A Passion for Flight: Flying, Racing, Aerobatics and the Pursuit to Pilot the Most Iconic Fighters of the WWII and Korean War Eras

The F-86 Sabre aircraft

The Aviation Speakers Series at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus presents this session with Mike Pfleger, who will discuss the thrills of flying some of the U.S.’s most iconic military aircraft: the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, FM-2 Wildcat, F-86 Sabre, MiG-15 and the T-33. Pfleger has also accumulated more than 1,000 hours flying the North American T-6, doing formation flying, aerobatics and air racing.

Pfleger’s love of flying began when his father, a former pilot, took him as a kid to watch planes at the airport and taught him to draw them and build plastic and balsa wood models. As he got older, Mike biked to local airports in Tulsa, Oklahoma to hang around restoration shops where WWII planes and early jets were being reborn. He learned all he could about flying and obtained his private pilot license in gliders at age 16.

FAA vision requirements at the time didn’t allow him to pursue a military or airline pilot career, so after high school Pfleger earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Oklahoma State University before working as a performance/flight test engineer at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, Ohio. He continued flying, racing and towing gliders and enjoying tailwheel classics like the J-3 cub, Cessna L-19 and Piper Pawnee. Pfleger also learned basic aerobatics in planes like the Bellanca Citabria and Decathlon.

It was a flying club member who was an ER physician who interested him in a career in medicine. Pfleger attended the University of Cincinnati Medical School, and his residency in emergency medicine brought him to Phoenix, Arizona, where he has put down roots.

The fall 2017 Aviation Speakers Series events are organized by ASU's College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication.

Department: 
Faculty of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication
Contact: 
Valerie Adams
Location: 
Peralta Hall, room 301
Campus: 
Polytechnic campus
Price: 
Free