Veterans Flight 2019
Bad weather from Tropical Storm -- and soon to be -- Hurricane Barry prevented many Stearmans that had committed to participate in Veterans Flight from flying to Pensacola. However, by mid-afternoon Thursday three Stearmans flown by Carey Hardin, John Rettick, and Howard Thomas arrived from Mississippi. Phil Webb's and Roy Kinsey's Stearmans are based in the Pensacola area, so five Stearmans were on the flight line Thursday night. David Duplantis and his Navy #254 were trapped in Destin by heavy rain until late Friday.
First time participants Quin Ducharme (T-6) and Tony Diez (T-34B) flew in from Destin early Friday morning ready to fly veterans. Dave Robinson, who is part of superstar air show performer Skip Stewart's operation, joined the flight line in his SNJ, giving us eight airplanes ready to fly Friday.
Four Stearmans and another T-6/SNJ that regularly come from Roy Ray airport south of Mobile were blocked from coming to Pensacola by bands of hard rain that kept moving north from the Gulf of Mexico into south Alabama. The rain continued all day Friday and into Saturday, so none of these regulars ever made it to Pensacola.
Friday's first flights launched shortly after 0800 and headed for Pensacola Beach into strong winds, but with surprisingly good visibility. Although the winds were gusting to more than 25 knots, they remained almost directly down Runway 17 so the Stearmans used less than 100 feet of runway to get airborne. The winds were so strong the Stearmans ground speeds were less than 50 knots to the beach and more than a 30 degree crab angle was needed to fly parallel to the beach. Returning to Pensacola International the tailwinds were so strong that ground speeds exceeded 120 knots, which is the fastest ground speed many of us have seen in our Stearmans.
Everyone was surprised we were able to fly Friday as the strong winds and intense rain ultimately resulted in all the civilian aerobatic acts being cancelled both Friday and Saturday. However, thanks to our pilots, our volunteers, and some fortunate breaks in the weather, we were able to fly all the veterans on both Friday and Saturday's flight schedules. More importantly, we were able to do it safely.
In addition to Photo Ops Chief Steven Stopler who spent much of Friday taking aerial photos from the Robinson R44 helicopter flown by Hang Ten Helicopter, LLC's Kenny Brown, this year we were fortunate to have several volunteer photographers. Below are some of the great photos from Friday and Saturday.
Steven Stopler Photographs
Army Veterans Joe Gossen (B-17 Ball Turret Gunner) and John Beard (B-25 Pilot) Ready For Friday's Flights
Army B-24 Pilot Tom Neiss and Family Members Arrived Early For Saturday's Flights
Pearl Harbor Survivor Cass Phillips and Carey Hardin (Navy #469) Lead Marc Phillips and John Rettick (Army #470) to Pensacola Beach During Friday's First Flight
Ensign Coordinator Lt. Mark Mussel Points Out The
Airplane For Army Veteran Don Cripps Flight
Army Veteran Joe Gossen Gives a "Thumbs Up" To Let Us Know He's Enjoying His Flight
Howard Thomas and His White 450 Super Stearman In Perfect Position As Phil Webb (Army #42) Turns Their Two-Ship Formation East Along Pensacola Beach
Navy Veteran Jim Crumlish Was Clearly Ready For His Flight
John Rettick (Army #470) Is In Position As Carey Hardin (Navy #469) Turns the Formation East Along the Beach
Jeff Rease Photographs
Navy Stearman 708 Weathered a Rain Shower
Before Friday's First Flights
B-17 Ball Turret Gunner Sgt. Joe Gossen
Was Ready to Fly Friday
Pearl Harbor Survivor Frank Emond Ready
To Fly In Tony Diez's Beautiful T-34B
Retired Navy LCDR Phil Webb Briefs
Pearl Harbor Survivor Cass Phillips and Veterans Flight Pilot Carey Hardin After Friday's First Flight
Army Air Corps B-25 Pilot John Beard In The Front Cockpit Of Phil Webb's Stearman
Veterans Flight Pilot Quin Ducharme and Navy Veteran Theo Elbert After Friday's First Flight In Quin's North American T-6G Advanced Trainer
Jeff Rease Captured A Rare Moment Of Veterans Flight Photo Ops Chief Steven Stopler Relaxing In Hang Ten Helicopters, LLC's Robinson R44 Before Friday's First Flights.
Veterans Flights Sends a Big
To Pilot Kenny Brown and Hang Ten Helicopters For Providing The R44 For Veterans Flight 2019.
Ed Patterson Photographs
Navy Veteran Jim Liles Was Eager to Get Back In The Air In A Navy N2S-4 Stearman
Stearmans Ready And Waiting To Fly Saturday Morning
Navy Veteran And Photographer Ed Patterson Had a Good View Of David Duplantis Flying Stearman 254
Army Veterans Leonard Swartz and Tom Neiss Enjoyed Their Flights
Quin Ducharme And His T-6G Arrived From Destin
Early Friday Morning Ready To Fly Veterans
Army B-24 Pilot James Player Was Interviewed By Pensacola News Journal Reporter Melanie Vynalek
Tropical Storm Barry Made Conditions Challenging For Saturday's Flights
Navy F6F-5 Hellcat Pilot Dick Pace and Army B-25 Pilot John Beard Checking In Friday
Thank You Pensacola Aviation Center
Veterans Flight Would Not Happen Without The Help and Support We Receive
From The Great Folks At Pensacola Aviation Center
Rick Carraway Photographs
T-34 Pilot Tony Diez and Navy Veteran and Pearl Harbor Survivor Frank Emond
Navy Pearl Harbor Survivor and PBY Pilot Cass Phillips With Stearman Pilot Carey Harding After Friday's Flight
Tony Diez Briefs Navy Veteran "Cash" Barber Before Cash's Flight in Tony's T-34
Stearman Pilot Phil Webb With Navy Veteran James Golden & Family After Friday's Flight
Phil Webb (Army #42) and David Duplantis (Navy #254) Climb Out for Pensacola Beach
USAF Veteran Bob Manning, T-6 Pilot Quin Ducharme, Army & USAF Veteran Chuck Manning & SNJ Pilot Dave Robinson
Army B-24 Pilot James Player Ready for His Flight in Roy Kinsey's Navy Stearman
Photo Ops Chief Steven Stopler Is Still Taking Photos As Pilot Kenny Brown Maneuvers to Land
Ryan Rankin Photographs
Volunteer Ensign Coordinator Navy Lt. Amy Davis Escorts Army Veteran Gus D'Aloise To Navy Stearman 708
Gus D'Aloise's Smile Says He Is Ready To Take To The Air
Retired Navy Captain Carolyn Deal and Her Father, Navy Veteran Cash Barber, Head for Tony Diez's T-34
Stearman Pilot Phil Webb Briefs Army B-25 Pilot John Beard Before Friday's Flight
This Was Army B-24 Pilot Tom Neiss First Stearman Flight As He Did Primary Training In Fairchild PT-19's
Stearman Pilot Phil Webb and Army B-24 Pilot Tom Neiss Enjoyed Their Flight
Navy Pilot Jim Liles Is Ready To Get the Engine Started For His Flight Friday
Army B-25 Pilot John Beard, Who Is 100 Years Young, Gets Out of a Stearman More Easily Than Many Younger Pilots