DAVE REDDING

Dave Redding had worked for Kelly Nielson's father at the Sparrow Ridge Airport, a small desert airstrip in Arizona for private and charter planes. He had learned to fly and to perform certain repairs on aircraft, and he had also started a relationship with Kelly. He had been sent to Vietnam where he used to fly helicopters as a MedEvac pilot, but he was shot down and held prisoner for 13 months. Toward the end he had been digging graves, the last one being his own. His captors had tied his elbows behind his back and made him kneel at the edge of the grave, waiting for the revolver at the back of his head to go off, until they released him, laughing. The isolation and torture he had endured as a POW had left deep emotional scars from which he had never really recovered, and he had not been able to fly a helicopter since the war. Afterward Dave had returned to the Sparrow Ridge Airport where he had once worked, and he was reunited with Kelly. The two of them rekindled a delicate relationship, which worked because they had learned to make allowances for each other.

When Terry Andrews and his three partners, Buddy, Turk, and Elias, masterminded an armored car robbery in Texas and rendezvoused at the Sparrow Ridge Airport where they intended to hijack a charter plane to escape across the border into Mexico, Kelly, Dave, and Al, the short order cook at the airport's diner, were taken hostage. Dave, reliving the trauma of his years as a prisoner, remained timid and compliant when confronted by the criminals, and he was unable to bring himself to fly the helicopter as a means of escape. He and MacGyver were ordered to dig a grave for the security guard who had been killed by Buddy, and he complied when order to make repairs on the charter plane the thieves intended to fly. As MacGyver struggled to prevent the criminals from escaping, the words of Kelly, Al, and MacGyver finally convinced Dave to find the courage to fly the helicopter. His delicate maneuver used the helicopter skid to knock out Andrews as MacGyver disabled the other three. The thieves were apprehended, and Dave had taken the first step toward overcoming the emotional trauma of the past.

Portrayed by: Art Hindle

Cross Reference: Terry Andrews, Arizona, Buddy, Elias, Kelly Nielson, Sparrow Ridge Airport, Al Tennyson, Turk, Walt

Episode Reference: Last Stand