Tom Stafford

General Tom Stafford, A pioneering astronaut with an enviable spaceflight record, his NASA days formed just part of an amazing career to which ALL of his contemporaries could only aspire. A veteran of 4 historic space missions, he is also largely responsible for 60% of the current US Air Force strike capability -stealth bombers to F16s, refuelling tankers to Tomahawk missiles.

General Stafford’s list of honours and accolades for services to aerospace and engineering reads like a who’s who of such and of itself speaks volumes for the man’s achievements. Perhaps his proudest being the 2011 recipient of The Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy: an annual award bestowed upon some of the most historic aviation leaders the world has known. It would seem only right and fitting.

Tom’s journey to Pontefract was problematic; he arrived just an hour before Friday’s photo shoot started. He quickly freshened up, signed the auction pieces and was soon pressing the flesh in the photo room. Circumstances surrounding the event only served to heighten the sense of appreciation and the standing ovation afforded the General as he entered the dining room was genuine and heartfelt.

Never before have we had a speaker with such a breadth of knowledge and first- hand experience of the aerospace industry. From his early days as a Test Pilot at Edwards Force Air Base through firing “bottle rockets” at Soviet policemen in 1974 and his aerospace work beyond, the breadth of knowledge, detail and insight afforded by Tom sprinkled with a goodly number of anecdotes and jokes was quite remarkable. Thank you General Stafford for a wonderful event.




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