Saturday, January 12

Three Fun Flights

The Detroit had another banner weekend in south Florida.  It started very early Saturday morning, January 5, when twenty excited new members and their friends and families met at the Stuart Jet Center at 7 a.m, where Dennis Pugsley  efficiently checked everyone in. Our destination was a monthly fly-in charity breakfast sponsored by Lo Presti Aviation in Sebastian, FL where we had been invited to appear.  Sebastian is about 40 nautical miles north of Stuart, and everyone was treated to a magnificent view of the beautiful Florida coastline and palatial waterfront homes.  Lo Presti donates the proceeds of their monthly fly-in breakfast to charity, and the Detroit was the grateful recipient of those funds this month.  Captains Tony DeSantis and Bob Gross manned the cockpit.  Upon arrival,  we were met by Bill and Michelle Brooks who work tirelessly as ground crew members. Tony gave an informative presentation of the Flagship's history and mission and Judy DeSantis entertained everyone vocally with a fabulous 50 minute nostalgic program of big band standards and hit songs from the 30's and 40's.  All the breakfast attendees were eager to see the Flagship, and stewardess Peggy Fairchild, with Bill Brooks manning the cockpit, gave tours to a very enthusiastic group.

Due to extensive publicity from newspapers, TV, and radio stations throughout Martin and Palm Beach counties, many people heard about the Detroit's winter home in Stuart.  Many of those contacted Tony DeSantis and joined the Foundation as holiday gifts for their loved ones.  On Sunday, January 6, we flew two membership rides from Stuart to Vero Beach and back.  Not only were our new members treated to panoramic views and perfect weather, the early group had breakfast and the late morning group had lunch at CJ Cannon's at the Vero Beach airport.  Cannon's is located right on the field and offers great food, friendly service and lots of nostalgic memorabilia lining its walls.  It's very popular with the locals and had a brisk crowd for Sunday brunch. Tony had arranged for our groups to be seated in a private dining room, with a specially arranged buffet breakfast and then lunch served from the extensive menu.
After lunch, some of us walked next door to the Legacy Flight School where David DeSantis, Tony and Judy's son and a pilot member of the Detroit, is a chief flight instructor.  The school has two full motion Redbird simulators and is a state-of-the-art training facility for advanced Piper aircraft.  David teaches ground school, simulator, and flight training to Piper Meridian and Mirage pilots who are going through initial transition and recurrent training.  These airplanes are manufactured right there at the Piper Aircraft factory, so it's a fascinating place for aircraft enthusiasts.
One of the most rewarding parts of being involved with the Detroit is meeting new members and hearing their stories about their interest in  the DC-3.  We had two fascinating pilots, 97 and 91 years old, who retired from National and TWA Airlines, respectively. Both began their careers on the DC-3, and were thrilled to be back on board.  One of our new members, whose mother had been an American Airlines stewardess in the 1940's, showed us beautiful pictures of her mother in the uniform of the day. It was a great weekend for everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment