12806 Billie Flynn: It’s Time

After 40+ years flying jets, 80+ airplanes and 5000+ hours, and getting to fly the F-35, the best 5th Gen stealth fighter on the planet, it’s time to transition to life on the ground with my beautiful wife and family in Canada. Among some of the influencers, COVID-19 made travel to see my family impossible, and this decision all the more important. My career as a Commanding Officer of 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron and Task Force Aviano in combat during Operation Allied Force and more than 2 decades as a ‘civilian’ test pilot, brings to mind many thoughts – I’ve been blessed, charmed, lucky and sometimes terrified. There have been many occasions, in the words of Chuck Yeager, that I have been lucky to ‘live to fly another day’. I’ve tested jets around the world – all over Europe, the Middle East, India, the Far North, and had the some of the most fun while choreographing and flying the F-35 at the 2017 Paris Air Show…described as ‘méchant’ by the French Air Boss. I’ve enjoyed a bit of stardom (?) with extensive public speaking and media interviews as the face of the F-35.

I cannot imagine my career having been any better.

As a retired Commanding Officer who had the great honour and privilege of leading in combat, I wish the Canada F-35 team the best of luck. Canada needs the F-35 as its next fighter. The Texans need to learn to speak Canadian when across the border and win that competition.

I am seriously looking forward to my next phase – there will be one! I definitely will enjoy the incredible lifestyle I’ve been living in Canada, north of Toronto from biking to skiing to being back in my homeland. But, I want to take my unique and incredible experience – described as very ‘kinetic’, in terms of aerospace, tech, global threat and career in the forefront of innovation and put it all to work. I will be launching a consulting company over the next few months, I have started writing a book, and a podcast series and will continue my work with the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

I have crossed paths with many incredible leaders, mentors, flyers…both military and civilian. The world is now smaller and more accessible than ever – please reach out, stay in touch, send me ideas! I can always be reached at [email protected] or my cell at 817-675-6441.

Be safe,


Click here for Video: F-35 Paris Air Show Highlights


  • Bill Sergeant

    September 1, 2020 at 10:33 am

    All the best during the next phase of life Billie. It sounds like you already have a plan to stay active. Cheers, Bill Sergeant

  • Kevin Bryski

    September 1, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Super career. You can be very proud of your many feats and accomplishments. You’re a legend. Keep well and enjoy the well-deserved time with your family.

  • 11766 James Philip Doherty

    September 2, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Dear Billie,
    It has been the greatest pleasure for me to follow your incredible exploits throughout your military career and beyond. I am grateful that we had the good fortune to attend Staff College together, to work together as Commanding Officers at 4 Wing Cold Lake, and then to reconnect on the fringes of the astronaut program in Houston. Your energy, your intellect, your athleticism, your talent, your drive, and your ambition always amazed me. When I was supporting you and the Balkan Rats from 1 Air Maintenance Squadron as you led 441 TFS pilots and ground crew into combat with Task Force Aviano, I will never forget the most amazing (and likely unprecedented) statistic that with 1 percent of the coalition fighter aircraft resources in theatre, you and the Balkan Rats flew 10 percent of the missions. This stood out for me as being perfectly characteristic of you and your outstanding career – give all you that you’ve got, and then more (while doing it safely). Impressive! I wish you joyful adventure, great success, and much happiness with your future endeavours.
    With much admiration, James