On the first Saturday of each month, the Planes of Fame Air Museum, 7000 Merrill #17, China, Calif., holds a Living History Day event. The theme for the Saturday, Oct. 6 event is “Pioneering Experimental and Jet Aircraft.” This event is open to the public.
Speaking on this topic will be Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas (Ret.). The presentation is followed by a question and answer period then, at noon, a flight demonstration of the N9MB Flying Wing. The world’s only flying example.
Brigadier General Robert L. “Bob” Cardenas, USAF (retired) began his military career in the Army Air Corps, becoming a pilot. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in July 1941. In 1944 he flew combat missions in B-24 Liberators over Germany, where he was shot down on his 20th mission. After evading capture, he eventually returned to the U.S. where he became a test pilot.
He participated in the flight test evaluation of the German jet fighter ME-262 and the Arado 234 bomber. He also aided in pioneering the Air Force’s first jet fighter and bomber, the P-59 and XB-45 respectively. In 1947 Major Cardenas was the Officer In Charge of Operations and command pilot of the B-29 during the Bell X-1 supersonic project that launched Captain Chuck Yeager into supersonic flight.
In 1948, he was assigned as Officer in Charge of Flight Test Division projects at Muroc AB and as Chief Air Force test pilot on the YB-49 flying wing project. After completion of the Performance Phase II tests he checked out Captain Glen Edwards in the YB-49. In 1949, after reporting test results of the YB-49, he flew the YB-49 non-stop from Muroc AFB to Andrews AFB in Washington, setting a record time of just over 4 hours.
During his military career, Cardenas held many significant posts: Commander of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing at Naha AB; assigned to the Pentagon as Chief of the Aircraft and Missiles Program Division; assigned as Chief of the Special Operations Division at US Strike Command Headquarters in Tampa, Florida; led a joint Army & Air Force Special Force into the Kashmir, India for the purpose of evaluating and improving high altitude resupply drops; Commander of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kadena AFB; flew F-105 combat missions over North Vietnam; Commander of the 835th Air Division at McConnell AFB, training F-105 crews for combat in Vietnam; promoted to Brigadier General and placed in Command of the Air Force Special Operations Force at Eglin & Hurlburt AFB, Florida; inductee into the Air Commando Hall of Fame; assigned in Europe as Vice Commander of the 16th Air Force in Spain (while there he negotiated with Muammar Gadhafi the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Wheelus AFB in Libya); the U.S. Deputy to Live Oak in Belgium, maintaining open corridors to Berlin for SACEUR; and Chief of the JL Division of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) where he was responsible for the development of the Joint Strategic Target List of the US nuclear War Plan (SIOP).
Cardenas is highly educated and highly decorated, receiving numerous military citations, medals, honors and awards, which continued into civilian life. As a combat veteran and test pilot, he has flown over 60 different aircraft in his career.
About Planes of Fame Air Museum
The Planes of Fame Air Museum, founded in 1957 by Edward Maloney, is where aviation history lives. It is the oldest independently operated aviation museum in the United States. The mission of Planes of Fame Air Museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum sponsors regular events in the form of inspirational experiences, educational presentations, flight demonstrations, and air shows in fulfillment of this mission. Visit Planes of Fame Air Museum website www.planesoffame.org for more information..