Erika Armstrong accidentally entered aviation by working a desk at a local FBO to support herself in college. And THEN she became addicted to aviation. She worked her way up through the ranks, flying charters and Red Cross blood transport flights, and eventually ended up in the left seat of a B-727. Along the way, she encountered gender bias and sexual harassment, but she prevailed. She now writes aviation columns for numerous publications.
Bad eyes kept Lee Lauderback from becoming an Air Force pilot, but he never lost his passion for flying. After graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with all of his ratings, he landed a job flying Learjets for golf legend Arnold Palmer. He flew all of Arnold Palmer's airplanes for 17 years, but branched out on his own after purchasing an old P-51D and returning it to service.
After completing a contract instructing in the airplane at the famed U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, Lee established his own school to train pilot-owners in the P-51.
With 9,000 hours in the Mustang, Lee is the most experienced P-51 pilot in the world, and regularly flies aerobatic demonstration flights at airshows.
Adam Senatori was furloughed from his airline pilot job, was trained as a fire-fighter, and worked as an instructor pilot. He started taking pictures with his iPhone during some of his flights and posted them on Instagram. He became an Instagram star, and won a photo contest sponsored by GE, which resulted in his getting a photo assignment in Wales. Soon, he was hired to photograph every major international airshow, and he is now a highly successful aviation photographer.
Merrill McPeak followed his initial Air Force F-104 and F-100 flying assignments as a member of the Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team, performing in 200 airshows. He then went to Vietnam, and became the commander of the famed Misty FAC (Forward Air Controller) squadron.
After Vietnam, he went to Armed Forces Staff College, then to the Pentagon, and had a host of other assignments that eventually led to his becoming the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. In this podcast, General McPeak recounts a fascinating story of his Air Force career, which started with his notaccepting a Regular commission, since he had no intention of making the Air Force a career!
He also describes his crash during an airshow, when the wings separated from his F-100 as he was pulling up for the “bomb-burst” show finale, at just under the speed of sound.
In this interview General McPeak also talks about his return to Southeast Asia with his sons, to see the Ho Chi Minh trail from the ground.