As we get ready for each year's Veterans Flight, periodic "Countdowns" are sent to our email distribution list. While there is no set schedule, they are normally published on Fridays and increase in frequency as we get closer to the date of the Pensacola Beach Air Show.

Beginning with the most recent, below are all updates that have been distributed for Veterans Flight 2020. If you're not familiar with Veterans Flight these updates, along with the videos and other information on our website, will give you a better idea of how we honor and thank the World War II veterans while at the same time hopefully educating our fellow citizens about the roles these veterans and wonderful old airplanes played in making it possible for us to live in this great country. 

 

If you aren't on our email distribution list and want to receive Countdowns when published, send an email to Veterans Flight at veteransflight@cox.net and we'll add you to the distribution list. Make sure you check your SPAM filter as our emails are sent to multiple addresses and your email provider may not recognize our address until you add it to your contacts list.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Dan Peterson’s TBM 700 C2 is the Newest Addition to the Veterans Flight Air Force

Countdown #10 – 19 June 2020

Only 21 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights

More Great News – “Lima Bravo” 6-Ship Formation Flight  

Veterans Flight has confirmed that Lima Bravo candidates Art Leach of Odell, Illinois and Ron Mason of Des Moines, Iowa are joining us for Veterans Flight 2020. Art and Ron will travel to Pensacola thanks to the generous offer of Dan Peterson, Principal Emeritus of ZS Associates in Evanston, Illinois to fly them to Pensacola in his magnificent TBM 700 C2 turboprop.

 

Art and Ron were both Navy pilots during World War II. Both have also left their 100th birthdays astern, so they will qualify for Lima Bravo recognition upon completion of their Veterans Flight. The air show’s program will not be published until 26 June, but we look forward to Lima Bravos Frank Emond, John Beard, Dick Pace and Cass Phillips being joined by Art and Ron in a six Stearman formation to open the air show immediately before the National Anthem.

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If you know World War II aviators, there is still time to email their contact information to veteransflight@cox.net so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Veterans Flight Stearmans Opened the 2018 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Countdown #9 – 12 June 2020

Only 28 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights

Santa Rosa Island Authority Planning Modified Pensacola Beach Air Show

Late Wednesday the Santa Rosa Island Authority issued this press release:

PENSACOLA, Fla. (June 10, 2020) — After multiple meetings between the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) staff and air show performers, the staff proposes the SRIA continue planning the 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show in July.

 

The air show program this year is built around social distancing in observance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for the COVID-19 virus. 

 

The program will be a four-day event, and each day will have similar flight maneuvers. This expanded schedule will give the public four different opportunities to view the performances at least once.

 

The event’s footprint has been expanded substantially and there will be no center point in this year’s performance, to comply with CDC recommendations.

 

Aerial displays along the beach are scheduled to begin before noon each day.

 

SRIA staff and performers, including the Blue Angels, are still refining exact times and geographical locations that will include both Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.

 

The full program with all the details will be published on June 26, 2020. For all official updates, please visit https://visitpensacolabeach.com/whats-happening-blue-angels/ or Visit Pensacola Beach’s Facebook page.

Although this year’s air show will be different than those of the past, Veterans Flight will do all it can to help the SRIA make the 2020 Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show one of the best the beach has ever seen.

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, email their contact information to veteransflight@cox.net so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Veterans Flight Stearmans Opened the 2018 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Countdown #8 – 5 June 2020

Only 35 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights.

Lima Bravo Formation Will Open the Air Show

Florida continued its return to pre COVID-19 normality this week as more businesses reopened to the public. Although accommodating what is expected to be a record crowd on Pensacola Beach creates “social distancing” challenges, the Santa Rosa Island Authority and the Blue Angels are working hard to keep the 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show on schedule, while also making sure spectators can safely enjoy the best air show they will ever see.  

 

2020 is the 75th anniversary of America’s and its allies victory in World War II, but it also marks retirement of the Blue Angels’ F/A-18A legacy Hornets as the team transitions to the F/A-18E Super Hornet, a much larger airplane that will remind spectators of the early 1970’s shows when the Blue Angels flew the legendary F-4J Phantom.

 

Veterans Flight will open the air show with a Stearman formation flight honoring five recipients of Veterans Flight’s Lima Bravo award. The Lima Bravo award recognizes veterans who have flown with Veterans Flight AND celebrated their 100th birthday. Frank Emond, Lima Bravo #2; John Beard, Lima Bravo #3; Dick Pace, Lima Bravo #4; and Cass Phillips, Lima Bravo #5; will be joined by Navy F6F Hellcat pilot Art Leach who celebrated his 100th birthday 1 May.

 

Art Leach is coming from Odell, Illinois and will qualify as Lima Bravo #6 by flying with us this year. Veterans Flight would like to find another veteran to fly in the six-ship Lima Bravo formation, so please contact Veterans Flight if you know a veteran who has celebrated his 100th birthday.

