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"At Last! An F-16 Fighter Mechanic Puts An Introduction To Fighter Jet Culture in Your Hands...

...Understand what it feels like when a Fighter pilot straps on your airplane!"

Order One Desert Jet Turner

Join/enlist in the Air Force and make it work for you during and after. See lessons learned from one airman's complete journey before, during, and after service. For the first time ever, aviation enthusiasts, high-school students; their parents, family, and career counselors debating the pros and cons of Air Force service can go behind the scenes with Nellis AFB fighter jet mechanic, Earl Heron, and discover his relationship with fighters like the F-4 & F-16 -- and their drivers. How his later service as a Hercules flight engineer enhanced his understanding of aviation & life is detailed as well.

This is the real-life account of a young person who enlists motivated by his fascination with aviation technology and the pit-stop aspect of fighter operations, describing his training and lead-up to his ultimate objective -- turning jets for fighter pilots and our nation.

Aviation enthusiasts will appreciate this book that:

  • Shares the temperament of fighter aircraft, fighter pilots, and fighter mechanics, giving you information never shared from this perspective before. The author gives you a preview of what a career in an Air Force maintenance specialty can be like.
  • "Walks" you through the transition from civilian, to aircraft maintenance student, to Cold War participant (Non-commissioned Officer/NCO). A student considering enlistment can evaluate the value of service from this uncommon source.
  • Takes you "inside" as written by a young fighter mechanic, (crew chief) in his own words, sharing emerging impressions of his new world in defense. "Be there" as a fighter pilot discusses his jet with his fighter mechanic; learn more of their unique relationship.
  • Frankly documents the maturation of a fallible airman charged with defending our nation, making the depth of the serviceman's personal struggle clear to all readers.
  • Shares what a mechanic's tryout was like with the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron Thunderbirds (just after the 1982 Diamond crash), unveiling more of the mystery associated with the team.
  • How does a crew chief feel when he's told a jet has gone down? You will see a fighter mechanic's outlook on fighter-accident investigation and how well aircraft paid for with your tax dollars were cared for.
  • The author's verbal descriptions reveal more of the realities behind the photos in your illustrated aviation books.
  • Bonus topic This work also puts you in the "seat" to experience the training/mindset adjustments of this flight data calculating, short take off and landing, special-operations-low-level flying, systems managing, foodstuff and tank airdropping, world-wide traveling airman [You Call, We Haul]; after he transitions from "jet turner" to cockpit crew-member on the C-130 Hercules tactical transport.
 Earl Heron USAF C-130E Flight Engineer Airborne, Pope AFB, 317 Tactical Airlift Wing, 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron, Black Enlisted Aviator

Understand Jets as Well as if You'd Maintained Them Yourself!

No inconvenient truths are concealed. From gripping stories of the loneliness of an East-coast kid acclimating to the world of military aviation on the West coast, to poignant accounts of a fighter mechanic who maintains multi-million-dollar technology yet, like all service members, must also struggle with personal economics, life aspirations, shortcomings, maturation, military philosophy, and world affairs.

It's a book you'll have trouble putting down.

"Who is the author?"

Fighter Mechanic displays 'all ejection seat pins removed and contained' to pilot

Just your everyday jet fighter mechanic. Author Earl Heron enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in the spring of 1980. He served three years as an F-4 and F-16 mechanic at Nellis Air Force base in Las Vegas, Nevada, before accumulating more than 900 flying hours as a flight engineer on the C-130 at Pope AFB, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

After six years in the Air Force, he left the military (as a staff sergeant) to complete a bachelor's degree in technology and management. He holds the FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic certificate.

"Why Did He Write the Book?"

Earl noticed interest in the mystery behind what fighter mechanics did before and after he left the Air Force. While he was still serving, friends serving on base, but off the flight line, asked him about "the fighter life." Earl also noticed that few fighter mechanics who successfully left the fighter mechanic career field to cross train to flight engineering returned to share what that was like. In contrast, Earl continues to feel an obligation to share.

When Earl began his post-service studies, he noticed fascination, even admiration, in the eyes of fellow college students and faculty who asked about his fighter-crew-chief experience. Many had heard of fighter jets and fighter pilots -- their skillful flying, ejection seats, and dogfighting. Most were impressed by the coordination that was required to succeed, and the pilots' seeming detachment from the danger and results of deadly force they exerted. Few, however, had heard of the mechanics that were trusted to maintain such vehicles flown at the edge between life and "no life."

What did fighter mechanics see? What kind of relationship did they have with their jets? How did they feel? What was interacting with other players in the fighter world like from the mechanics' point of view?

