Pilot Brian Shul will be the guest speaker during the 2018 Gala at the Champaign Aviation Museum on April 21. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. that day with dinner at 7 p.m.
Shul served as a Foreign Air Advisor in the Vietnam conflict, flying 212 close air support missions in conjunction with Air America. Near the end of all hostilities, his AT-28 aircraft was shot down near the Cambodian border. Unable to eject from the aircraft, Shul was forced to crash land into the jungle. Miraculously surviving, he was severely burned in the ensuing fireball. Crawling from the burning wreckage, he was finally found and rescued by a Special Forces team.
He was evacuated to a military hospital in Okinawa where he was expected to die. Barely surviving 2 months of intensive care, in 1974 he was flown to the Institute of Surgical Research at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. During the following year, he underwent 15 major operations. During this time he was told he’d never fly again and was just lucky to be alive. Months of physical therapy followed, enabling Shul to eventually pass a flight physical and return to active flying duty.
Two days after being released from the hospital, Shul was back flying Air Force fighter jet aircraft. He went on to fly the A-7D, and was then selected to be a part of the first operational A-10 squadron at Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he was on the first A-10 air show demonstration team. After a tour as an A-10 Instructor Pilot in Arizona, he went on to instruct at the Air Force’s Fighter Lead-In School as the Chief of Air-to-Ground Academics. As a final assignment in his career, Brian volunteered for and was selected to fly the super secret spy plane, the SR-71. This assignment required an astronaut-type physical just to qualify, and Shul passed with no waivers.
Special musical guests at the Gala will be The Boyer Sisters.
The Boyer Sisters are a well-rounded trio, performing in tight three-part harmony, often being likened to past famous sister acts, like the Andrews and McGuire Sisters. They have had the pleasure of performing at dozens upon dozens of venues, and collaborating with various live bands and musicians, bringing smiles, tears and toe-tapping rhythm wherever they go. Their goal is to bring joy and entertainment through the music of years gone by, to audiences of all ages.
A silent auction featuring items autographed by U.S. astronauts Robert Crippen, Richard Truly, “Hoot” Gibson and more will also be held during the Gala. All proceeds will benefit the Champaign Aviation Museum.
Tickets for the Gala are limited. A discount will apply if purchased before March 15.
For more information, go to www.ChampaignAviationMuseum.org.