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact

information to

veteransflight@cox.net

so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Navy Veteran and Pearl Harbor Survivor Frank Emond (Lima Bravo #2) climbs out of Carey Hardin’s

 Army PT-17 after his flight during Veterans Flight 2017. Frank celebrated his 102nd birthday yesterday and plans to fly with us again during Veterans Flight 2020

Countdown #7 – 22 May 2020

Only 49 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights.

Veterans Flight 2020 -- Definitely On Schedule

Although COVID-19 is still affecting all our lives, Florida and other Southern states are leading the nation’s recovery to normal life. Although small groups and “social distancing” are still requested, Pensacola Beach has reopened without restricted hours. This Memorial Day weekend will be a good indicator of the public’s confidence, but traffic to Pensacola Beach has increased dramatically the past two weeks and hotels are reporting more than anticipated reservations.

 

On 10 July 2016, Veterans Flight presented its first “Lima Bravo” award to Army B-29 pilot Paul McClain during Paul’s 100th birthday party. Veterans qualify for Lima Bravo recognition when they have (1) flown with Veterans Flight and (2) celebrated their 100th birthday.

 

In addition to Paul McClain, four other veterans (Frank Emond, Lima Bravo #2; John Beard, Lima Bravo #3; Dick Pace, Lima Bravo #4; and Cass Phillips, Lima Bravo #5) have qualified for Lima Bravo status and all plan to fly with Veterans Flight 2020. Any bets on whether there will be a “Lima Bravo” formation flight?

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact

information to

veteransflight@cox.net

so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Capt. Tim “Lucky” Kinsella, Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola, Pilots Stearman 708

Over Pensacola Beach During Last Week’s 75th Anniversary of VE-Day Commemorative Flight

Countdown #6 – 15 May 2020

Only 56 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights.

The 2020 Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show

And Veterans Flight Are Still On Schedule

Great conversation this morning with Santa Rosa Island Authority Director of Administration Robbie Schrock who runs the Pensacola Beach Air Show. Despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the Island Authority and the Blue Angels are full speed ahead with preparations and the air show is still on schedule for 10 & 11 July.

 

After discussion with several Veterans Flight Stearman pilots, Veterans Flight 2020 will take place even if the Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show is cancelled or rescheduled.

 

Navy pilot and Pearl Harbor Survivor Cass Phillips, who recently qualified for Lima Bravo #5 recognition by celebrating his 100th birthday, emailed that he and several family members will travel to Pensacola for Veterans Flight 2020.

 

Those who watch national news know Florida leads the nation in reopening its economy and resuming normal life. This week I got a haircut, had a sit-down lunch with friends in a restaurant, and gyms can reopen next week. Life is good.

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact

information to

veteransflight@cox.net

so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

Stearmans Over Pensacola Beach - Veterans Flight 2014

Countdown #5 – 7 May 2020

Only 64 days until Friday, 10 July's first flights

Commemorative Flight – 75th Anniversary

Victory in Europe Day – 8 May 1945

Tomorrow is the 75th Anniversary of America’s and its allies’ defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II. Because of COVID-19, many national events such as the Arsenal of Democracy Fly-Over scheduled for tomorrow in Washington, D.C., have been cancelled. Thanks to FAA air traffic controllers at Pensacola Tower and Approach Control, along with their Navy counterparts at NAS Pensacola, tomorrow three Veterans Flight Stearmans will make a commemorative flight honoring World War II veterans, commemorating Victory in Europe Day, and thanking the First Responders and Medical Professionals who are working hard to keep us safe.

After taking off from Pensacola International Airport the Stearmans will fly over Veterans Memorial Park (12:00), then downtown Pensacola (12:05), the Navy Hospital (12:11), Naval Air Station Pensacola (12:15), and Pensacola Beach (12:25) before returning to Pensacola International. Take a break and watch for these wonderful old airplanes as we honor and thank the great Americans who made it possible for us to live in this great county.

The 2020 Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show is still on schedule, so keep 10 & 11 July on your calendars and plan to join us at Pensacola Aviation Center for Veterans Flight 2020.

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact

information to

veteransflight@cox.net

so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

75th Anniversary of World War II Victory

Lima Bravo #5 Cass Phillips Has His Hands

Full Before 2019’s First Flight

Cass Phillips and Stearman Pilot Carey Hardin

After Friday’s First Flight

Countdown #4 – 3 April 2020

Only 98 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights

Great News!!

Veterans Flight regular Cass Phillips, who is both a Pearl Harbor Survivor and Naval Aviator, celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday. Cass is the fifth World War II veteran to achieve “Lima Bravo” status by flying with Veterans Flight AND passing the Century mark. We hope Cass will join us again in July for Veterans Flight 2020.