Earl put writing a book to satisfy such curiosities on his to-do list, and began writing shortly after graduation. After 10 years of dedicating spare time to put views from this career into words, the book, "One Desert Jet Turner" was completed, giving everyone (you too!) access to the jet-fighter mechanic experience.

Heron's background as a fighter jet mechanic/airlift flight engineer enables him to compare and contrast views of aviation for you first looking up from the ground, and later looking down from the air, referencing both tactical fighter and tactical transport aircraft.

Listen in on an Author Reading:

(Click "play" symbol in audio bar below.)

Read Some of our Heartfelt Reviews...

Industry Reviews:

From the, February 2013, online review-{This is the 1st book review Jets Press has noticed based solely on the reviewer experiencing the book in eBook format} "54th Review One desert Jet turner- Earl Heron #Particular #Eighties" :

..."All in all, he paints a pretty complete picture of the life of a 'maintenance man'," ..."interaction between the flying crews and their maintenance teams, and about the interaction amongst the maintenance personnel themselves." "He completely slates the [USAF] (safety) culture, and particularly that surrounding the [late '70s early '80s] Thunderbirds." "I had never realized that so much knowledge as to the state of an engine could be had by just tuning in to the noises of the all the parts in a running engine." "...Earl Heron minutely details his 30-day trial period with the team. It didn't go that brilliantly. ...[and] his own analysis of ... accidents ... " "Perhaps [fighter maintenance ] was not his world after all. I hope he has since found something which he thoroughly enjoys in a world in which he feels at ease." "Rated 2/5"

From the, December 30, 2002, online review "Of Mechanics and Men: Review of One Desert Jet Turner.":

"...the book aims to share a series of career perspectives in military aviation, while also touching on the shifting world of a young man who must cope with discrepancies between expectations and reality within a world constructed on the principles of strict adherence to procedure and behavior..."

"...Heron's attempt to shed light on an aspect of the community that too oft goes unnoticed is noteworthy, and his experiences and perspective provide a great number of points to reflect on, particularly for those of us endowed with our own set of wings..."

In their Winter, 2002, "Ready Room Reading" section, Wings of Gold commented:

"An interesting look at those who labor to keep the aircraft up and flying from a writer who speaks from personal experience." *

* "One Desert Jet Turner - A Perspective on Youth, Fighter Aircraft, and Cold War." Wings of Gold (membership newsletter of the Association of Naval Aviation), Winter 2002, 53.

Reader Reviews:

A student pilot wrote:

"I've just finished your book. It was a fascinating read - definitely enjoyed it. Hated finishing the book - it was that good. "Because of my myopia, I most likely cannot fly a fighter jet, so books like yours interest me both in the flying part, as well as "the other side". Your perspectives on everything were definitely educational, even surprising."

A retired Master Sergeant "crew chief" commented:

"...[One Desert Jet Turner] brought back many good memories." "Your description of a crew chief was right on!" I was fortunate enough ... to work on numerous fighters in my 21 years in the Air Force, started on F-4Cs, T-33s, F-15As and Bs, and F-16C." ..."in my career I worked [Transient] Alert, [Maintenance Operations Control Center] (MOCC), Flight line, Tire Shop, ...phase dock, Depot [Maintenance], ...Tow Targets, [and] Equipment support." "I went to the first Gulf war and was stationed in Abu Dhabi..." "Please let me know of other books that may be published about crew chiefs--Very Good Book."

The charter chief system engineer of the USAF F-16 Air Combat Fighter Program Office, Herb Hutchinson, wrote in his Amazon website review:

"Absolutely great how Earl Heron weaves in his personal thoughts into the accounts”…”of what actually goes on with the machines, the operators, the maintainers, and their families.”

The author of One Desert Jet Turner stated at a book signing that:

"Friends often asked what flight engineer training was like, how hard it was, and whether I liked flying as an airlift crewmember better than being a fighter crew chief. This book includes a detailed answer to those questions."

The father of a recent graduate of F-16 crew chief school wrote:

"We live [near] Dayton, Ohio, and it's a longtime family joke that both of our children were raised at the United States Air Force Museum..." "I recently ordered a copy of ODJT as a gift for my son..." "So much of what you wrote..." "...seemed like it could have been quoted from telephone conversations I had with [him]."

"One Desert Jet Turner is [an] ...up close and personal look at the heart and soul of Earl Heron." " took a lot of gears to write so frankly about your thoughts, perspectives, and experiences. You have my respect for putting it all on the line. I think that is the element that makes this book unforgettable."

