Five on the Fly: Major Rudy J. Belew

Five on the Fly: Major Rudy J. Belew

Five on the Fly: Major Rudy J. Belew

WHO: Major Rudy J. Belew

Kansas Air National Guard

KC-135R Pilot and OST Chief of Aircrew Training

Topeka Regional Airport (KFOE)

FAA – Commercial, Multi-Engine and Instrument;  Military – Instructor/Evaluator Pilot


1. What led you to pursue a career in aviation?

I grew up in an aviation family and began flying at the age of four with my grandfather, who was a certified flight instructor and FAA-designated examiner. I knew from then on that I wanted to be a pilot and just worked towards that goal, which led me to the 190 ARW.

2. How is being a military aviator special? What opportunities does it afford you? 

Being a military aviator is unique because you are a part of a bigger overall mission. It is a constantly changing environment and rarely are two sorties (missions) the same. It has allowed me the opportunity to travel the world and meet/work with amazing people. Also, the training is second to none.

3. Describe a “standard” month’s flying schedule for pilots in the 190th?

The 190 ARW flies approximately 50 local sorties a month with a mixture of day and night flights. We also have numerous trips off station to include deployments and operational missions.

4. What is your most memorable flying moment or mission in the National Guard?

It is hard to pick one as there have been numerous operational missions in which we helped support fighter and bomber aircraft that then helped support troops on the ground in combat. 

My most memorable non-operational sortie was when I was the Aircraft Commander on a flyover of my alma mater (Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas) during a football game in 2018, where numerous family members and friends were attending the game.

5. What advice do you have for someone considering flying for the National Guard?

If interested in flying for the National Guard, I would say find a unit and talk to the men and women that do the mission. With different airframes on different bases, each base will have unique training requirements. Talking with the individuals who already do the mission on a daily basis will give you an idea of what that is like. As far as what opportunities we have, there are traditional guard pilots and full-time guard pilots. Many traditional guardsmen fly for the guard as well as the airlines or in the corporate world.   

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