If you spotted a B-25 or a P-40 Warhawk hovering above Plano’s skies Friday afternoon, it wasn’t a hallucination brought on by an extended bout of cabin fever.
What you saw was the flight pattern of a joint venture between the city of Addison and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum to create a salute in the skies to the dedicated men and women who are keeping their communities safe from harm.
Addison’s “Salute to Heroes” flyover featured five rare and vintage airplanes on a flight path that started at the museum in Addison and traveled north to the skies over Plano before heading south to Dallas and a landing at the Love Field airport.
Doug Jeanes, the executive director of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, says his organization and the city were inspired to arrange Friday’s skyline salute to North Texas’ first responders, medical personnel, and other essential workers after the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds flew a series of nationwide flyovers earlier this month.
“The Blue Angels came through and flew around the area and we were watching their progress and they didn’t fly over Addison,” Jeanes says. “A few of us were talking at the museum and said we should do something for Memorial Day weekend.”
The Addison flight group included planes from World War II such as the B-25H gunship, a P40 Warhawk, and a single-engine T-6 Texan and the Vietnam War with a twin-engine T-37. The flight also included a sleek, futuristic looking Beechcraft Starship that’s only one of four working models in the entire world.
“Compared to the Blue Angels, it’s a little slower and lasts a little longer so it’s not going to be a quick zip-by,” Jeanes says. “You’ll be able to enjoy it a little longer and they sound completely different.”
John Gronemeyer, a professional pilot and museum volunteer, co-piloted the B-25H during Friday’s flight. He’s flown the vintage airplane for the museum as a volunteer for the past four years. He calls it a “one of a kind” experience.
“It’s very noisy,” Gronemeyer says. “It’s a very loud airplane. When you lay takeoff power to it, it’s extremely noisy. It’s so noisy that the electronics on the plane buzz when you’re trying to talk to the pilot.”
Once the B-52H gets its bearings in the sky and starts along its flight path, Gronemeyer says it’s a whole new experience. “It’s like a sports car when you get it up to speed,” he claims. “You can fly it with your fingertips.”
On Friday, the planes were like sports cars in the sky as they reached altitude and soared across the sky to their appointed flyover destinations in a triangular formation. The collective sound of their engines produced a slight humming noise as they flew over.
Thanks to the favorable weather, the hour-long flight over Collin and Dallas counties left a trail of sightseers snapping pictures for their Facebook pages.
“It’s exciting and very nostalgic,” Jeanes says. “It’s the golden age of aviation.”