Fighter Mechanic sits on the rail of an armed F-4 cockpit awaiting his flight crew

A crew chief e-mailed Jets Press to share that he purchased his copy of ODJT at the USAF museum and almost returned it as an expression of his extreme disappointment with the opinions and experiences shared by the author. He went on to write that he joined the service "the day" the author separated and spent 10 years as an F-16 crew chief himself. He writes:

...[instead of returning this book] ..."I will probably frame it now, with the caption, "how not to act, and why."

..."You would have had a much easier, better time if you'd simply had a beer at the end of the AGS barracks hallway occasionally, or spent more time in the expeditor truck, not reading your PFE [promotion fitness examination] under the wing while others needed a hand..."

..."Didn't you understand how to "job" first, ask why later? It's the military, not Embry-Riddle! The worms you described were 2 out of 5, not the majority."

..."Remember, you got everything you wanted! All the boards, below the zone, Staff your first try, T-Birds, Flight Engineer, all your first term. And, you're STILL not happy? My God, I apologize on behalf of everyone else in TAC [Tactical Air Command]..."

A Las Vegas engineer and scale-model aviator shared:

"... I'm a life-long Thunderbirds enthusiast, and now have the good fortune to live within a stone's throw of Nellis AFB, the home of that team. A few weeks back my wife and I enjoyed the Aviation Nation [2003] show there, which, naturally, featured Thunderbird exhibitions.

"... [One Desert Jet Turner] is the most fascinating read I've encountered in several years." "It stands alone."

A retired Senior Master Sergeant "crew chief" who served at Nellis with the author relayed:

"...I really enjoyed his review of " [our] "...early days in the USAF and would have to agree, he called it as he saw it (good and bad). I too saw many of the issues he described, I don't agree with all of them but I must admit, most were true in those days. Many of the issues he touched on made me think (that's a good thing). Some embarrassed me knowing he hit the nail on the head too. I salute your efforts to capture what you lived as I have tried to do.

He may have slapped the USAF in the face a bit too hard with many passages in his book but sometimes, a good ass kicking brings about change."

An Engineering Test pilot E-mailed:

"The personal revelations in this book make it a fun and engaging read. I'm going to send it to my son, who is just in his first year as an Airman in the USAF. Mr. Heron provides a unique opportunity for anyone in my son's situation... a better chance to avoid the "If I had only known then what I know now" lament of later years. The hardware may change, but the personalities will always remain the same."

An online customer commented:

"Rocket Fast Shipping, Heartfelt Book, Highly Recommended AAA+++ ."

An A-10 crew chief Staff Sergeant wrote that he was initially infuriated by the frank nature of the book. As he put it:

"I had a hard time reading it when I would hear negative, but true, things about being a Crew Chief." However, after completing the book the same reader shared that while conditions were different when he served, he still perceived that "...there weren't enough people like you [the author of One Desert Jet Turner] in the Air Force."

A Mechanical engineer commented:

"I like the book for a reason you probably didn't intend--you're a born engineer!"

A retired Chief Master Sergeant "crew chief" who served during the same era at Nellis shared in his E-mails:

"...While I haven't finished the book yet, it is far and away the most accurate portrayal of what it was like on the ramp from a crew chief point of view I have read. He also writes extensively on Flight Engineers and their world..."

"...You put folks inside your "skin" with the book and that was your goal..."

A Las Vegas mother wrote in her letter that her son was "devouring" the book and stated that:

"I keep looking at the stories -- great book!"

From the, February, 2003, online review:

"...I say the story of Earl Heron is the "meat;" the eloquent and super detailed description of the USAF's way of doing business is the "gravy..."

"...There is so much more to these aircraft than one reads in typical publications, the book is worth reading if for no other reason than better understanding some incredible flying machines."

"...Heron draws the reader into a seldom-shared inner sanctum where the mechanical and technical aspects of these aircraft are shared matter-of-factly with no malice toward machinery or personnel."

"...Clearly the book seems to have been produced for use in academia."

"Your Satisfaction Is Guaranteed"

And of course, your satisfaction is guaranteed. Take the book... Read it. If you're not completely satisfied, return it at any time, no questions asked.

"Receive Your Copy In The Next 4 Days!"

Author Earl Heron

Title: One Desert Jet Turner
Author: Earl Heron, A&P
Military-Aviation Memoir

8.5 X 11", trade paperback, 231 pp., hi resolution color cover, 15 b&w illus., 4 pp.table of cont., 9 pp.bibliog.,10 pp.index.
Made In the USA of 100% US materials
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