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COL. DONN A. BYRNES

May 29, 1931 - January 23, 2012

Col. Donn A. Byrnes

Colonel insignia U.S. Air Force Command Pilot

Col. Donn A. Byrnes, USAF Ret, the son of a career U.S. Army doctor and his wife, was born on 29 May 1931. After many moves about this country, a short stay in Hawaii, and attendance in eighteen different schools, Donn graduated from Edison High School, San Antonio, Texas, in 1949. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 at age nineteen after three and a half semesters of pre-med at the University of Texas.

F-84Progressing from PFC aircraft mechanic to Aviation Cadet and Air Force pilot, he flew F-84s and F-86Ds in the U.S., Japan, and Guam. In 1958 he and his family returned to the U.S. to attend an Air Force Institute ofF-86 Technology-sponsored program in electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. Returning with BSEE in hand to Wright Field, Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio, in 1962, he negotiated an assignment to Project 665A (Reconnaissance/Strike). Unknowingly he had hit upon one of the seed programs for the SR-71 sensors. It was as sensor and systems integration engineer at Wright Field that Donn met Ken Hurley and, in early 1964, was briefed into the SR-71 program. Absorbed by the Blackbird development effort, Captain Byrnes was transferred to Edwards AFB, California in July 1964, where he became the SR-71 Sensor Test Engineer and Flight Test Engineer. He left Edwards SR-71 Blackbirdin 1968 to become Base Commander at Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Returning to the U.S. in 1969 he was reassigned to the SR-71 Program, and almost immediately transferred to the F-15 Program, where he was Airframe Projects Manager, Deputy Chief Engineer and, finally, Director of Projects. In 1975 Donn left the F-15 System Program Office (SPO) and assumed the job of Director of Engineering at the Air Force Contract Management Division, Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Colonel Byrnes retired in November 1978 after accumulating more than 3,200 pilot hours, most of which was single engine jet time. Returning to engineering, he worked for DynCorp, Raytheon, BDM, and other technical services companies until 1987, when he and his oldest daughter, Kathleen, formed an engineering consulting and database management company. Since 1977 Donn and his wife Sparks have made their home on a small patch of desert mesa near Los Lunas, New Mexico. Colonel Byrnes is a member of Roadrunners Internationale and the published author of Blackbird Rising.

About Blackbird Rising, - the Blackbird:Blackbird Rising If you want to know how the SR-71 came about, and who did what to whom, you need to read this book. The Blackbird, the nickname given to the SR-71, was forged from 1950s and 60s components merged with aerodynamics and structural metallurgy from the cutting edge. An aircraft with capabilities like no other, capabilities unequaled even today.

The books cost 17.95 USD and the cost of shipping in the US is 3.00 per book for Media Mail and $5.00 per book for Priority. For international orders the cost of shipping is 9.00 USD for Global Priority, arrives in 7 to 10 days. We respond to e-mail queries within 24 hours. We are unable to process credit cards at the present time.

Order Online

sagemesa@swcp.com

NEW RELEASE - JULY 2007

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It is my sad duty to report the final flight of Col. Donn A. Byrnes, USAF Ret. The loss of Colonel Byrnes leaves a void in the aviation community that will be impossible to fill. He was a corner post to all our aviation reunions and events as well as in the aviation literary world where he published books about aviation. Colonel Byrnes was a mustang who chose to remain in the Air Force rather than pursue the medical field that was his heritage. He advanced from being a PFC aircraft mechanic to Aviation Cadet and Air Force pilot. He flew F-84s and F-86Ds in the U.S., Japan, and Guam before attending an Air Force Institute of Technology-sponsored program in electrical engineering at the University of Texas. He earned his BSEE that led to his being a SR-71 Sensor Test Engineer and Flight Test Engineer. Colonel Byrnes served as Base Commander at Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Following that assignment, he served as Airframe Projects Manager, Deputy Chief Engineer and, finally, Director of Projects. with the F-15 System Program Office (SPO). He retired from the Air Force from the position of Director of Engineering at the Air Force Contract Management Division, Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Colonel Byrnes retired in November 1978 after accumulating more than 3,200 pilot hours, most of which was single engine jet time. Returning to engineering, he worked for DynCorp, Raytheon, BDM, and other technical services companies until 1987, when he and his oldest daughter, Kathleen, formed an engineering consulting and database management company. Colonel Byrnes was a member of Roadrunners Internationale and the published author of two books: Blackbird Rising and Air Superiority Blue, an F-15 story. Since 1977, Donn and his wife Sparks have made their home on a small patch of desert mesa near Los Lunas, New Mexico. Donn leaves a legacy of being a gentleman with compassion for his fellow man. He will be long remembered by his many friends. Our condolences to Sparky and the rest of his family and friends.

Link to French's Mortuary Notice that allows friends and colleagues an opportunity to post their thoughts



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