2,200-Mile International Freedom Flight
of World War II Warbirds
Served to Honor Our Veterans and Active Duty Military
and Inspire Future Generations
Texas Flying Legends Museum will launch five World War II Warbirds from Ellington Field for a 2,200-mile journey over the ocean to perform at the 2015 St. Barth’s Bucket Regatta on the French collectivity island of Saint-Barthélemy. They will join forces during their travels with four additional Warbirds from Lewis Air Legends of San Antonio, Texas. This historic journey will be one of the largest fleets of Warbirds to travel overseas since World War II ended.
Texas Flying Legends Museum honors America’s “Greatest Generation” and inspires our present and future leaders with pristinely restored aircraft. These aircraft are the ultimate symbol of American ingenuity, power and resolve to fight for our core values of freedom and democracy, here and abroad. The mission to Saint-Barthélemy expresses Texas Flying Legend Museum’s resounding support for the US and our Allies, as we face extremists and terrorists around the globe in a collective fight to achieve, protect and preserve freedom and democracy.
Date: Sunday March 15, 2015
Time: 9:00 am
Texas Flying Legends Museum Hangar
Ellington Field – KEFD
11190 Blume Avenue
Houston, TX 77034
TFLM Pilots and WWII veterans will be available for interviews
Confirmed:Colonel Joe McPhail – Corsair Pilot from Houston who served in WWII and flew 102 missions in Korea, Marine Corps Color Guard, Local US Military servicemen, ROTC groups and their guests are invited to attend
VISUALS AND INTERVIEWS:
Photographers and reporters will have access to the interior of the planes, the pilots flying this mission, and the World War II veterans being honored at the sendoff. Photo opportunities will also be available as the planes taxi and take off.
You will see the following Texas Flying Legends planes and crew:
* The B-25J Mitchell Bomber “Betty’s Dream,” a plane made famous by the Doolittle Raiders attack on mainland Japan four months after the Japanese attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor (Crew includes Pilot Alan Miller, a flight instructor and Delta Airlines Captain from Hawaii; Co-Pilot Casey Odegaard, an aircraft restoration professional and airshow pilot from Kindred, ND; and Flight Mechanic Toby McPherson of Page, ND)
* The TBM Avenger 3E torpedo bomber, once flown by Houston native and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, the youngest ever Naval Aviator at 19 years of age (Piloted by commercial pilot and airplane restoration enthusiast United States Congressman Sam Graves of Tarkio, MO)
* The FG-1D Corsair “Whistling Death,” the wartime nickname for this fast and powerful carrier-based fighter that greatly reduced enemy airpower during World War II (Piloted by Certified Flight Instructor and Pilot Examiner, commercial and aerobatic pilot Doug Rozendaal of Mason City, IA)
* The P-40K Warhawk “Aleutian Tiger,” a model once flown by David Lee “Tex” Hill, a proud Texan and top WWII Flying Ace, who was a member of the 1st American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers” and trained under fellow Texan, General Claire Chennault (Piloted by TFLM Director of Maintenance and aircraft restoration professional Bernie Vasquez of Vacaville, CA)
* The A6-M2 Model 21 Japanese Zero “Last Samurai,” one of only a few Japanese Zeros left flying in the world that was the symbol of Japanese airpower in World War II (Piloted by Warren Pietsch, TFLM Vice President of Operations and Chief Pilot, who is an accomplished aerobatics pilot and aircraft restoration professional from Minot, ND)
TFLM Social Media Channels:
The Lewis Air Legends planes that will be joining Texas Flying Legends Museum planes along the way are:
* The B-25J Mitchell Bomber “Russian To Get Ya,” the last production model of the bomber and conventionally equipped with a transparent nose. It is surprising, but historically accurate, that this iconic American bomber in the Lewis Air Legends collection sports Soviet nose art and insignia. Nearly 900 B-25s were sent to the Russians in WWII under the Lend/Lease program, as were many others to allies in Europe, Asia and South America (Piloted by Jim Dale, a pilot with more than 6000 hours and Lewis Air Legends Director of Warbird Maintenance).
* The P-38F Lightning “Glacier Girl,” the only rescued survivor of an entire squadron of P-38s and B-17s attempting a crossing over Greenland in 1942, she was finally pulled piece by piece from under 268 feet of ice on the 13th effort to retrieve her. Glacier Girl owns the only complete set of working P-38 machine guns in existence and is considered by many to be the finest Warbird restoration flying. (Piloted by Rod Lewis, a businessman and avid pilot, who is qualified in both jet and prop driven aircraft and personally flies all of his planes, including the vintage WWII Warbird collection known today as the Lewis Air Legends).
* The F7F-3P Tigercat “Here Kitty, Kitty!,” fast and heavily armed, the F7 outraced the single-engine F6F Hellcat by more than 70 mph. “Here Kitty, Kitty!” is configured as a photo-recon aircraft, one of five flyable models in the world, and the first ever to race at the National Championship Air Races in Reno. (Piloted by Steve Dawson, an FAA Experimental Aircraft Examiner, a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, and a flight instructor).