Edwards Pilot Reaches 12K Mishap-Free Flying Hours

Lt. Col. Dave Cotton, chief of training with the 412th Operations Group at Edwards AFB, Calif., recently achieved an extremely rare milestone for active duty pilots—hitting 12,000 accident-free flight hours. A 1974 Air Force Academy graduate, Cotton hit his mandatory retirement cap of 28 years in 2002, but due to the war on terror, he was retained to fill a key position. “I joined the Air Force to fly airplanes, that was really the bottom line,” Cotton said. He is up for re-retirement in 2006.