November 4, 2009
They wouldn’t be allowed to do it today, but back in 1959, experienced military pilots would sometimes buzz the Grand Canyon when flying out of nearby Nellis AFB. At the time, RAF pilot Ron Dick was an exchange officer with the US Air Force, training students in a Lockheed T-33. Fellow instructor Bud Pratt recalls that during these Canyon flights, the pilots would fly low enough that spray would be thrown up from the river.
Ron Dick rose to the rank of Air Vice Marshal and later became a fellow of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and a popular writer and lecturer on military history. He died in 2008. His son Gary Dick, who put together this video from Ron’s footage, says, “As a lifelong supporter of the National Parks and a man with a keen interest in bird watching, Ron would definitely endorse the flight restrictions that ensure natural quiet in the parks today.”