Sunday, July 17, 2011

Barksdale Fighter Pilots to Set Aviation Record

(L to R) Lt. Cols David Deaton, James Macaulay, Brady Glick and Marc Olson, pose for the "hero shot" after participating in a four-ship flight at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., July 15, 2011. During their flight, they surpassed the 20,000 combined hours mark—a feat never before accomplished by four pilots in the A-10. The four Barksdale-based Air Force Reserve fighter pilots are assigned to the 47th Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston)

by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

7/15/2011 - BARKSDALE AFB, La. -- Four Barksdale-based Air Force Reserve fighter pilots made aviation history by setting a new record for combined hours in the cockpit of the A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jet, July 15.

Colonel James Macaulay, Lt. Col. David Deaton, Lt. Col. Marc Olson and Lt. Col. Brady Glick, all assigned to the 47th Fighter Squadron, which is part of the 917th Fighter Group, participated in a four-ship flight during which the pilots surpassed the 20,000 combined hour mark--a feat never before accomplished by four pilots in the A-10.

This kind of feat does not happen overnight.

I'm grateful that God has blessed me by allowing me to serve my country for this long," Deaton said. "I never imagined when I graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1978, that I would still be doing what I love 33 years later."

This event marked the second record-setting sortie for this group of pilots. The four colonels set the previous record of 17,742 combined hours in the A-10 during a four-ship flight in 2008. Together, all four pilots have completed more than 10,000 sorties.

Immediately following the flight, Macaulay was promoted to the rank of colonel in a ceremony presided over by Col. Eric S. Overturf, the commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

"This milestone is really a testament to the professionalism of the maintainers and the durability of the 'Hawg," Macaulay said. "In 20,000 hours, none of us have punched out (ejected) or had a major mishap. For every hour we get in the seat of the jet, there's over 15 hours of maintenance and support that makes them fly."

In addition to the record breaking sortie, Macaulay also took the lead in A-10 flying hours with over 5,200.

"It's been a distinct honor to fly with the 47th Fighter Squadron, and the best attack pilots in the world," said Macaulay.

Some Airmen assigned to the 47th Fighter Squadron are schedule to deploy after the first of the year.

According to Overturf, the four-ship flight also set a record for being the "oldest on record." The total ages of the four pilots add up to a whopping 200 years and 2 months.



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