September 28, 1995 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Maj. Robert Nolan and Capt. Gerald Swift of the 39th Flight Test Squadron,Eglin AFB, Florida recieve the Semper Viper award.
While performing a guns jink, the sidestick controller of Maj. Robert Nolan's F-16 broke. Nolan, an experimental test pilot of the 39th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin AFB
, Florida, was flying basic fighter maneuvers against another F-16 from the 39th. When the stick broke, he had no pitch or roll control of the aircraft. No problem. Nolan was flying a two-seat F-16. He quickly transferred flight controls to the backseat, where Capt. Gerald Swift, a flight test engineer and newcomer to the 39th FTS, was enjoying his first ride in an F-16.
After some speedy but thorough instructing, Nolan successfully guided Swift to a smooth and safe landing back at Eglin.
For their efforts, the two F-16 pilots received the 1995 Joe Bill Dryden Semper Viper Award. The award was presented at the annual Viper Driver's Reunion at Luke AFB, Arizona, in September.