Frank K. “Pete” Everest
Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
Frank “Pete” Everest was born August 10, 1920. He won his wings and commission in 1942. During WW II he served as a fighter pilot in North Africa, Sicily and Italy where he flew 94 missions and shot down two German aircraft. Later in China he flew 64 more missions and destroyed four Japanese aircraft before being shot down in 1945 by ground fire and becoming a POW.
After the war in 1946 he was assigned to the Flight Test Division, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. Thus began a long series of assignments in Flight Testing, including four years at Dayton and six years at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB California where he served as Chief of the Air Force Test Flight Section. In that position he participated in the flight testing of all early jet aircraft in the Air Force inventory, including bomber and transport aircraft.
He has flown 163 different types/models of aircraft. The most spectacular portion of his flight test career was in a group of Bell, Douglas and Northrop X-series experimental rocket powered aircraft in which he established numerous speed and altitude records. This series of successful experimental flights led in 1956 to General Everest becoming known as the “Fastest Man Alive.”
He recorded his thrilling experiences in a book by the same name. His work at Edwards was followed in 1959-1973 with a series of other challenging Air Force staff and command assignments primarily related to fighter aircraft. Everest retired with the rank of Brigadier General in 1973 and has lived in Tucson since 1983.