The most experienced FB-111 pilot in the Strategic Air Command was a former Staff Sergeant stationed at Plattsburgh Air Force Base. Captain Edward J. Pearce passed the 2,000-hour mark flying FB-111A aircraft. That made the major selectee SAC's most experienced FB-111A pilot. What made Pearce's achievement even more notable was that he was a former security policeman who earned his degree, through the Airman's Education and Commission Program. He was a security specialist for four years and worked for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for three years. Pearce earned a bachelor's degree in law enforcement and then attended pilot training school. He first started flying FB-111 in January 1975, the third person ever selected for FB-111 training right out of pilot school at the time. After moving up the aviator ladder and gaining status as an experienced academic instructor with the 4007th Combat Crew Training Squadron, Pearce went on to serve various modification boards. He worked with General Dynamics and General Electric on new avionics packages.
Fellow aviators greeted the Houston, Texas, native with the traditional water-soaking following a recent training mission when the 2,000-hour mark was surpassed. Captain Pearce played down the milestone and his "most experienced" designation. He told the base newspaper "The Champlaner": "It makes me competitive for a number of things, like the B-1B. Two thousand hours is a magic number for being considered for certain advanced flying assignments," he said. "It's not hours alone that matter. It' s the kind of experiences and the things you've seen that count." Pearce added. The FB-111 pilot had experienced lost engines, flight control problems, no-flap and high speed landings and potential fire situations. "Everything that happened to you, you learn from..., just going up and flying, you're ready for any problems and it's almost as good as having it happen. There's no novelty involved. Every time you fly it's different..., something always pops up." said Pearce.
|This story was published in the Press Republican in August 7, 1984|