Edwards celebrates 70 year anniversary of first supersonic flight, 70th Air Force Birthday

Posted at 10:29 AM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 20:33:09-04

This year the U.S. Air Force celebrates its 70th birthday. Coincidentally, Edwards Air Force Base celebrates the 70th anniversary of the first supersonic flight.


To mark the occasion, the installation is holding a two-day event with the Edwards AFB Family Day Oct. 13 and the Run with History event Oct. 14.


At 11 a.m. Oct. 13, a ceremony featuring guest speakers including retired Brig. Gen. Robert Cardenas will pay homage to the milestone flight made seven decades ago. Cardenas flew the B-29 launch aircraft that released the X-1 experimental rocket plane in which Charles E. Yeager, a captain at the time, became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound.


23ABC News will be live streaming the ceremony. Download the 23ABC mobile and tablet app to receive a notification when the stream begins.


As part of the ceremony, two formation flights are scheduled to pass overhead. The first formation – four F-16 Fighting Falcons and a B-1B Lancer – will perform some basic maneuvers over Edwards Air Force Base. The second formation – an F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15 Eagle, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II – is scheduled to fly over Edwards, then continue on a flight path over several cities in Southern California, including Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Bakersfield between noon and 1 p.m.


On the ground, aircraft on display will include historic and modern aircraft tested at Edwards. NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center will also have aircraft and exhibits, and a NASA astronaut is slated to participate in the ceremony.


That evening, the base will celebrate the Air Force’s 70th Birthday with a black-tie affair, the Air Force Birthday Ball.


Saturday, the festivities continue with the Edwards AFB third annual Run with History, a 5k, 10k and half-marathon held on Edwards airfield, to include Rogers Dry Lake, the site of Yeager’s historic X-1 flights and many other aviation milestones throughout the decades.


While blazing by various past, present and future aircraft, runners will experience the one-of-a-kind culture and landscape of Edwards AFB. There will be static displays and historical markers along the route as well as an exotic car show hosted by the Ferrari Club of America, Southwest Region, located at the start/finish line. 


Sonic Booms in 10 minute intervals will serve as the starting gun for each race.


For more information about the Edwards 70th Anniversary of Supersonic Flight celebration, go to


Friday’s events are NOT open to the public, but Saturday’s run is open to the public with pre-registration. Runners can register at


For information other Air Force Birthday events, visit


Media interested in covering the event should call 277-6082 to arrange access. Interviews may be arranged on request.