Bob Gilliland logged more experimental flight test time above Mach 2 and Mach 3 than any other pilot in history. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the International Air and Space Hall of Fame, and he was presented with the Iven C. Kincheloe Award. A native of Memphis, Gilliland graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, transferred to the newly independent U.S. Air Force, and flew twenty-five combat missions as a F-84 fighter pilot in the Korean War. He died at the age of ninety-three on July 4, 2019. Keith Dunnavant is the author of eight books, including Spy Pilot, a true story of Cold War intrigue and redemption, as well as definitive biographies of Paul "Bear" Bryant, Joe Montana, and Bart Starr. He goes deeper into the Blackbird story in his documentary film, First Flight, Last Flight. Once a prominent sportswriter and magazine entrepreneur and editor, Dunnavant directed coverage of sports, business, media, culture, and politics. He has been a featured historian on ESPN, CBS, HBO, Showtime, Epix and SEC Network.
"Bob had an exemplary military career and was a consummate test
pilot. . . . He didn't just pave the way for future test pilots; he
trailblazed new roads courageously, safely, and without a scratch.
Bob was truly a hero's hero."--Dick Rutan, commander, Rutan
"Bob Gilliland spent his entire career pushing life's boundaries. In Speed we see him play a pivotal role as the SR-71 Blackbird dramatically extended the aviation frontier. You'll love this thrill ride into the life of a legendary test pilot. This book brings you so close to the action that you can feel the excitement and smell the jet fuel."--Gen. Steve Ritchie, the only U.S. Air Force fighter pilot ace of the Vietnam War
"This fascinating book puts you in the cockpit with Bob Gilliland."--Jim Lovell, astronaut and commander of Apollo 13