurora, Illinois in 1930. He cannot remember a time that he did not dream of being a pilot. He now lives outside Tehachapi with his wife, Theresa. Their daughter Kate lives in the Bay Area.
McClain calls himself an undisciplined but lucky pilot. He is also a lucky man: as he explains it, “during my 29 years in the Air Force I did everything I ever dreamed of when I was a boy and some things I never dreamed possible.”
Lockheed F-117 Flight Test Pilot
Dave was a native of Altoona, PA, held a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska and a Masters Degree in Mathematics from Arizona State University. Entering the US Air Force as an Aviation Cadet in 1960, he became a fighter pilot and completed two tours in Viet Nam flying the F-105. He graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School with Class 71B. As a Test Pilot he was stationed at the Air Force Flight Test Center for 8 years testing the F-105, F-4E, U-2 and several classified prototype aircraft. He was awarded the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, a Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster and the Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters.
Following retirement from the USAF, he joined the Lockheed Skunk Works in 1979 where he conducted the initial development of the F-117A Stealth fighter. He went on to become the Chief Test Pilot for the YF-22A and in that role conducted the first flight and initial air worthiness evaluations. Following award of the F-22 contract Dave was selected as the Director of Flight Operations and Director of Flight Test for the Skunk Works. Dave retired from Lockheed in 1997.
Dave joined SETP in 1973, upgraded to Fellow in 1990 and served as President during the 1997-1998 term. He is a two-time winner of the Iven C. Kincheloe Award for his work on the F-117A and YF-22A. He was also as a member of the Red River Valley Pilots Association and AIAA. In 2008, Dave was inducted into the Lancaster, California Aerospace Walk of Honor.
USAF F-117 Chief Pilot and Test Force Commander
My start on the program was amazing. I got a phone call from Larry McLain on a Saturday morning. He said he had a job for me but couldn’t tell me anything about it. Would I accept? Of course I said yes and got a call from my wing Commander a couple hours later. He said a Col McLain called to say I was leaving in a couple weeks. He protested to the Pentagon and was told to forget it.
A couple weeks later I was in Las Vegas and given my first task. I had to hire 40 maintenance guys and was given a list of about 150 candidates. I couldn’t hire maintenance guys, so I went to Myrtle Beach AFB, went to Wing Maintenance headquarters and asked to talk to the CMSGT in charge. There I met Al Lablue. I gave him the pitch about a great and unknown job. Amazingly he said yes and brought along a couple others. I immediately gave Al the task of hiring the 40 guys. He hired the best 40 guys you have ever seen.
The Air Force started sending the guys to Las Vegas quickly in spite it taking at least six months to get a program clearance. So I told them to enjoy their vacation. This worked until some wives got suspicious and started the rumor that we would be the second attempt to rescue the Iran hostages. So we organized a dinner at Col Dick Guild’s house. He was the commander of the TAC part of the Test Force and had a great pool. After dinner I assembled the wives in the living room and tried to assure them their husbands would be gone every week, but not out of the country. I emphasized they should not tell anyone what we talked about. Thought I did pretty good until the trip home when Karen said it all sounded like BS, which it was. Some of the wives took me so seriously that some of the husbands complained their wives knew more about their jobs than they did.
As program clearances came in we started going to the Skunk Works every week. We had three King Airs. This established our Test Force attitude as the maintenance guys spread out through the Skunk Works. They met the engineers and maintenance guys, helped develop procedures and write technical manuals. From there on we were one organization under the leadership of the Skunk Works and particularly Dick Abrams and “Red” McDaris.
Charles P. “Pete” Winters
USAF F-117 Flight Test Vice Wing Commander
Charles P. “Pete” Winters was born in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1937 and graduated from Pillsbury Military Academy, Owatonna, Minn. In June 1955. He was accepted into the first class at the U.S. Air Force Academy, graduating in June 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He earned his pilot wings at Laredo AFB, Texas, in July 1960 and was selected to fly the F-100. After completing F-100 tactical training at Luke AFB, Arizona, and Nellis AFB, Nevada, he was assigned to the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air base, Japan, with duty in both Japan and Korea. In July 1963 he transferred to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina. He was subsequently assigned to the 352nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, and the 354th TFW Standardization Office, with operational NATO duties at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Aviano Air Base, Italy.
From June 1966 to March 1968, Winters attended the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering. After a short period of requalification training in the F-100 he returned to the 352nd TFS, then stationed at Phan Rang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. From July 1968 to June 1969 he flew 298 combat missions and accumulated 478 combat hours in the F-100.
Winters was selected to attend the Aerospace research Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, as part of Class 69B. Upon graduation in July 1970 he was awarded the Liethen-Tittle Trophy, presented to the pilot in each class who achieves the best overall record for outstanding flying performance and academic excellence.
