Dean O. Talley
Dean O. Talley is an Initial Attack qualified airtanker captain currently flying P2v-7 aircraft on Forest Service contracts primarily in the western United States. He has been seasonally employed on fire contracts since 1978 flying 02, S2, DC4, SP2H, and P3 aircraft. Dean has also flown as an airline captain in the South Pacific, crop duster, fixed-wing and rotor-wing instructor, search-and-rescue pilot for the U. S. Coast Guard, and is a graduate of Naval Flight School.
After growing up in California and flirting with higher education in the late 1960s, Dean enlisted in the coast guard in 1969. With training in electronics, he put to sea on the Cutter Gallatin pulling patrols in the North Atlantic. With an appointment to Naval Flight School as an aviation cadet in 1972, he began a career as a pilot accumulating over seventeen thousand hours of flight time.
As a coast guard pilot, Dean conducted search and rescue, drug interdiction, and marine-environmental patrols as well as medivac missions, from Coast Guard Air Station-Miami, through the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and the Bahamas.
Discharged from the service in 1977, Dean returned to California to pursue a career as an aerial applicator and air-tanker pilot while maintaining a houseboat in North Miami Beach as a winter residence. After selling the boat in 1982, he began a two-year course at Sacramento City College leading to an airframe and power plant license. While attending city college, he met and married his wife.
After graduation, Dean began working full-time in the air-tanker industry, as a mechanic in the winter, pilot in the summer. After several years, he returned to agricultural aviation working on and flying ag aircraft in the Northern California agricultural industry while continuing to fly air tankers on fire contracts in the summer months.
In a career spanning more than forty years, Dean had the privilege to spend time with an extraordinary group of people. No saints, but men and women embodying the gamut of human experience and emotion in some of the most trying circumstances imaginable. Individuals who more often than not will face a challenge with flare and humor, displaying the traits we most admire and despise. He began chronicling their exploits and his own, in journals, from the beginning of his career. Flyboys-Risky Business and Lost and Found are works of fiction drawn from this reservoir and an active imagination.
Dean has traveled extensively for work and pleasure and resides in Northern California.