March Monthly Gathering — Flying for Air America, The CIA’s Covert Air Force

Zoom Presentation: 7:00pm (EST), Saturday, March 18, 2023

Southeast Michigan Mensa will be presenting a series of lectures via Zoom. Those wishing to attend will need to pre-register at the following link: . The event’s Zoom URL and instructions will only be sent to those who are pre-registered. 

Flying for Air America, The CIA’s Covert Air Force

In 1964, Captain Neil Graham Hansen embarked on a journey that was to be life altering.  He hired on as a pilot for the Air America- the CIA’s airline that operated during the Vietnam era and the ‘Secret War’ in Laos and Cambodia — officially neutral countries, but the scene of countless U.S. covert operations. He served as an advisor to the director of the 1990 movie “Air America” starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey, Jr. Gibson’s character in the movie was patterned after Hansen’s “antics” reported in the Christopher Robbins book of the same name. 

Air America’s operations were unknown. Its schedules were irregular. Its pilots were shadow people, whose personnel Hansen says “cannot be filed neatly under anything resembling normal sanity.” It was the world of spooks, covert air ops and adventure! Even though he had already been a pilot for more than half of his life, including working as Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa’s private pilot; Flying for the CIA’s secret air service was the pinnacle of Hansen’s career and a dream come true. But that dream eventually turned his life into a nightmare, with adrenalin addicted Hansen flying drugs for the Columbian cartels. 

Join us on Saturday, March 18, when Captain Neil Graham Hansen will take us directly into the cockpit, onto dirt mountaintop landing strips, into his most harrowing experience being shot down in Laos, flying the last plane out of Cambodia, just hours before it fell to the Khmer Rouge, down the road of self-destruction, and beside him as he regains a foothold on the path to integrity.

Neil Hansen is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a captain for Air America, He spent more than a decade in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War era, accumulating more than 29,000 hours flight time, 9,000 hours in a combat zone. Hansen’s book “FLIGHT: An Air America Pilot’s Story of Adventure, Descent and Redemption” was published by History Publishing Company. His writing has also appeared in various other publications and he has been a frequent guest on the interview and speaker circuit. He makes his home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The Zoom room opens at 6:30pm (EST) for mingling. The program starts at 7:00pm (EST). Please remember that all attendees need to pre-register by clicking on the following link: .