Honoring World War II pilots

NEW YORK — U.S. Air Force Thunderbird fighter pilots commanded a legendary World War II P-51 Mustang and four Cessna Citation Mustangs flying in formation over New York Harbor on Oct. 20 and 21 to commemorate the legacy of wartime pilots.

Photo by Jessica Ambats

The planes traversed the Hudson River passing by the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center and other historic landmarks around New York Harbor. The flights, which took place at dusk on Saturday, Oct. 20, and dawn on Oct. 21, left from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey following an Air Force Thunderbird-style briefing helmed by Dean ‘Wilbur’ Wright, former lead Thunderbird, A-10, F-117 and Harrier pilot.

Doug Rozendaal, an experienced pilot of World War II-era fighter and bomber planes, flew the P-51 Mustang. Former U.S. Air Force Thunderbird fighter pilots and top formation pilots flew the four Cessna Citation Mustangs. The flight served as a tribute for World War II Ace pilot George E. Preddy, Jr., and all pilots who risked their lives to protect the United States in wartime. It also commemorated the historical, cultural and economic contributions that aviation has provided over the last 100 years.

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