Biography of Arthur W. Heiden

Capt, 79th FS, 20th FG, 8th AF

     Arthur W. Heiden was born on February 22, 1923 and subsequently graduated from High School, Class of 42. He entered service from Nebraska in June of 1942 and attended USAAF Flying School 43-H. Assigned to 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, at King's Cliffe, England, he attained the rank of Captain and flew the P-38J and the P51D in combat over Europe from February to August 1944. Some anecdotes of these experiences are set forth from the links below while photographs and more stories are found on Mr. Heiden's 20th Fighter Group page.

     In repsonse to a query on the methods of fighting the P38 in combat, Capt. Heiden responded, "the old throttle chop and stuff everything in opposite corners was in every P-38 pilot's bag of tricks, if someone had managed to slip up his Six. Theory was, that it would make it nearly impossible for the attacker to get his gunsight on him and if he did, you would be going somewhere else from what it appeared.

     "This idea had a downside, in that you would be giving up A/C performance, in such as airspeed, and rate of climb. Hence, the only practical time to use this, would be if the other guy was getting hits on your A/C, before you knew he was there. Other words, if you suddenly thought you had run into a hail storm, no time to think, last resort.

     "The P-38, without boosted ailerons, was heavy/stiff on controls and if a lazy pilot, some would think about using this procedure. Us gorillas, would get our leg in to full rudder and lay into the aileron with everything we had. The latter worked with any fighter.

     "A Fighter pilot needs to be a rudder man. Its the essential control, and the only one that will control the A/C in a stall and also make the A/C go in another direction than it appears to be."

      "From the German side, let me recommend Heinz Knoke's "I Flew for the Fuhrer", this is the best I've found, and his account of April 29, 44 was a particular memorable date for the 20thFG, everything was all screwed up, Bombers were late, lost, separated, and got the hell beat out of them. the 20th was trying to get to a bomber group which were under attack and separated, and were pleading for help. We were trying to get to them, but were under attack too, continually bounced. The armor plated FW-190's were hitting the bombers. Droves of Me-109's were hitting the escort fighters. The worst mess that I experienced and heavy bomber losses."

       Mr. Heiden was then transferred to Tallahassee, Florida where he served as a Fighter Training Instructor, training pilots on two types, the P-40N and the P-51D Mustang.

       Mr. Heiden then served during the Occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1947 being assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force. His position was as Combat Operations Officer 5th Fighter Command. During this time he flew the P-38L and the P-51D.

       After leaving active service in August of 1947, Mr. Heiden remained in the USAF Reserve until 1960. His assignment during this time was with the Fighter Operations Section, Strategic Air Command HQ.

       Mr. Heiden is also a professional Civilian Pilot.  He has flown as a Charter pilot, Flight Instructor, A & P Mechanic, Agriculture Pilot, Corporation Pilot, and Weather Modification Pilot in the such far flung places as Greece, Caribbean, Central & South America, Middle East as well as the United States. His Professional Certifications include Airline Transport Pilot, A & P Mechanic, Flight Instructor SMEL-Instrument, Ground Instructor-Advanced. He has Civil Type ratings with the DeHavilland DH-125, and the DA-20.

       Over 50 years of Flying, Mr.Heiden has accumulated 25,000 hours of flight time.

-------  Art Heiden


Biography of Art Heiden, from 20th Fighter Group Page, With Photos and more, Use Back Key To Return

20th Fighter Group, By Syd Edwards, Use Back Key To Return

It's Hard to be a Hero if your Story has been heard before!, By Art Heiden

The Flak House Capers, By Art Heiden



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