 

You can read Cass Phillips’s story in the Veterans’ Stories section of our website. 

https://www.veteransflight.org/cass-phillips-navy-pby-pbm-pilot-1

The 2020 Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show is still on schedule for 10 & 11 July. The Winter Meeting took place Monday as scheduled, but participants attended telephonically instead of meeting at the Santa Rosa Island Authority building on Pensacola Beach. A lot of preparation and hard work is required to produce the summer’s most exciting air show, and the enthusiasm and determination displayed by Blue Angel #8, Events Coordinator LCDR Adam Kerrick, and Blue Angel #7, Narrator LT Julius “Whiskers” Bratton, personified why the Blue Angels are the world’s premier flight demonstration team.

There are challenging days ahead, but keep 10 & 11 July, on your calendars and plan to join us at Pensacola Aviation Center as we honor the great Americans whose sacrifices made it possible for us to live in this wonderful country.

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact

information to

veteransflight@cox.net

so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

75th Anniversary of World War II Victory

Veterans Flight Stearmans Observe Proper “Social Distancing” Protocol

As They Open the 2018 Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show

Countdown #3 – 20 March 2020

Only 112 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights.

COVID-19 has devastated America’s economy and Florida’s tourist industry, but there are signs progress is being made and we are cautiously optimistic the Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show will take place as scheduled.

 

All of us are aware many aviation and sporting events have been cancelled or significantly postponed. The safety of the World War II veterans, our sponsors and supporters, the general public, and all members of the Veterans Flight team is always our number 1 concern. Although many veterans and Stearman pilots have committed to this year’s celebration of the 75th Anniversary of America’s victory in World War II, Veterans Flight will take place only if it can be done safely.

 

There are challenging days ahead, but please keep Friday and Saturday, 10 & 11 July, on your calendars and plan to join us at Pensacola Aviation Center as we honor and thank the great Americans whose sacrifices under far more difficult circumstances made it possible for us to live in this wonderful country.

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact information to veteransflight@cox.net

so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

75th Anniversary of World War II Victory

Navy N2S-4 Ready for Veterans Flight 2019’s First Flights (Jeff Rease Photo)

Countdown #2 – 14 February 2020

Only 147 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights.

Veterans Flight 2020, with its celebration of the 75th Anniversary of victory in World War II, is shaping up to be a great event. 11 Stearmans have committed to participate and we’re working to get the final number above 15, which would be the most Stearmans that have flown over Pensacola since the end of World War II.

Veterans are signing up to fly and we are optimistic many veterans from outside Northwest Florida will join us this year. Make sure you have Friday and Saturday, 10 & 11 July, on your calendar and plan to join us at Pensacola Aviation Center as we honor and thank the great Americans whose sacrifices made it possible for us to live in this wonderful country.

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact information to veteransflight@cox.net

and we will invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - 2020 Pensacola Beach Air Show

75th Anniversary of World War II Victory

Veterans Flight Stearmans Ready to Fly During the 2019 Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show

Countdown #1 – 24 January 2020

Only 168 days until Friday, 10 July’s first flights.

Veterans Flight 2020 will be Friday and Saturday, 10 & 11 July. Mark the dates on your calendar and plan to join us at Pensacola Aviation Center as we honor and thank the great Americans whose sacrifices made it possible for us to live in this wonderful country.

Veterans Flight 2020 will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Allies victory in World War II and we’re working hard to have more Stearmans flying over Pensacola Beach than during any prior Veterans Flight. Stearman operations begin with media and VIP flights Wednesday and Thursday. Flights for World War II veterans are Friday and Saturday mornings. The passage of time is rapidly reducing our opportunities to honor these veterans, so Veterans Flight 2020 needs our best efforts to find and bring more of these great Americans to the Pensacola Beach Air Show.

The Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at NAS Pensacola in November was a great event. Five Stearmans participated and flew both Friday and Saturday. On Friday we had the honor of flying Captain Tim “Lucky” Kinsella, Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola, as well as Captain Scott Janik, Commodore of Training Air Wing Six. On Saturday, Commander Mike Harbison, Executive Officer of NAS Pensacola, flew with us after confirming “Lucky” survived his Friday flight.

Julie Thomas, John Rettick, Capt. Scott Janik, Capt. Tim Kinsella, Carey Hardin, Roy Kinsey and Phil Webb

* * *

If you know World War II aviators, please email their contact information to veteransflight@cox.net

so we can invite them to fly with us.

Veterans Flight - Pensacola Beach Air Show

438 East Government Street

Pensacola, Florida 32502

veteransflight@cox.net

PENSACOLA BEACH AIR SHOW

Veterans Flight 2020

Pensacola Aviation Center

Pensacola International Airport

July 10 & 11, 2020