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Pilot Protection Services Podcast

Aug 7, 2019

This week, we bring you the story of Doug Downey, retired USAF Lt Col and Academy grad who flew as a fighter pilot in the F-16 Viper and the F-117 Nighthawk. Doug survived a near disaster in the F-117 that could have ended in a horrific crash in White Sands National Park. With his engines flamed out, it was time for plan B – but there was no plan B.   The story of Doug’s amazing recovery from this catastrophic event and aviation safety lessons that we can learn from it are featured in Dr. Ken Stahls’ articles on, and the retelling is absolutely riveting. 


You can find more of Doug’s work on the Convergent Performance LLC web site at, and Dr. Stahl’s articles on the AOPA e-magazine at this site.  



Doug’s Bio info:


Doug Downey LtCol USAF (ret) is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and served over 24 years as a college instructor, Combat Logistician, Commander, and as a Fighter Pilot qualified in the F-16 Viper and F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter.


He served as an instructor pilot, functional check pilot, and air show demonstration pilot. He is a career Safety Officer qualified in Crew Resource Management, Safety Management Systems, Root Cause Analysis and accident investigations with experience as an Investigator, Analyst, Chief of Safety, and Aircraft Mishap Board President. He also served as a as an Advance Agent for Air Force One and President G.W. Bush for five years, and later as a Diplomat to Pakistan. In Pakistan he directly consulted the Government on the redesign of F-16 tactical operations, national airspace use, and safety program management and enterprise risk management for the entire Pakistani Air Force.


Doug joined the Convergent Performance team in 2014, and brought with him a breadth of experience in leadership, training, risk mitigation, safety management systems, and process improvement. He has a Bachelor's Degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master's Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In addition to instructing cadets how to fly T-52s (Diamond) and T-53s (Cirrus), he was the Deputy Director of Cadet Training & Education responsible for all curriculum development and strategic planning of assessment and tactical training of over 4,000 cadets.


Doug is recognized as an industry expert in Risk Management, Safety Management Systems, Safety Program Management, and Aviation Accident and Mishap Investigations. He is a successful author of industry research studies and periodical columns. He also is certified by the International Society of Safety Professionals (ISSP) as a Registered Safety Professional.

Doug can be reached at