“The Passing of another of the Greatest Generation” (From Valiant Air Command’s Facebook page)
The Valiant Air Command, Inc. regrets to inform our supporters of the passing of Lt. Col. Norvin C. “Bud” Evans Jr. USAF (Ret.) on Saturday, May 16, 2020, at the age of 95. We recognize Bud as a dear and cherished friend, a Special Advisor to and former member of the Board of Directors, a daring and skilled aviator, a prolific author, and a devoted family man. We send our deepest sympathies to his wife and family. #greatestgeneration #blueskies #testpilot #f104 #f100 #f105 #F5 #centuryseries #p80 #budevans
Bud was a gifted pilot with an incredible aviation career spanning WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and a remarkable number of years as both a military and civilian Test Pilot. Graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington D.C., Bud reported for Army Aviation Cadet duty and was sent to Basic Training. After a lengthy period of training, with several location transfers, and having completed both Primary and Advanced flight training, Bud graduated from the U.S. Army Aviation School, Class K-44 on February 1, 1945.
Disappointed that he was being assigned as a flight instructor, not as a combat pilot, and with the war winding down, Bud left active duty to attend George Washington University. While at school Bud spent every free hour visiting the Army Air Force Reserves at nearby Andrews Air Base, hopping rides in various aircraft from T-6 to P-51. Following his graduation from George Washington University, Bud accepted a recall to active duty in the newly formed United States Air Force and joined the Kentucky Air National Guard as a 2nd Lieutenant flying the P-51D.
Bud was then assigned to the 71st Fighter Squadron at March Field, California, an elite squadron made up of mostly WW II fighter Pilots, many of whom were aces. By this time Bud had 5 years and 550 hours of flight time in 14 aircraft. At March Field he transitioned to a new type of fighter aircraft, a jet powered P-80.
Transferring from March Field in 1948 to Japan, Bud flew P-80 (re-designated F-80) with the 49th Fighter Group, the only squadron in Japan flying jets. When the North Koreans attacked South Korea, Bud was a member of one of the first flights to respond across the 360 miles of water to help stop the North Korean advance. The 49th Fighter Group was temporarily assigned to airfield K-2 in Taegu, South Korea, where Bud continued flying combat in the F-80.
Following Korea, Bud was assigned to Air Defense Command and continued flying as many aircraft and hours as he could. His outstanding flying ability did not go unnoticed and Bud was selected to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School where he graduated at the top of his class.
Although initially assigned to Flight Test at Edwards AFB, he flew multiple aircraft test flights at all three Air Force Flight Test Centers. Flying alongside other legendary test pilots such as Tony Levier, Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield and Bud Anderson, Bud flight tested the latest and best fighter jets as they were developed.
In the spring of 1956, Bud was selected to participate in nuclear bomb testing in the Pacific. Bud flew one of the front-line fighters, a Republic F-84F. He was directed to fly both practice and then live missions near the blast over ground zero just after the detonation. These were both shock wave, heat, and radiation tests, performed entirely on instruments and under a light proof hood. On one of these missions Bud’s jet was so heavily damaged that, after seriously considering a bail out, he was able to nurse the jet back to one of the island’s airfields for an engine out landing.
Following the Pacific bomb testing, Bud was assigned again to Edwards AFB Fighter Test Operations. There he continued to test the latest fighters. In January 1957, Bud flew 59 test flights in 11 different fighter aircraft.
In addition to Flight Testing, Bud flew aerobatic demonstrations at a good number of air shows, the largest of which was the 1964 NATO Brussels Air Show. In one surprising opportunity, when Bud was the Commander of Fighter Test Operations at Wright-Patterson AFB, he received a call from the Air Force Systems Command Headquarters sending him to Paris to fly the Northrop F-5B. He had previously tested the F-5A but had never even seen a F-5B. He thought he would only be doing orientation flights for Generals and VIPs in this two-seat version of the F-5A, but when he arrived in France Bud found that he would be demonstrating the F-5B, the only U.S. aircraft appearing in this big NATO two-day air show.
Retiring from the Air Force Bud made the easy transition to Operations Manager and Chief Test Pilot for several major civilian aircraft manufactures including living overseas and demonstrating aircraft for foreign sales. Bud’s flying career included over 15,000 flight hours in more than 200 aircraft.
After moving to Florida, Bud joined the Valiant Air Command in 1992 and has actively supported the Warbird Museum in multiple roles with the Warbird Air Show and on the VAC Board of Directors.”(1)
Source (1): From Valiant Air Command’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/156623611050836/posts/the-passing-of-another-of-the-greatest-generationnorvin-c-bud-evans-september-10/3010329932346842/