November 14, 2013 9:45AM
It’s not unusual for Pittsburg State University alumni to return for a football game. But when Dr. Allan Stuber comes to Pittsburg to see the Gorillas take on the MSSU Lions Saturday, he’ll see things from an unusual perspective -- 1,000 feet in the air.
Stuber, a retired Navy pilot, airline transport pilot and flight instructor from Lawrence, Kan., is planning a pre-game fly-over to coincide with the playing of the National Anthem.
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. Using leg braces at first, Stuber re-learned how to walk and eventually even returned to flying.
Stuber said he was pushed by members of the faculty such as Dr. Bruce Daniel, Dr. James Thomas and Dr. Orville Brill “and countless others to never quit.”
Stuber 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, a formation flight team of acrobatic sport planes.
For his Pittsburg flyover, Stuber said he is planning on trailing red, white and blue smoke. With him in the plane will be his son, Maj. Pat Stuber, a tank commander who served three combat tours in Iraq, one in Bosnia and recently returned from a special assignment in Afghanistan.
Stuber said his flyover is 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.”