'Spirit of America'
October 26, 2019
A B-2 Spirit is depicted on an early morning test flight, accompanied by an F-16 safety chase plane. First flight of B-2 serial number 82-1066 took place on 17 July 1989 from Palmdale Airport to Edwards AFB. The first production aircraft was delivered in 1993 and initial operational capability was declared in 1997.
The original painting is by Colonel Mark Pestana, USAFR (ret), who is an official artist of the US Air Force Art Program. 14 of his paintings are in the Pentagon collection. Mark was a pilot and spaceflight operations engineer for the USAF and NASA. He flew 213 combat reconnaissance missions, flew NASA Earth Science missions worldwide, and helped develop the International Space Station.
Mark Pestana painted this to help celebrate an event (Saturday, Oct. 19 at the A.V. Fairgrounds) sponsored by the Flight Test Historical Foundation (Gathering of Eagles is the name of the event), a non-profit which raises funds to restore historic aircraft and build a new museum at Edwards Air Force Base for public access.
The Foundation celebrated the 30th anniversary of the B-2 first flight and honored the test pilots and project managers. They had a silent auction of aerospace memorabilia for fund raising. Pestana donated 50 percent of his sales to the Foundation.