Members Spotlight – Frank Burkhead

Bruce Estes

This month’s Member’s Spotlight is on Frank Burkhead. Frank is one of the quiet guys that listens carefully, but doesn’t say too much. Another member mentioned a couple of facts about Frank that made me very interested in doing a Member’s Spotlight on Frank.
Frank Burkhead has about 300 carrier landings to his credit. That’s right, Frank is one of those Navy pilots that landed on a small, pitching, carrier deck, sometimes at night. Wow!

Frank went through Navy flight training at Pensacola, Florida in 1967 after graduating from the Naval Academy, where he studied general engineering and physics. Frank was in the Navy for 28 years, 14 as an active member and 14 in the Naval Reserve. Frank flew A-4 and A-7 attack jets off of several different Aircraft Carriers, and saw some combat in Vietnam. Folks, this is some serious flying. Not for the meek or mild.

After active duty, Frank then joined Adobe Systems in the Bay Area, and worked for them for about 15 years. Frank retired and moved to Lincoln several years ago.

After leaving the Navy, Frank did not fly from about 1987 to 2012. The flying bug came back so Frank purchased a Remos light sport aircraft powered by a Rotax. The Remos would give Frank some experience for his next project- building a Kitfox. Frank started construction on the Kitfox about 2.5 years ago, and is loving the construction process. When asked about the expected completion date of the Kitfox, Frank shrugs his shoulders and says that he is having a great time building the airplane, and it’s done when it’s done.

Frank is building the Kitfox in hangar 31, which is in the green hangars. Frank is there most afternoons. Stop by and say “hello” and look at his Kitfox. Having built a Kitfox myself, I can say that Frank’s construction is excellent. The Kitfox is not an A-7 attack jet, but I’ll bet that the Kitfox will land in almost as short a distance as the jet, but without an arresting wire.