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Fighter Pilot's Heaven #SIPSFT0020
Fighter Pilot's Heaven
Smithsonian Institution Press

The book, Fighter Pilot’s Heaven chronicles the author’s experiences as a test pilot attached to the Fighter Test Squadron of the Proof Test Group at Eglin Field, later Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, part of the Air Proving Ground Command.  From June 1945 through September 1950 the author flew many test flights trying to determine the operational suitability of the aircraft and weapons of the United States Army Air Forces and later the United States Air Force.  Along with testing various combinations of aircraft and weapons for accuracy and function, the tactics and techniques for the most effective use of them was tested and perfected.  The 1945 through 1950 timeframe was especially challenging as jets, which often created problems that needed to be solved, were replacing the standard World War II era propeller-driven fighters.  In addition, while this technological transition was underway, the military was going through the difficult transition from wartime to peacetime operations, which created its own challenges.  The major sections of, “Fighter Pilot’s Heaven” is as follows: 1) Foreword by Frank Borman; 2) Preface; 3) Prologue; 4) Chapter 1 – Fighter Pilot’s Heaven; 5) Chapter 2 – Bombs Bursting In Air; 6) Chapter 3 – Tigercat Performance; 7) Chapter 4 – Top Guns In Texas; 8) Chapter 5 – Fighter On First Base; 9) Chapter 6 – Unstruck In A Shooting Star; 10) Chapter 7 – Travels By Yo-Yo; 11) Chapter 8 – Snow-Bound; 12) Chapter 9 – Cold-Weather Testament; 13) Chapter 10 – Characters In Flight; 14) Chapter 11 – Gunsights In Highball; 15) Chapter 12 – Head-On Passes; 16) Chapter 13 – An Education In Flight Testing; 17) Chapter 14 – The Joy Of Flying Low; 18) Chapter 15 – Firepower Demonstration, May 11, 1948; 19) Chapter 16 – Big Airplanes, Big Year; 20) Chapter 17 – The Test Of The F-84 B; 21) Chapter 18 – Sonic Booms And Radar; 22) Chapter 19 – Target Practice In 1949; 23) Chapter 20 – The Last Year Of Heaven; 24) Epilogue and 25) Index.  In addition to an informative narrative, “Fighter Pilot’s Heaven” includes approximately 39 vintage black and white photographs.  “Fighter Pilot’s Heaven” fills a void in the available written material about aircraft and weapons testing that occurred at Eglin during the 1945 to 1950 timeframe.  It is sure to appeal to anyone in the “cutting edge” of aviation history.  This book is 223 pages and is in excellent condition.  The author is Donald S. Lopez with Frank Borman (foreword).  Edition published in 1995.   


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