Winters remained at Edwards as a test pilot with the F-111 Joint Test Force. As project pilot he conducted unaugmented stability envelope expansion tests in the F-111E. He was also project pilot for nuclear weapons delivery envelope expansion, testing separation clearance for the B43, B57, and B61 shapes from the weapons bay and wing pylons. All separations were the first to be accomplished from the F-111 aircraft. In addition he conducted F-111E engine-icing tests, F-111F weapon system tests, and FB-111A refused takeoff tests. He also flew a series of series of tests to evaluate the stall, post-stall gyration and spin characteristics of the F-111A. On 12 September 1972, the aircraft entered an uncontrolled spin and crashed. Winters and his flight test engineer, Sgt. Patrick S. Sharp, ejected safely using the escape capsule system. Following the accident, Winters tested a stall-inhibitor system and a sideslip limiter that were subsequently added to the F-111 fleet, thus eliminating uncontrolled departures.
While assigned to the F-111 JTF, he was one of two pilots to participate in HAVE LEMON, a project to develop an armed remotely piloted vehicle for enemy defense suppression missions. In March 1971, Teledyne Ryan began modification of four Model 234 drones to BGM-34A configuration with the capability to carry and launch the AGM-65 Maverick electro-optically guided missile that was also capable of telemetering video from the seeker head back to controllers as the missile locked onto its target. Using DC-30 aircraft as launch platforms, the 6514th Test Squadron conducted five captive carry flights to resolve interface problems between airborne subsystems, and 10 free flights. Two drones were lost in accidents before the system was deemed ready for the first live fire test.
A little more than nine months after the initial go-ahead, the system was successfully demonstrated with a direct hit against a simulated surface-to-air missile site. This was the first ever, direct hit scored by a missile launched from a remotely piloted vehicle. A week later, this feat was duplicated with the missile essentially flying through the hole made by the first missile. The controller was able to use the drone’s own TV camera to visually follow the weapon’s trajectory to impact and assess damage to the target.
Winters also participated in project HAVE LIME, a follow-on study that concentrated on the high-threat defense suppression scenario and the identification of key factors for countering this threat through the use of standoff weaponry. Using the earlier HAVE LEMON Defense Suppression Program as a departure point, HAVE LIME was chartered to take a longer-term look at defense suppression from a total system point of view. The scope of the study encompassed the problem of defense suppression in general, system design goals based on a thorough analysis of target characteristics, and survivability of missiles and drones in the postulated threat environment. The HAVE LIME team developed weapon, command
and control, and surveillance concepts to meet design goals. In February 1972 the BGM-34A was again used to repeatedly strike a target, this time with a Stubby HOBOS electro-optical glide bomb guided by an integral autopilot.
Winters and another project pilot perfected the control consoles and procedures that resulted in the first successful deliveries of electro-optical and anti-radiation weapons from a remotely piloted vehicle. Although these systems were not employed during the Vietnam conflict, the HAVE LEMON and HAVE LIME demonstrations paved the way for a method of warfare that became commonplace in the early 21st century with operators in Nevada controlling drones in combat over Southwest Asia.
In August 1973, Winters began a nine month assignment as a project pilot for HAVE IDEA where he flew 11 evaluation flights of foreign fighter aircraft at Area 51, Groom Lake, Nevada. This included flying simulated combat maneuvers in a MiG-21F-13 against a preproduction F-15A prototype piloted by Maj. Roger J. Smith in a test nicknamed HAVE DRY.
At the same time, he was assigned as project pilot and operations officer with the F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards where he served as primary USAF test pilot for flying qualities, high angle-of-attack and aerial combat maneuvers. Winters conducted envelope expansion flights, determined flying qualities differences between the F-15A fighter and F-15B trainer models, and conducted more than 60 spin tests. He was instrumental in the discovery of a new phenomenon called “auto-roll” and was in charge of air combat maneuvering tests.
Winters attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces from August 1975 through June 1976. Upon graduation he was assigned as chief of procedures and training for command and control, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. In July 1977 he assumed command of the 23rd TFS at Spangdahlem Air Base, West Germany, where he flew the F-4D. As the only all-weather, long-range-navigation fighter squadron in Europe, the unit was heavily tasked and participated in numerous exercises, and was the lead unit for electro-optical sensor interoperability with NATO allies. The 23rd TFS received the USAFE Commander-in-Chief’s trophy as the best squadron in Europe for 1978. Winters finished his tour of duty in Europe as Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations of the 51st TFW at Spangdahlem.
Returning to the U.S. in July 1979, he was assigned as the first vice commander of Detachment 3, AFFTC, at Groom Lake. In May 1981, he assumed command of the detachment from Col. Larry McClain and was responsible for overseeing HAVE IDEA, SENIOR TREND, TACIT BLUE, and other classified test projects. At one time, Detachment 3 was the Responsible Test Organization for 12 high-priority, multi-service, special access programs. Under Winters’ supervision, the F-117A transitioned from prototype phase to initial operational capability in less than five years.
