Fantasy series book ID request

I’m pretty sure it was a two or maaaaybe three part series
I think it was published by Ace (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Del Rey)
Time period–I know I read it before 1994 and probably after 1986 (I’m not as sure of the start date. It certainly wasn’t before 1980)

Vaguely half-remembered premise.

Air Force pilot gets pulled into a fantasy world (with his plane? maybe?) something-something-something–ends up flying a dragon(?) fighting a war(?) in Fantasyland. By the second book or the third book, he comes back to Earth with a bunch(?) of dragons to protect Washington DC(?) from enemy bombers(?) with his dragon(s).

It is absolutely, positively not the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. For one, that’s set in Napoleonic times, this was set in the then-present.

It had a military-sf feel but with a fantasy setting (think The Doomfarers of Coramonde, for example).

Any guesses?

It’s not “A Barnstormer In Oz”, is it?

No–definitely not. Barnstormer was set in the '20s or so, this would have been the '80s for the Earth setting. :slight_smile:

I think the cover of the third (second? last?) volume features a Top Gun-esque pilot in a cockpit of a plane in the lower foreground and in the upper background, in the blue cloudy sky is a dragon with a rider.

The Doomfarers of Coramonde by Brian Daley, I’d guess. There was a sequel, too.

edit: actually, I vaguely recall another series that might fit better… must think a bit more.

Nope, not Doomfarers. That was published about 10 years too early, and neither it or the sequel involved returning to Earth with magic.

OK, but I do remember another, later series… I read a couple of them.

Could it be The Wizardry Cursed by Rick Cook?

No, the soldiers in that story were infantry in an Armored Personnel Carrier, not pilots in airplanes.

…it doesn’t match a bunch of details, the cover’s not what I remember and Rick Cook Wizardry series* is a lot lighter in tone than I remember my mystery trilogy being. Plus, I’m pretty sure my cover showed the pilot’s face or helmet.

That said, I haven’t read that specific book since it came out (the series suffers the “The longer the series goes, the weaker it gets” syndrome) and it’s certainly similar enough that it’s a possibility.
*The first few of which I highly recommend