Tucson, Arizona 2021-05-05 17:32:26 –
Tucson, Arizona (KGUN) — Southern Arizona has strong ties to the Air Force and many pilots are retiring in the area.
Where is it Friday pilot Come in.
A group of retired pilots capture the spirit of Southern Arizona.
They meet every Friday at Hacienda del Sol for lunch.
Recently, the group spent a day signing 600 copies of their new book filled with those old flying stories, instead of exchanging old flying stories.
“First of all, none of them are true,” joked former astronaut and fighter pilot Jim McDavid.
There are currently about 30 Friday pilots.
Bob Burnett is the only founding member left by a handful of pilots who started having lunch together in the 1980s.
Burnett was an F-105 pilot shot down in Vietnam in 1967.
“I spent 1,989 days as a POW for five and a half years,” Burnett recalled.
At the age of 92, Burnett admits that it had a huge impact on his life. It’s also the way he got to Tucson after he was released, and the way he became a member of the Friday pilot.
“Everyone has a story,” Burnett said. “You have a story, everyone has a story. It’s interesting what people did and what they did. Especially this group. They all did a lot.”
The Friday Pilot’s book records those achievements.
The first book was simply called The Friday Pilots. Each chapter was a story from a different pilot.
Now they have released a sequel.
“About Geezer Butler-a life lesson from an old pilot,” said Don Sheppard, who summarized the story of a fellow Friday pilot. “We talked about our lives in our first book. Now we talk about what we learned from living those lives in early aviation.”
These are all highly decorated Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps pilots who flew everything from B-29 bombers to SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft.
“All these people have experienced some really, really interesting events,” Shepherd explained. “We have them in the book.”
This includes perhaps the most famous member of the Friday pilot, Jim McDavid.
He flew twice in space, commanding both the Gemini 4 mission and later the Apollo 9 mission.
But the 91-year-old quickly points out that it’s not all he did.
“I wasn’t just starting to be an astronaut,” McDivitt said. “I was an Air Force pilot and flew in many battles during the Korean War. I was a test pilot, so that wasn’t a big step for me.”
It wasn’t a big step for Don Shepherd either.
The driving force behind the book, Shepherd, is a retired fighter pilot, former Air National Guard captain, and CNN analyst.
Now he has found a way to turn his Friday pilot group into a giving-back organization.
“All the fees and profits of this book will be paid to Fisherhouse,” Shepherd said. “The Fisher House is basically the military Ronald McDonald House.”
About $ 5 for every book sold Fisher House.. Both Friday Pilot books are available online.
Tucson’s Friday Pilots soar in new book chronically remarkable history Source link Tucson’s Friday Pilots soar in new book chronically remarkable history