Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Unknown Rider by Major Scott D. Anderson, USAF

By Carmelo Turdo
(Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame)
Unknown Rider, by Major Scott Anderson, USAF (1965-1999)
1996, Dennoch Press, Duluth, MN

The Late Scott D. Anderson was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum is honored to offer the book, Unknown Rider, while supplies last.

Unknown Rider is the fictional manifestation of Major Scott D. Anderson's experience of achieving the title, "Fighter Pilot."  Anderson sums up his writing process in the Acknowledgements page: "When I was training to fly the F-16 at Kingsley Field in Oregon, each evening, after a day of flying fighters, I sat down and typed a little bit of this book...All I had to do was invent a few characters, put them in an airplane, and make them the heroes of the stories that filled the air."  He wasted no time introducing USAF Lt. Rick Wedan, a Minnesota Air National Guard F-16 pilot on detachment to Tyndall AFB, Florida, as he scrambles into his F-16 to intercept an "Unknown Rider."  However, just as his F-16 lifts off the runway, a flashback to pilot training takes the reader on an exhilarating experience through the ups and downs of flying around the country in a jury-rigged Aeronca Champ and then through primary and secondary training the USAF way.  After receiving his silver wings, Lt. Rick Wedan relives his adventures by finding the old Champ and flying to out of the way places.  The final chapter rejoins the intercept of the "Unknown Rider" off Florida and fulfillment of the young Lt. Wedan's dream of defending the nation at the pointy end of an Air Force fighter.

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum is pleased to offer a limited number of books available through the museum website as well as several copies in the museum library. 

Major Scott D. Anderson

Anderson and his family moved to Duluth, MN when he was six years old. He went through school there and attended the University of Minnesota. Continuing later at Stanford University, he earned degrees in Mechanical Engineering and History. Anderson lived the life of an adventurer, building a two-man submarine; making a marathon canoe trip from Duluth to Hudson’s Bay and writing a book about it; writing and co-authoring several other books; playing saxophone in jazz bands and playing professional football in Salzburg, Austria. He returned to Duluth and joined the Air National Guard. He flew F-16s, becoming an instructor pilot with Duluth’s 179th Fighter Squadron. His career path led him to the role of test pilot with the Cirrus Design Corporation where he gave his life testing the first production model Cirrus SR20. The Scott D. Anderson Leadership Foundation was created in his honor.
Inducted 2009

(Biography of Major Scott D. Anderson provided by the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame)

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