Steve Canyon assumes command of an experimental mission involving a KB-50 tanker towing three F-102 Interceptors like a flying aircraft carrier. The plan, conceived by Gen. "Shanty" Towne, an old flying buddy of Steve's (who is grounded because of failing health) is in danger of being cancelled.
Steve is assigned to aid his friend Bradshaw, a test pilot, in a hazardous project to launch F-100 Super Sabres from the backs of trucks with rocket boosters. When Bradshaw's booster fails to detach in flight it places the him and the whole program in danger...but Col. Canyon has a plan.
Colonel Canyon and his friend Major "Pitch" Hammer prepare for an around-the-world flight in F-102 jet fighters which are wired to transmit their brain waves and heart reactions to ground stations en-route, but Major Hammer has a secret that jeopardizes the mission.
Col. Canyon attempts to bring home a giant, crippled C-130 "Hercules" transport plane across the pacific. Passengers rebel over having to throw out valuable possessions to reduce weight and Steve has to make a serious decision.
Steve is thrown from a plane while observing a paramedic training jump. The drillmaster fractures his leg attempting to aid Canyon and they both end up in a remote wilderness, miles from civilization...and help.
Leaving Morocco, Col. Canyon begins a grim race against time, weather, and death when in-flight refueling mysteriously fails during an attempt to establish a new round - the world non - stop speed record for the Strategic Air Command.
Steve is assigned to pilot a plane that drops a test big one. This is a straightforward account of the preparation, dropping, and subsequent testing of an H-bomb and its aftereffects. There's plenty of excellent Air Force archival footage, custom footage (shot just for this episode) and narrative chatter, but also lots of good conventional acting, which gives this a strong documentary flavor. One of the best of the series.
While piloting a B-52 bomber from Brazil to California, one of Canyon's crew becomes ill. A Flight Surgeon at their destination radios them that the illness is likely to be spinal meningitis and tells Steve the sick man must be treated immediately. But Canyon has some trouble with the landing gear and hesitates to crash the jet and risk the lives of the entire crew.
While flying a group of refugee children from an Austrian displaced-persons camp (to spend the holidays with American servicemen's families In Germany), Steve meets a nine year old girl who has never celebrated Christmas. He has to figure out a way to explain the true meaning of Christmas to her.
While Colonel Canyon is transporting an important American diplomat and his secretary from Istanbul to Pakistan, an enemy Mig jet fighter forces his unarmed C-47 to land in unfriendly territory. With an injured crewman and a plane that won't fly, how will they reach the border?
With a civilian passenger on board, as Canyon attempts to land his jet fighter at Big Thunder AFB, he discovers that his nose wheel is damaged, and he must try to eject the frightened man before he risks a dangerous crash landing.
A wealthy defense contractor is reported missing by his wife. The woman and a friend who is a State Senator convince Steve to conduct an all out search for the man as they suspect foul play from a foreign power.
Canyon flies off on a goodwill mission in the pacific and lands in New Guinea where he is shown a pair of Army dog tags which belonged to a flier listed as missing in action during WW II. Steve investigates, taking the native who found the tags along with him, and runs headlong into trouble with a group of Japanese soldiers who believe we are still at war with them.
As Lt. Col. Steve Canyon and his B-52 crew are about to return to the US after a mission to Taipei, a persistent peddler sells him a wooden monkey souvenir. Back at Big Thunder, Canyon finds that the innocent-appearing carving has placed himself and Captain Maggie Gallagher into danger.
Canyon is caught between local morale and the Pentagon's wrath when a sadistic boxer puts Sgt. Berger in the hospital. The money is on Sgt. Featherstone (a former pro boxer) who wants to take on the bully, who is the light heavyweight contender and is training at Big Thunder for the upcoming title bout.
Colonel Canyon and Major Williston are kidnapped by three men who take over their plane at gunpoint. The captors plan to rob the Penrose Air Force Base bank, use the plane for a getaway and bail out over Mexico, leaving the unfortunate fly-boys tied up aboard the plane to die when the plane runs out of fuel.
When a Big Thunder war bride is slain Steve and Police Chief Hagedorn discover a cruel blackmail plot against the wives who have relatives behind the Iron Curtain. Col. Canyon enlists the services of another war bride (Narda Onyx) to try and smoke out the killer.
Arriving in Vienna, Austria for a visit with friends Steve gets a taste of Cold War intrigue. Canyon learns that his little friend Lisa and Mrs. Czerny have been kidnapped by the Reds. The kidnappers will release her if her father Karolyi, a Hungarian underground leader, is turned over to them.
On a practice bombing mission, Canyon has difficulties and is forced to drop a small bomb on a disposal area. The bomb doesn't explode and is picked up by some boys who saw it drop, but don't know the danger they are in.
A B-47 bomber on a routine flight loses contact with it's base. When the Air Force realizes that the plane is out of control and heading for Russia, they Send Steve Canyon up to investigate and try to stop a potential international incident.
There is a question concerning a young lieutenant named Muller at Big Thunder Air Force Base who must choose between loyalty to his country and to his father, who is suspected of being an infamous Nazi war criminal.
Capt. Dennis Parker flies his F-104 to Big Thunder Air Force Base, arriving in a state of shock and talking about the Korean War. Canyon and flight surgeon Major Richmond try to find out what caused Parker to go into shock.
An East Indian potentate visits the Big Thunder AFB with his wife and retinue. When Major Williston's friend (a visiting newspaperwoman assigned to the story) disappears, the Air Force Officers discover a plot to assassinate the visiting dignitary.
"Little Looey", a firebee guided missile used as a target for Air Force aerial gunnery competition, takes on almost human proportions at Yuma Air Force Base. The maintenance men who service the missile are told that "Little Looey" will be retired with honors if "he" survives 25 missions. Lt. Col. Canyon, engaging in gunnery competition with old Air Force cronies, becomes the key figure in a strange morale problem.