Tales of a Helicopter Pilot
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
Richard Kirkland is legendary for his P-38 Lightning missions in the South Pacific theater during WWII. After the war, he realized the potential of Igor Sikorsky’s new flying machine, and he traded in his fighter-pilot wings for rotors. The nerve-racking chopper missions he has flown are the stuff of legend: scrambling to evacuate president Harry Truman after an unthinkable “code red one” alert comes over his red phone; bantering with the real “Hawkeye” at a MASH unit before flying into North Korea to rescue wounded soldiers. Equally riveting are his accounts of a medevac pilot in Vietnam who lands a ten ton CH-46 “Frog” in the jungle at night, with no lights, under fire, with only a soldier’s cigarette lighter for reference; and an aerial tour pilot who routinely pulls people out of the water above, below, and right before Niagara Falls.