Andrew J. Michalak

MichalakSo in case you don’t know it, I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 24, 1941. Even then I was dreaming of being a fighter pilot. I spent eight years at Sacred Heart of Mary, and four more at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. A graduate…I wanted to fly. In December 1958, I got my private ticket.

February 1961, I joined the Maryland Air National Guard… I wanted to be a fighter pilot. July 1961, it was basic training at Lackland AFB. Home to B’more, I was an assistant crew chief for F86H’s.

Hooray… October 1962, it was OCS at Lackland, where I thought…just stick it out for six months and “voila”…pilot training. However, OCS turned into day-by-day survival. Political Science??? Marching??? And then there was that great fighter pilot w. t. b., Terry Creighton (my favorite instructor). But what an incredible experience it was. It allowed my dream to come true. And my great roommates were Norm Osborne, Orville Keese, and Ron Kondler (who loved my lecture notes)…what great guys.

After OCS, it was on to Williams AFB for pilot training. Norm Osborne and I held down the pool and ping-pong tables, whipping all comers. I loved Willy…a great place to learn to fly. I left there on graduation day, May 13, 1964, with a T-33 manual in hand to get checked-out in the T-Bird at my home base, the Baltimore, MD ANG. Two weeks later I arrived at Nellis AFB for 3 months of fighter introduction…T-33A…then F-86F.

After Pilot Training, I was assigned to a Crew Combat Training Squadron at Nellis AFB. I went to a Military Assistance Program Course for Fighter Introduction for Friendly Countries. I was the only American out of 16 in my class of Indians, Pakistanis, Iranians, one German NCO, and one Venezuelan. Guess what, I was the tallest in my class.

In September 1964, I returned to Maryland ANG to begin “FIGHTER PILOT HEAVEN”. F-86H’s flying with WW II vets. My ANG flying included the F-86H, F-100C (NY ANG), and A-37B.

And then a second heaven (sort of), in January 1966, I was hired by American Airlines. In my thirty-five years, I flew the DC-6, DC-7, Lockheed Electra, B727, B757, and B767. I retired after 12 years as a check-pilot in July 2001.

Retired (I love it), I live with my wife, Boots, on the beautiful Tred Avon River in Easton, Maryland. We have five grown children, and our first grandchild on the way. We enjoy flying our Baron, fishing, and some golf. I am still engaged in my dream, having recently flown: T6-G (ours), C-45, PT-17, F-86E, P-51, Hawker Hurricane, and soon a Spitfire MK IX. It was and is my dream…WHAT A BLAST!!