Wings Over Miami Air Museum at the Kendall Tamiami Executive Airport celebrated July 4 differently this year. Normally closed for the holiday, Wings opened its doors and invited the public to watch three of its planes take off for a series of flyovers timed to honor veterans at various community holiday events.
The three WWII era planes flew wingto- wing across the county from the airport to the Village of Key Biscayne and its annual celebration. On the return trip to the Kendall, the planes flew directly over Palmetto Bay’s Mangowood community and its seventh annual flag-raising event. A short flight from there was a flyover of the Cutler Bay festivity in Whispering Pines before returning to the museum ramp. Waiting at the hangar were visitors who greeted the returning pilots, peeked inside the planes and took many photos.
Mangowood resident George Tabor reported back to Fred Schlafly, lead pilot for the morning’s museum event, that “The weather was perfect. We had a great crowd. The planes all flew over as the Star Spangled Banner was being sung and the flag was raised.”
Wings Over Miami has a group of skilled pilots and friends of the museum who are certified in formation flying and often fly together, mainly on weekends and for special events such as the Homestead Air Reserve Base air show. It takes many hours of practice to get the certification and requires a group of aircraft with equal flight capabilities to be able to participate in a formation flight.
While most of the planes at the museum are air worthy, not all of them have the capacity to fly formation flights. While the normal military flyovers were grounded due to sequestration it was certainly great to see the museum’s warbirds fill the void left in the South Florida skies.
More information about the museum may be found on the website at www.wingsovermiam.com