For a video interview with Catch Carri and pilot Jim Terry visit: http://youtu.be/0ayy_tfR-eU
Take the skies on board a vintage WWII era aircraft this weekend. The Southern Cross C-47, operated by Greatest Generation Aircrafts, was once used to transport military and supplies during WWII as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The vintage war bird is accelerating out of Broomfield and Centennial airports through Sunday August 19, allowing passengers to experience history. For some it’s even as powerful as reliving it.
“We always have a few Vets on board,” says U.S Air Force Lt. Col. Chris Foltz and co-pilot of the C-47. My ride was no exception. “The last time I flew in a C-47 I was leaving Vietnam from my third tour. I am just glad it kept flying,” says Vietnam War Veteran L.G. Duncan. “It was a neat experience I would never have expected I would have.”
“Our rides inspire vets them to come out and tell stories,” says pilot Jim Terry. “I once had a man on board who hadn’t talked about the war for over ten years. He saw the plane and started calling out C-47, C-47, C-47. We got a letter from the family that he died about a month later. He took the flight just in time.” Time enough to open up about stories that wouldn’t have otherwise been told.
Greatest Generation Aircrafts started operating flights after Terry, one of the most experienced C-47 pilots, discovered a B-25 in a junkyard. Flight has been a long time fascination of Terry, a retired U.S. Air Force Major. His mission is to give history a future. Now, with four vintage war birds in his fleet he is bringing an airborne museum to cities across the U-S. “I want to create a living memorial for men that flew these all those years ago. Maybe somehow, someway these little airplanes will make a big contribution so history doesn’t repeat itself,” reveals Terry.
The thirty-minute fight experience starts with a safety briefing. “We have been trained by the best Italian cruse lines available,” Terry jokes with the crowd. After reaching 1,000 feet a buzz signals the “ok” for passengers to get up and walk around for dynamite views from the windows. Upon landing, waving crowds stood at the gate to catch a glimpse of the bird. You can almost imagine what it was like for soldiers to look out the same windows ready to be back in the arms of loved ones.
Terry has been flying vintage war birds for about ten years. “Unfortunately the most memorable flights where something went wrong,” Jim breaks into a chuckle. “Oh I’m kidding. My favorite experience is our Christmas light flight in Fort Worth. It’s like a magic carpet ride.”
Luckily, The magic on the C-47 doesn’t just come around for the Holidays.
The C-47 will fly out of Colorado Springs August 19 through September 16. The war bird then heads to Albuquerque September 30-October 10.
**Greatest Generation Aircraft is a run completely by volunteers with 100 % of the proceeds streamlining back to the historic planes.
**The Southern Cross was built in 1941 as a passenger aircraft for TWA. After the attack on Pearl Harbor the aircraft was called into action to carry troops and service the military. After the war, commercial airlines snagged up the plane, which has worn many hats since then. Its mission now is to keep history alive.