The accidental pilot

Byron "Blitz" Fox '62

Byron “Blitz” Fox ’62

With the Golden Gate Bridge as his backdrop, Byron “Blitz” Fox ’62 soars the San Francisco skies in his 1968 Nanchang CJ-6A. He’s one of five fly guys who founded the Bay Bombers Squadron, a “precision warbird mass formation display team.”

Fox’s foray into flying was a fluke — thus his self-proclaimed handle: “the accidental pilot.”

Entering Colgate, Fox recalled, his goal was to fulfill his national military obligation by enrolling in the school’s Air Force ROTC program rather than running the risk of the Army draft following graduation. His plan was to be a ground officer, but Fox’s Delta Kappa Epsilon brother Dick Rasor ’61 convinced him to aim for flight training. “Never had I dreamed as a kid of flying a P-51 Mustang with invasion stripes,” he said.

“Turns out, wife Mary and I had six wonderful years in the Air Force, and the flying was fun,” he said. “Nevertheless, when I crawled out of a cockpit in 1968, I had no thoughts of flying again.” Fox was ready to make a living and raise a family.

A dozen years later, Fox was dropping a friend off at the Kona Airport (he and his family remained in Hawaii after his time in the Air Force) when a little prop plane caught his eye.

“I wondered if I could still fly,” he said. That day, Fox signed up for flight school at the airport and, “like riding a bike, it was happily buried in my brain stem.”

He’s been at it ever since. After moving to California in 1988, Fox began performing at the local air shows with the Bay Bombers Squadron. “It’s keeping me young and, as long as I can fog a mirror, I’ll continue,” he quipped.