Dr. Allan Stuber returned to PSU for a football game last fall, but he had perhaps the most interesting view of any of the 8,000+ fans in Carnie Smith Stadium – 1,000 feet in the air.

Stuber, a retired Navy pilot, airline transport pilot and flight instructor from Lawrence, Kan., conducted a pre-game fly-over during the National Anthem, trailing red, white and blue smoke from his plane.


Alan Stuber prepares for a Carnie Smith Stadium flyover.

Stuber said his flyover was a tribute to the nation and its military veterans. It is also a way to say “thanks” to Pittsburg State.

“Thank you Pitt State for helping the veterans and for pushing the students,” Stuber said. “There are Gorillas, and those who wish they were.”

Stuber said he arrived on the PSU campus as a freshman and ROTC cadet 50 years ago. After graduation, he entered the Navy, where he became an aircraft carrier pilot.

During a night training mission, a fire erupted in Stuber’s jet. There was an explosion and crash. The crash and salvage team cut Stuber out of the wreckage, but he was seriously burned and had a broken back and spinal cord injury. When he left the Navy, Stuber was in a wheelchair.

Stuber, with an infant son, returned to PSU to finish a master’s degree in physics. He said staff in the Athletics Department helped him with therapy. Members of the faculty such as Dr. Bruce Daniel, Dr. James Thomas and Dr. Orville Brill “and countless others pushed me to never quit.”

Using leg braces at first, Stuber re-learned how to walk and eventually even returned to flying.

He continued his education at the University of Kansas, earning an MBA and then a Ph.D. in engineering. Stuber and his wife, Dr. Gayle Stuber, founded Stuber Research Corp. at the Lawrence Airport.

Today, Stuber and a number of former military and professional pilots, make up the Stuber Gunslinger Squadron.