Paul D. Tackabury (LtCol USAF, Ret) – Misty 148 “Headed West” on March 21, 2021
The Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) was saddened to learn of the “Last Flight” of Paul Douglas Tackabury on 27 March 2021. He was 76.
Paul joined The Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 1980 and became an Associate Fellow in 1991.
Paul graduated from Canastota Central High School, NY in 1962 before entering the USAF Academy in 1963 and graduating in 1967. He served in the United States Air Force from 1967 to 1987. He received his Master of Science, Systems Management degree from the University of Southern California in 1979.
Paul spent the last 2 years of his active duty with the USAF in the Pentagon on the Air Staff as the Chief of the Technology Division in the Low Observables Directorate. He led the development of advanced technology, studied potential vulnerabilities of highly classified new aircraft programs, and managed multi-billion-dollar budgets.
Paul was selected as the USAF Test Pilot in the classified F-117 program during the research and development phase. He participated in the aggressive and challenging flight test program and had the direct responsibilities in assuring that the many stealthy technical design features were properly integrated to form a useable and dependable Weapon System.
Paul was the Flying Safety Officer for the F-117 detachment and Chief of Development Test and Evaluation in charge of performance and flying qualities evaluation and avionics integration of the F-117 during its development phase. For his efforts, he was designated as the Director of the F-117 Combined Test Force as the program transitioned from research and development to production.
After joining Northrop in 1987 he was selected as one of two competing contractors for the Advanced Tactical Fighter Program and was designated as the Manager of the Test and Evaluation for the YF-23 Northrop ATF prototype aircraft. He was responsible for setting and revising priorities in order to maximize flight test results on this fluid program. The flight test program was conducted at Edwards Air Force Base by a Northrop/USAF YF-23 combined test force where two prototypes demonstrated the soundness and capabilities of the Northrop design. His previous experience with the F-117 test program was instrumental in the success of this high-risk test program.
In 1991 he served as the Manager of Advanced Weaponization and later as the Manager of Business Development in Northrop Grumman’s -2 Division. He developed the organization responsible for the design, development, and testing of the satellite-guided gravity bomb system. He was promoted to Vice President for Business and Advanced Systems Development in the B-2 Division where he oversaw all new science and technology projects in that organization. Paul’s contributions to the technically challenging satellite bombing system on the B-2 resulted in precision combat power of America’s long-range bomber during the Balkan campaigns.
Paul Tackabury’s Aviation Life Celebration will be held in October, near Paul’s birthday, which was October 14, a date of “sound breaking” significance in aviation history.
Sunday, October 17, 2021 @ 2:00 PM
Cal Aero Aviation
14925 Cal Aero Drive
Hangar B-181 ( next to the main gate)
Chino, CA 91710
Everyone is Welcome!
Information sent by Pamela Tackabury.