Aerial Refueling Boom Operator to Address Aero Club Gathering

Gary Vacin

Originally scheduled for Nov. 27, 2023, the Sun Lakes Aero Club gathering featuring a presentation about military aircraft refueling is set for Monday, Jan. 22. The event begins with camaraderie at 6:30 p.m. followed by the presentation at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. The location is the Cottonwood Country Club Lecture Hall, situated just inside the Computer Learning Center. Our speaker will be Aero Club member Fred Bookwalter who will talk about his 20-year Air Force career. Much of his presentation will focus on his 12 years as a Boom Operator (aircraft refueling operator) where he flew more than 2,500 hours in KC-135 and KC-10 aircraft. His job involved operating a drogue attached to the end of the boom at the back of the aircraft with the intent of inserting the drogue into an opening on the receiving aircraft’s fuel tank. Bookwalter was involved in air refueling during events that included the bombing of Libya, fighter deliveries to the Shah of Iran, refueling reconnaissance aircraft over Granada, refueling numerous aircraft during the Vietnam Conflict, and air refueling support to the British in their efforts to support the Falkland Islands.

The Aero Club is an official Sun Lakes organization that has monthly gatherings November through April featuring speakers on a wide range of aviation-related topics. Future speakers and their topics are as follows: Feb. 26: Col. David Sale, U.S. Army (ret.), will speak on his distinguished military career involving helicopters.

March 25: Bruce Vantine will speak on what you didn’t know about the Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969.

April 22: John Philp, recently retired airline captain, will review his 30-year career as a commercial pilot, including many years flying for JetBlue Airlines.

Additional information on the Aero Club is available from Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857 or Gary Vacin at 480-298-7017.