Former presidential pilot to speak at Aero Club

11/09/2012 2:55 PM

11/09/2012 2:55 PM

Former presidential pilot Col. Mark Tillman is the keynote speaker Monday at the Wichita Aero Club luncheon.

Tillman was the pilot for George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001, after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

He also flew Bush from Washington to Baghdad, Iraq, on Thanksgiving Day in 2002, when the president made a surprise visit to troops.

Tillman, now retired from the U.S. Air Force, will recount his experiences during the luncheon at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

“Mark Tillman personifies the phrase ‘an officer and a gentleman,’ ” Wichita Aero Club president Dave Franson said in a statement. “He projects exceptional skill, judgment and decisiveness that we would expect from the pilot who has been chosen to fly the most powerful man in the world. He is the type of officer that knows his job, takes it seriously and inspires confidence among those around him.

The presentation will likely be one of the most interesting held by the Aero Club, Franson said.

Tillman served as the nation’s 12th presidential pilot from 2001 to 2009.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 2004 and was promoted to brigadier general by the president, the first military line officer to receive the honor, according to information from the Wichita Aero Club.

He now serves as a corporate pilot for Discount Tire Co., based in Phoenix.

The luncheon, which begins at noon, is open to the general public and to members.

For more information or for reservations call 316-681-4491.

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