Hi, I'm Pete Taylor and I have been a volunteer associate at the Cold War Air Museum for over a year now. While I'm not into the Video Blog thing, the guys at the museum asked me to share a little bit about my flying background with our blog visitors.
After serving four years in the infantry in the states and Germany, I was given the opportunity to enter OCS followed by flight school. Like everyone else in helicopter training at the time, I attended primary training at Fort Wolters near Mineral Wells, Texas with secondary training at Fort Rucker in Alabama. After graduation, I received my ticket to Vietnam where I served with the 1st Aviation Brigade, 116th Assault Company. After about three months in the Co-Pilots seat of a UH-1, I graduated to Aircraft Commander (AC) and completed my tour with the unit as the Operations Officer with about 1200 hours under my belt and railroad tracks on my collar.
Returning to the states, I was assigned to Fort Wolters as an Instructor Pilot (IP) in the TH-55 and also served as Operations Officer, XO and CO of a training flight before completing my commitment and leaving active duty in 1971 with another 1500 hours of IP time. (The museum has the civilian version of the TH-55, a Schweitzer 300).
During the early 70's I continued to fly as a “weekend warrior” with Army National Guard units, first in Texas as an AC and IP in UH-1's and then in Connecticut as an AC, IP and Instrument Instructor. Leaving the U.S. temporarily for Canada in 76, I flew fixed and rotary wing charters in Western Canada for about five years including fire service work most summers in a Hughes 500 with a bucket.
Returning to the U.S., in 81, I went on active duty again for a year and a half at Fort Rucker as an IP in UH-1's in the Tactics Branch. Because I had been off active duty for more than ten years, I was returned to duty as a Warrant Officer. I don't know that I am unique, but I don't run into too many others that have served as a non-com, commissioned officer and warrant officer over the course of their military service,
After my tour at Rucker, I worked for Mediflight service based in Oklahoma City, flying both fixed wing and and rotary wing aircraft again. Learning from one of our “customers” about a guard unit with a need for pilots, I once again put on my weekend warrior wings and joined the Kansas National Guard where I served as a CH-54 Aircraft Commander and UH-1 IP. The CH-54 is better known by its civilian variant name as the “Skycrane”. With a 72 foot rotor diameter and a 47,000 pound maximum takeoff weight, it is still one of the largest helicopters in the world.
With over 7,000 hours of rotary wing time and a variety of fixed and rotary wing experience, Pete is definitely one of the Senior Aviators associated with the museum. Besides that, Pete, like most of the associates we count on, is a genuine, hard working guy that is willing to share his experience and concern for safety. We are lucky to have him helping us at the museum and salute his experience, both military and civilian.