30 November 1957 – Capt Benny Lacombe is killed when he unsuccessfully attempts to bail out of Lockheed U-2A, 56-6704, Article 371, 13 miles SE of Laughlin AFB. Ejection seats had not yet been fitted to U-2s at this point. The history of the U-2 program is fraught with fatalities and crashes. “CIA pilots Wilburn S.
Howard Gilbert Crites
“From Jets to Tow Pilot” by by David Lowe and Contributing writer, August 15, 2008.
“…Howard Crites has flown continuously for 53 years. He has earned the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award given by the Federal Aviation Administration for 50 years with a perfect safety record.
The only other record that can top that is his marriage to Marge Kokey for the same number of years.
Howard flew F-4 and F-100 fighter aircraft for the U.S. Air Force for 20 years. He retired in 1973.
After his retirement he went to work for the University of Northern Colorado as the education program manager for the off campus graduate degree program.
He liked the program and school so much that he entered the regular program and graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration.
Today, Crites works for Doss Aviation as a glider tow pilot at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He flies five to six days a week alternating between the a.m. shift of 6:20 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and the afternoon shift from 12:45-6:30 p.m.
He routinely flies 15-20 tows per day. Crites has been flying as a tow pilot for 10 years accumulating
25,000-30,000 takeoffs and landings.”
… Crites belongs to the Experimental Air craft Association, the Order of Daedalians, Fraternity of Military Pilots Past and Present; Super Sabre Society of 2,000 former F-100 pilots and the Red River Valley Fighter Pilot Association of Vietnam Fighter Pilots.(1)