Vintage warbirds land at Ford Island for Dec. 7 ceremonies

Brandon Bosworth

Staff Writer

Two vintage aircraft landed at Ford Island runway on Dec. 5 in preparation for fly-over ceremonies at the USS Arizona Memorial marking the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

At approximately 9 a.m., Bruce Mayes of Pacific Warbirds piloted his North American SNJ T-6 Texan onto the Ford Island runway followed by Harry Greene in his Boeing Stearman PT-17, landing about 9:15 a.m.

The planes were parked at hangar 37 at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

“It’s a wonderful sight to see them in the air over Ford Island and landing on historic Ford Island runway, ” said museum executive director Ken DeHoff.

The North American SNJ T-6 Texans were originally built as training aircraft beginning in the 1930s. They have seen extensive use in the U.S. military as well as militaries around the world. In movies, the T-6 has often been used to portray Japanese Zeroes in World War II films.

The Boeing Stearman PT-17 also originated as a military trainer in the 1930s. A bi-plane, surplus Stearmans have often been used as crop dusters and as stunt planes at air shows.

Lt. Cmdr. Harry Greene, Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, said he was excited to be part of this special event.

“I’ve always had a passion for older aircraft,” he said. “It’s a more tactile flying experience. The aircraft vibrates. You smell the oil. You smell the exhaust.”

Greene has been flying vintage planes for just under 20 years, but he said the thrill is still there.

“I take off and make it about 50 or 60 seconds in the air before busting out in a grin,” Greene said.

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Category: News