In July 1983 he was assigned as inspector general, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. In September 1985 the began a four month assignment as deputy commander for airborne warning and control systems and Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., after which he became deputy commander for tactical systems, joint tactical information distribution systems and airborne warning and control systems, Electronic Systems Division, also at Hanscom. He was promoted to brigadier general in April 1985. In October 1987 he returned to Andrews as deputy chief of staff for test and resources, Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, where he was responsible for all test and infrastructure resources including planning, management improvement, and utilization of real property, 330 aircraft, test facilities, and 57,000 personnel at 10 air bases.
Winters retired from active duty in 1988 and became a management consultant and vice president of for Air Force programs at Cypress International, Alexandria, VA, for three years before joining Westinghouse Electric Corporation as manager for international air traffic control and airport programs. He left the company in 1994 to serve as Director of Airports for Horry County, S.C., where he managed three civilian airfields and Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. When the base closed in 1993, he led the effort to convert it to civilian commercial use.
In 2000 he formed JT3 LLC, a joint venture of EG&G Technical Services Inc. and Raytheon Technical Services Company, to pursue the USAF Joint Technical Services (J-Tech) contract. This contract sought to consolidate eight technical support contracts at the Air Force Flight Test Center, China Lake Electronic Combat Range, Utah Test and Training Range, Nevada Test and Training Range, and the National Classified Test Facility at Groom Lake.
After JT3 won the contract in June 2001, Winters hired over 2,000 employees in just one month, thus permitting a seamless transition and uninterrupted technical support to all range users. As a result of his initiatives, the ranges were connected with a state of the art information management system that enabled government and JT3 managers to share data in near real time. JT3 is based in Las Vegas and provides operations and maintenance, engineering and technical services for instrumentation, communications and data systems, as well as hardware and software support; modeling, simulation and training; equipment modifications; information technology; test planning; scheduling and execution; and data collection, reduction and analysis. JT3 has been involved in testing such aircraft as the F-35 Lightning II, F-117 Nighthawk, the B-2 Spirit, and F-22 Raptor. Productivity on the J-Tech ranges improved steadily over the first three years of the contract, with an average cost avoidance of over $2 million a year through cross utilization of materiel and personnel resources. A single transfer of excess radar equipment and fiber optics from the Nevada ranges to China Lake in California save the Navy more than $500,000. Winters was instrumental in maturing the J-Tech concept and thereby bringing renewed leadership to providing technical support for Department of Defense test and training missions. He retired from JT3 on December 31, 2004, but continued to serve as a consultant and advisor.
During his long career he accrued more than 4,500 flying hours in 37 types of aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Combat Readiness Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
Harold C. Farley
Hal Farley became Director of Flight Operations and Chief Test Pilot of the Lockheed Advanced Development Company in 1989. He had served as Chief Test Pilot since 1983. He retired in September of 1991.
Farley joined Lockheed in 1979 as Experimental Test Pilot assigned as Project Pilot for the then Top Secret Stealth Fighter Program. He participated in all phases of the F-l l 7A project, including design, first flight, structural, flutter, weapon separation and weapon system testing and has logged over 600 hours in the F-117A.
Prior to joining Lockheed, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1959 to 1967 and was with Grumman Aircraft from 1967 to 1979. While in the Navy, he was assigned to Attack Squadron 164 (VA-164) flying A-4D aircraft aboard the U.S.S. Oriskany. Farley was then selected to attend the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland. After graduation, he was assigned to the Carrier Suitability Test Branch of the Flight Test Division performing tests on a variety of Navy aircraft, including the F-4 Phantom, F-8 Crusader, A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder and RA-5C Vigilante. Farley then joined Grumman Aircraft Company as an Experimental Test Pilot, testing the A-6 Intruder and the F-14 Tomcat, accumulating over 900 hours in the Tomcat.
Farley is a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He has 30 years flying experience with a total flight time of 5,700 hours, 3,600 hours of which were flight tests in fighter or attack aircraft. He is the recipient of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots Ivan C. Kincheloe award and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Octave Chanute Award. Both for work on the F-117A.
Farley was inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame in 1999.
He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, August 27, 1936. He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of New Mexico and was commissioned Ensign U.S.N. in 1959 (NROTC). He completed U.S. Navy Flight Training at Pensacola, Florida and Beeville, Texas and received his wings in 1960. He attended U.S. Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Maryland and graduated in October, 1964.
In 2002 he and his wife Ellen completed an 8 year voyage around the world in their 44 ft sailboat AIRBORNE. They then served a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after which they resumed their voyaging by boat, exploring British Columbia and Alaska until 2014. They currently reside in St George, Utah.