Aero Club gathering hears from retired Navy pilot


Retired U.S. Navy Captain Lonny McClung was speaker at the Sun Lakes Aero Club gathering April 16. Here he is shown with Gary Vacin, club program director (left).

Gary Vacin

A retired U.S. Navy pilot reviewed his 30-year career as a carrier-based fighter pilot during a presentation to the Sun Lakes Aero Club gathering April 18.

Capt. Lonny McClung told his audience that prior to his first combat mission over North Vietnam, he was absolutely terrified. “Many of my contemporaries didn’t come home,” he said. However, he went on to fly 250 combat missions during three combat cruises to Vietnam.

McClung continues to be an active pilot, with nearly 13,000 hours. “The freedom of being in control of an airplane is very intoxicating,” he said.

In addition to sharing his personal life story, McClung showed highlights of his participation in the London-Sydney air race in 2001. He was a crew member of a restored 1954 Grumman Albatross amphibian aircraft, the oldest entry in the race.

McClung’s presentation concluded the Sun Lakes Aero Club series of gatherings for 2017-18. The group will continue monthly get-togethers featuring speakers on a wide range of aviation-related topics in November. Additional information is available from Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857, Gary Vacin at 480-298-7017 or at the club’s website,