Record-holding pilot to speak in Andy Thursday

Published 12:17 am Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Retired Air Force pilot, Lt. Col. Ed Yeilding will discuss his record setting coast-to-coast flight in the SR-71 Blackbird during a presentation in Andalusia this week.

In 1990, the Florence, Ala.-native set the official coast-to-coast aircraft speed record, which still stands today. Yeilding, and Reconnaissance Systems Officer J.T. Vida flew coast-to-coast in 67 minutes and 54 seconds, reaching speeds up to 2,190 miles per an hour and an altitude of 83,000 feet. Today, the same SR-71 is on display at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport west of Washington, D.C.

Yeilding will speak at 4 p.m. Thurs., April 20, in city hall auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.

Yeilding was a 2007 inductee into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham and was added to the Walk of Honor near the Marriott Shoals Hotel in Florence in 2008. In 2011, he was named a Distinguished Eagle Scout. His military awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Medals, three Commendation Medals, and four Combat Readiness Medals.

Yeilding is a friend of Andalusia’s Terry Pickard, who organized the event.

At 7 that night, he will have a question and answer session at the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church.