Robert L. Stephens

Robert L. Stephens

Test Pilot
Born Dec 1, 1921

Robert L. "Silver Fox" Stephens was an American United States Air Force test pilot who set several speed and altitude records while testing the Lockheed YF-12 and SR-71.

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1921 Birth Born on December 1, 1921.


1939 17 Years Old Robert L. Stephens was born and raised in Gilmer, Texas graduating from Gilmer High School in 1939 and from Texas A&M University in 1943 with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering. … Read More


1949 27 Years Old Stephens rose to the top of his profession as a test pilot for some of the most exotic aircraft in the USAF inventory. In 1949, he graduated from the Air Materiel Command Experimental Test Pilot School at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with Class 49D. He was called the "Silver Fox" due to his prematurely gray hair which he kept in a neatly trimmed crew cut.


1952 30 Years Old In 1952, Stephens arrived at Edwards Air Force Base, California to serve as Chief of Fighter Operations.


1963 41 Years Old From 1963 to 1968, he served as test director of the YF-12 and SR-71 test force. … Read More
1965 43 Years Old 1 More Event
On 1 May 1965, at Edwards Air Force Base, pilot Stephens and fire control officer Daniel Andre, established four world speed and altitude records in the YF-12A. … Read More
1966 44 Years Old On June 18, 1966, a parade was held in Gilmer, Texas to celebrate "Bobby Stephens Day". … Read More


1984 63 Years Old Stephens died in 1984 and was buried in Gilmer City Cemetery. … Read More
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