FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nevada Aeropace Hall of Fame Director Steps Down
Las Vegas— The director of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame will step down Sunday (March 31st).
Thornton D. “T.D.” Barnes has served as Director since 2008 and is a cofounder of the organization. Barnes gained notoriety by sharing his work experiences in many recently declassified famous secret programs. He steps down to devote more time to his family business.
T.D. began his unique career life in the 1950s working as an Army intelligence specialist and later trained on Nike Ajax, Nike Hercules and HAWK air defense surface-t0-air missile systems.
After he left the military, Barnes served as an electronics engineer with NASA, flight testing the X-15, a rocket-powered experimental aircraft; XB-70, a large experimental bomber aircraft; and the Lunar Lander prototypes and lifting bodies. Lifting bodies were a major area of research in NASA’s efforts to develop a small, lightweight manned spacecraft.
Barnes also served with Project OXCART which dealt with flight testing the CIA A-12, Air Force YF-12, and SR-71 Blackbird flights–secret, high-performance, high-altitude intelligence gathering aircraft.
Additionally, Barnes served at the Flight Dynamic Laboratory at Wright Patterson as a team member developing the Apollo space capsule. The Apollo program was the third space flight program carried out by the NASA that put American astronauts on the moon. Also during his NASA employment, Barnes worked as a hypersonic and space flight support specialist for high Mach and hypersonic flight testing.
In the late 1950s Barnes was recruited to Groom Lake, Nevada, as part of a special projects team. He operated under a code name, serving as cadre’ for ultra-secret projects, most of which remain classified. However, Barnes shares his experiences about declassified activities, including the CIA’s A-12 Project OXCART; and the Soviet MiG exploitation projects, which were the genesis of the Navy’s Top Gun and the Air Force’s Red Flag exercises.
Called by code name Constant Peg, a secret squadron located at the isolated Tonopah, Nevada airfield carried on with his Groom Lake projects to analyze and flight test Soviet MiG aircraft. The information provided helped US aircrews develop tactics to effectively defend against and defeat Cold War Soviet aircraft.
In another program from which we now reap benefits, Barnes participated in Project Have Blue, which began the development of stealth technology used in fighter and bomber aircraft today.
He also worked at NASA’s Nuclear Rocket Development Station in Jackass Flats to assist in the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application to develop a nuclear engine for future manned flight to Mars. Additionally, he participated in the Atomic Energy Commission’s testing of the atomic bomb.
After retirement, Barnes went into business and formed an oil and gas exploration company. Later he sold his oil business and invested in a mining company where he serves as president.
“I am glad that I was able to help start such a wonderful organization whose goal is to preserve the important accomplishments of Nevadans. So much of their work was vital to our country’s national security. We have a unique setup here in Nevada with the programs that were carried out here. Many, we can’t talk about, but as the government declassifies the events, we can tell their stories. I am amazed and humbled at the accomplishments that aviation pioneers made here, and I am glad I can be a part of keeping their story alive,” Barnes said.
He also volunteers his time with several organizations. Barnes is president of Roadrunners Internationale, Association for Intelligence Officers, Central Intelligence Retirement Association, U-2 Dragon Ladies Association, SR-71 Blackbird Association, Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, Flight Test Historical Foundation, and National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Barnes will be replaced by fellow co-founder of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame, Robert E. Friedrichs, who currently serves as the deputy director for NVAHOF. Friedrichs is retired from the National Nuclear Security Administration and is an avid aviation enthusiast and historian.
The Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame is a non-profit, educational institution dedicated to preserving the legacy of the men and women who pioneered aerospace within the State of Nevada. The mission of NVAHOF is unique as it especially recognizes and honors the men and women who worked in secrecy at various locations in Nevada. NVAHOF also honors individuals who were not native to Nevada, but were associated with the Battle Born state; whose careers enhanced the aerospace climate worldwide or in space.
The NVAHOF maintains an accessible archive of Nevada aviation history on its web site. A virtual museum and research archive can be found on the web site at Nvahof.org. Long-range plans include housing its museum collection in a facility.
The co-founders of NVAHOF are Thornton D. “T.D.” Barnes and Robert E Friedrichs.
For more information, contact: Robert Friedrichs,3334 Southridge Ave., Las Vegas NV, 89121 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or phone(702) 791-3536.
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