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Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
An old friend of mine passed away last week. Dick Lawyer was the former chief pilot at Tracor Flight Systems. A great guy, he was still flying high performance jet warbirds up until his death. Apparently he had a heart attack after returning from a Colorado hunting trip. He just turned 73.

Dick flew nearly 50 different types of aircraft from small single engine prop planes to supersonic jets. He lived to fly and soared through the air in the Lockheed T-33, F-104 Starfighter, North American T-6 Texan; F-86 Sabre, FJ-4 Fury, F-100 Super Sabre (all models) and T-39 Sabreliner; McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom and F-101 Voodoo; Convair F-102 Delta Dagger and F-106 Delta Dart; Republic F 105 Thunderchief; and the Martin B-57 Canberra.
He was a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, the USAF Fighter Weapons Instructors School and was a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

He was selected as astronaut December 11, 1965, on the Manned Orbiting Laboratory project, a classified military manned space station. When MOL project was canceled, he was serving as Deputy Commander, Operations, Tactical Air War Center, Eglin AFB, Florida. He was a qualified military pilot; and graduate of Aerospace Research Pilot School.

I understand he did a few tours in Viet Nam and was shot down on at least 2 occasions. I was also told he was forced to eject on 3 different occasions while working as a test pilot. He was one of the highest time F-4 pilots, I understand he had about 6,000 hours in F-4 alone!!!

Dick was doing part time work for a flight test company in Mojave up until his death. He was flying an F-100F.

The photo below was taken by my good friend Alan Redecki during a summer flight test program. That's Dick getting ready to launch during a morning sortie.

He will be buried at Arlingtion National Cemetary in Wash DC on Jan 5.

This is my tribute to a good friend and great pilot, may he rest in peace....



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My condolences FBJ its always sad to loose a friend and as he was a mentor I'm sure you have a lot to thank him for. Some how after all the things he's done I bet if you asked him if he would give it up to live a bit longer he would tell you to sod off as he'd loved every minute. Worse part of living is the dieing but you cant have one without the other.
Happy flying Dick. :salute:
My thoughts are with you and the others that knew him. He lived doing what he loved and taught others such as yourself. If everyone did the same, whos knows what we could achieve.
Thanks folks! I'm going to try to post more about him. He was real humble and didn't post much about his exploits. He was one hell of a pilot. His wife said his greatest fear was not being able to fly as he got older.....
Thanks all ---

Good-bye old friend!


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Yea he was - always had a smile - Walked a bit hunched over - shoot, 4 or 5 ejections?!? We wondered why he wasn't 6" shorter!

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