Frank Furr was born in North Carolina in 1941. He graduated from NC State University and upon graduation he entered pilot training in the US Air Force at Craig AFB, Alabama. Frank started his flying career as an interceptor pilot flying F-102s from Hahn Air Base in Germany. He volunteered for Vietnam duty as a Forward Air Controller flying OV-10s from DaNang Air Base and was the Commander of Prairie Fire Operations for the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron. In this position he led the air support of the covert Special Forces reconnaissance operations in Vietnam, Laos, and other areas. Returning from Vietnam, he was selected into the U-2 Dragon Lady program and became the Commander of the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron whose pilots fly all worldwide operational U-2 missions. In 1984 Frank started his assignments to high level intelligence/reconnaissance operations staff position and 1988 he was selected to become the Chief of Current Collection Operations in the Defense Intelligence Agency where he managed the overall collection plans and operation of the military’s airborne intelligence platforms. He was then asked to become the Military Advisor for Reconnaissance Activities to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.


Upon his retirement from the USAF in 1992 he accepted a position in an aerospace/defense high technology company and became the Vice President, Programs, for L-3 Communication Systems West. In this position he directed various secure communication programs with emphasis on providing real-time, actionable intelligence to war fighters, our national command authorities, and intelligence agencies. He recently retired from L-3 Communications.


He is a recognized authority on airborne reconnaissance operations, military intelligence operations, and the use of real-time communications to support critical missions. He started lecturing about his military experiences while still in the Air Force and was asked to be a Master of Ceremony at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the First U-2 Flight. This was followed by several other speaking engagements to recognize this historical event. He continued to be requested to speak to various groups and while on a cruise he was asked to speak about his U-2 flying experiences. That has led to his becoming an enrichment lecture on his personal experiences and how military intelligence has influenced and contributed to world events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the War on Terrorism.


He holds a BS from NC State University, Raleigh, NC, and a MS from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.


Frank has flown over 3500 hours, including 1300 in the U-2. Frank is the President of Furr Consultants, Inc., specialists in providing support for military intelligence and communication projects. With his experience in government and industry, he understands what is required to win contracts as well as to build confidence in your proposals and responses to inquiries.


Meet Former Spy Pilot Frank Furr


IF YOU’RE A PILOT, chances are you have a nickname. And when you’re a pilot with the last name Furr, it’s perhaps inevitable that you’re going to be tagged “Fuzzy.” Though Frank “Fuzzy” Furr is known around town for his southern drawl and his Carolina barbecue dinners, before he landed in Park City 25 years ago, his notable aviation career took him from Vietnam treetops to the edge of space.


It was while he was a student in North Carolina State University’s Air Force ROTC program that Furr first became airborne. Soon after, he was flying classmates and their dates around for gas money. The Air Force trained him to fly fighters but sent him to Vietnam as a forward air controller—flying low and slow over the jungle marking targets for airstrikes. “I got shot at a lot,” Furr recalls. “I certainly remember the time a shell went right through the canopy behind me. It does get your attention.”


An Air Force buddy referred him to America’s legendary U-2 spy-plane program. There he learned to fly the planes used by the US to take pictures of Russian missile sites in Cuba, which ignited the Cuban Missile Crisis. Furr spent 1,300 mostly combat hours in the U-2 cockpit, flying post-crisis spy missions over Cuba, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and places he still can’t reveal. Up there at 70,000 feet above sea level, pilots wore what Furr calls the “bag”: a pressurized flight suit similar to those worn by astronauts.


Furr climbed into his first U-2 in 1972 and climbed out for good in 1984. After Air Force retirement, he went to work for the Salt Lake City–based L3 Communications, builder of systems that transmit U-2 data to earth, often in real time, so bombers and fighters can use the data against ground threats. Early on, a colleague invited him to his Park City house. “Before the weekend was over, we [with wife Lani] bought a house,” he says. “[Park City] was love at first sight.” Now fully retired, Fuzzy’s interest in the spy game has grown. He’s a frequent lecturer on Princess Cruise Lines and the University of Utah’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute where he gets to remember his best flying assignment. “Up at 70,000 feet what are really spectacular are the sunrises and sunsets,” he says. “It’s a beautiful office.”