Saturday, June 6, 2009

Evan Dusek becomes Pilot for a Day

by Airman 1st Class Brittany Dowdle
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/4/2009 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Evan Dusek, a 14-year-old Tucsonan, toured the base May 29 as this month's participant in the Pilot for a Day Program.

The purpose of the program is to give local children with serious illnesses a day completely devoted to them and their interest in aviation.

Evan brought along his father, Mark and friend, Nathan. His day started off meeting his host pilot, Capt. Karl "Who" Hagarty, an A-10 pilot assigned to the 355th Training Squadron.

Captain Hagarty took Evan to the 357th Fighter Squadron, where Evan put on his new flight suit, complete with a personalized name tag and squadron patches. There, Evan and his family checked out life support gear and looked through night-vision goggles.

After finishing up at the 357th, Captain Hagarty took Evan and his family to the D-M Fire Protection Flight to meet the Airmen and see the fire trucks.

At the next stop, maintainers brought an elevated stand so that Evan could see the cockpit of a real A-10 jet on static display.

From there, the group visited the 79th Rescue Squadron's hangar, where Evan and his family checked out an HC-130 rescue aircraft. Evan got to tour the inside of the plane before heading to the 55th RQS, where he toured an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter.

After lunch, the group then headed to the 355th Operations Support Squadron. Evan got to experience the A-10 flight simulator, a system that replicates flying an aircraft over a virtual map as realistically as possible. After his mock flight, their visit ended with a brief tour of the control tower. Then, Evan and his family headed home.

After the tour, Evan said he really enjoyed being able to tour the base. "I like the simulator a lot," he said. "It's like a big video game."

"The day was great," said Captain Hagarty. "Just seeing his expressions and reactions to what we do here was neat."

Lt. Col. Clifford Bowman, 357th Fighter Squadron commander, presents Evan Dusek, May Pilot for a Day, with a graphic of A-10 80-0207, signed by several pilots from the squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brittany Dowdle) Hi-res


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