A Sioux City native and military veteran returned to Iowa this week for the annual aviation conference going on in West Des Moines. Colonel Bud Day fought in World War Two, Korea and Vietnam, where he was shot down, and he says the role of aviation has changed since he trained as a fighter pilot.Day compared it to going “from a horse-and-buggy to a new Cadillac.” Day says today there’s almost no place in the world that’s not accessible with an airline ticket, and he says air travel is relatively affordable and comfortable. Colonel Day trained in jet fighters around the time of the Korean War.He flew air defense, carrying nuclear weapons to keep the cold-war foe “pacified,” as well as flying deep into Russia to keep Soviet planes “pinned down” so they couldn’t send them to Korea. Day says there’s not only been an enormous change in aviation, the U.S. has achieved “absolute air superiority” in the world. Day says government adds restrictions when something as major as 9/11 occurs, and “there’s more government meddlin’ in what you do” than there was before. Day says for commercial travelers who buy airline tickets, there’s a “staggering amount of interference,” but also at small hometown airports there is more supervision. After his military time, during which Day became the first survivor of a “no-chute” bailout from a burning jet and was the only POW to escape from a South Vietnamese prison, he settled in Florida and worked as a lawyer. The Sioux City airport was renamed in honor of Colonel Bud Day in May, 2002. The state aviation conference continues today (Friday) at the West Des Moines Marriott.
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