The “Friday Pilots” are a group of 15-20 retired, former military pilots (Air Force, Navy and Marines) who meet for lunch every Friday in Tucson, AZ sharing laughs and lore (some true).

These Men Are...


The Friday Pilots are a group of pilots that flew in the old days, the old airplanes and the early jets! They have been to war, have crashed and burned. They are fighter pilots, bomber pilots, airline pilots, corporate pilots and astronauts.

These men did something almost everyone talks about and few do; they wrote down their memories for their kids, grandkids, families and friends. They are an eyewitness account of the real stories behind the people who keep this great nation free!

Walk into Hacienda del Sol on a Friday noon and you will see a table of anywhere between 12 and 20 men. They are older, late 60s to mid-80s, balding, for the most part trim, some lean forward to hear. Viewed from a distance you would probably classify them as “duffers;” how wrong you would be.

Move closer, listen. The first thing you notice is laughter, camaraderie. Listen carefully and you will hear stories; stories that amaze you. By any measure this is an exceptional group of men. They were pilots; pilots that flew in the old days; the old airplanes; the early jets. They have been to war. They have crashed and burned. They have run through jungles from the enemy and parachuted into oceans. They have been blown out of the sky, captured, imprisoned and horribly tortured. They have ridden huge rockets into space and orbited the earth. They have run large companies. They have been rich and they have been poor. There are pilots who finished their careers as generals, colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors and even captains. There are fighter pilots and bomber pilots and airline pilots and corporate pilots and astronauts and men who have owned airplane companies and been senior executives of corporations and on boards, and men who have landed gear-down and gear-up. They have landed on Navy carriers. They have been married and they have been divorced. They have had children that are successful, some that were problems and some have lost children.

But, listen more closely. The stories are not about their flying, their wars, their accomplishments. There are heroes at this table, but none will admit it. They will tell you they have flown with heroes. The conversation is about the latest University of Arizona basketball victory, colonoscopies, Viagra jokes, trouble peeing, being bald, friends having a tough time, chemotherapy, wives that have passed.

Their stories are about growing up in a different world at a different time when life was both simpler and harder. The airplanes were dangerous and there were no precision or stand-off weapons. Real men flew to far off places trying to win wars and dove down through AAA and avoided SAM missiles and paid for it mentally, physically and with their lives. Men blasted into space and docked with the Lunar Lander.

They do not look impressive, but these are real men. They flew in the old days before political correctness, back when men were men and women were women and giants roamed the earth. They are oldtimers – come have lunch with them.

Pilot Quotes!

When you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and for there you will always long to return.

Blue is up, brown is down - FLY THE AIRPLANE!

All this talk about lift and drag is scientific nonsense - airplanes fly on money.

I became a millionaire in the aviation business - How did you do that? - I started out as a billionaire.

The only time in an airplane when you have too much fuel is when you are on fire.

One of these things happens to every pilot - one day you will walk out to your airplane knowing it is your last flight - one day you will walk out to your airplane not knowing it is your last flight.

The worst day of flying beats the best day at work - said by someone who has never been in combat.

There is no reason to fly through a thunderstorm in peacetime - sign over ops desk at Davis-Monthan AFB.

A smooth landing is skill - two in a row is luck - three is a lie.

Passengers prefer old captains and young flight attendants.

In aviation when your wife is happy, you're happy (this goes for much of the rest of life too).

In a tail dragger, your problems start when you land.

God does not subtract from man's allotted time the hours spent while flying.

You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach two

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