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Jon Beesley, Rexburg’s real-life ‘Top Gun’ fighter pilot, answers 7 Questions with Emmy

7 Questions

Every week I’m interviewing fascinating people in our community, nation and around the world.

The idea came from a Facebook commenter who saw a video of me and my family floating down the river in Island Park. The person said I should turn the tables and interview my dad (Nate Eaton) – so I did and the rest is history!

Jon Beesley is eastern Idaho’s real-life ‘Top Gun’ fighter pilot. The Rexburg native began his test pilot career at Edwards Air Force Base working on classified programs and went on to fly over 50 planes including the F-117 stealth fighter, F-16 – Falcon Eye, YF-22, F- 22 Raptor and others.

He and his wife Susie have six children and several grandchildren. They have lived all over the world and Jon has received numerous awards.

I visited with Jon at his Rexburg home and asked him the following questions:

  • Can you tell me about the fastest plane you’ve ever flown in and how fast you went?
  • When did you decide you wanted to be a pilot?
  • Have you ever had a major emergency while flying and what did you do?
  • What do you like best about flying?
  • Can you tell me about your craziest adventure?
  • How do you keep cool while in really stressful situations?
  • Is ‘Top Gun’ like the real thing?


  • What have you learned being a fighter pilot?
  • Have you ever blacked out while flying?
  • Can you share a piece of advice you’ve been given that can help me?

After the interview, Jon showed me some pretty cool items he’s collected over the years. Watch our entire conversation in the video player above!

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