Since February, History Flight, a non-profit foundation dedicated to bringing World War Two aviation history to life and bringing MIA servicemen home, has been traveling across the country offering flights in World War Two planes. When my mom realized that the North Carolina leg of the tour would coincide with my grandfather’s 89th birthday, she quickly booked him a spot!
My grandfather is a World War Two veteran, and before shipping out for the war, he actually trained on the North American AT-6 Texan that he ended up flying a few weeks ago. But when he was given his actual aircraft assignment during the war, he piloted a four-engined B-24 bomber… very efficient at subduing the enemy, but not exactly known for its acrobatic skills! The acrobatics were something he always missed, so when Mom told him he would be flying one for his birthday, he immediately started naming all the moves he wanted to do in the air! Unfortunately, due to the age of the plane’s metal, he couldn’t do everything he remembered, but he did get to do some barrel rolls, all of which were captured on video cameras attached to the plane! But, here’s a glimpse of my view from the Franklin County Triangle North Executive Airport.
This is “Tiny”, the 6’3″ retired Navy Commander who flew with my granddad! He also graciously signed my granddad’s wartime flight log at the end of the day, adding another 30 minutes to all the flight time he logged during the war!
There were lots of parachutists out that day!
That’s my granddad’s plane landing on the right, headed straight for that parachutist! Yikes!
Describing the flight to us… he can still simulate all the control movements he learned almost 70 years ago!
I think next time the History Flight crew is in town, I’m going to have to sign myself up! That, or hitch a ride on one of those parachutes… I’d jump out of an airplane in a second!