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Pilots help celebrate Utah doctor's 95th birthday

By Keith McCord | Posted - May 22, 2010 at 10:00 p.m.


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WEST JORDAN -- For most people, their relationship with their doctors is an important one. There's comfort in knowing that your physician wants to help you in any way he or she can.

Saturday, a big group of patients came out to honor their doctor -- who has taken care of them for years.

It was a bit difficult to interview 95-year-old Dr. Bud Chandler, a man who was part of the "Greatest Generation."

That's because of the crowd who gathered just to get a chance to shake his hand.

Dr. Swithin "Bud" Chandler was born in 1915 and served in the Battle of the Bulge, but for the past 60 years or so, he's been giving physicals to airline pilots at the request of the FAA.


He's a really special person to a lot of people because he has some innate ability to heal people without medicine, but just by his manner. That's kind of rare in today's medical profession.

–Fred Chandler


Saturday, many of those pilots and longtime patients flew in to honor Dr. Bud for his years of dedication.

"Some of these pilots who are coming in, I saw them as students and now they're retired Delta pilots and Southwest pilots and United pilots," Chandler said. "We're all just good friends and they come in when they can."

Plane after plane taxied into South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan for a birthday and semi-retirement party for a man who's kept them healthy and cockpit-ready for decades.

"Usually when you get a physical from him, he goes over your vitals and says, ‘OK, looks like you're OK, let's talk about your plane. You keeping your plane up? Keeping your oil changed?'" said patient and pilot Randy Brimhall.

Chandler's son says his father's gift isn't just about the medicine, it's about heart.

"He's a really special person to a lot of people because he has some innate ability to heal people without medicine, but just by his manner," said Fred Chandler. "That's kind of rare in today's medical profession."

Brimhall agrees. "Everybody looks up to Doc. He's has so much enthusiasm about airplanes. He is ‘Mr. Airplane' for everybody," he said.

Dr. Chandler has stopped giving FAA physicals to pilots, but he still has a private practice, where he has an assistant who will continue doing that job.

That means he'll still be able talk shop with his pilot buddies for years to come.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord

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