A family of aviators from the Houston area will be front and center on Father’s Day weekend at David Wayne Hooks Airport in Spring, Texas.
Crewing the B-17 Flying Fortress “Texas Raiders,” which belongs to the Commemorative Air Force, the Doggett family of Humble, Texas, will celebrate Father’s Day by helping host a Warbird weekend and open house at the local airport.
Led by dad Jed Doggett, the family will fill the cockpit of the big bomber, as Jed takes the controls, with his oldest son Ben at his side as co-pilot, and his youngest son Jake on the flight deck as flight engineer.
Jed Doggett is a 787 captain for United Airlines, but readily admits his overriding passion is the CAF, its local unit, the Gulf Coast Wing, and vintage warbirds. Along with the rest of the Wing membership, Jed and his family put in countless hours volunteering for the non-profit organization, supporting its mission of education and remembrance.
Jed serves as the maintenance officer of the Wing, and is charged with keeping the antique airplane safe and sound.
Son Jake works under him as a mechanic, and son Ben, at age 26, is the youngest pilot in the world currently qualified to fly a B-17 —which is somewhat ironic, given that the average age of a bomber pilot in World War II was perhaps 20 or 21.
“Pepper has been on more CAF aircraft than a lot of our members,” laughs Jed, pointing out the big dog even has her own headgear and flight goggles.
The CAF B-17 Texas Raiders was the first Flying Fortress to be restored solely for the purpose of education and use as a flying museum, and is one of the most accurately restored B-17s, bristling with machine guns and featuring period-specific equipment.
One of the last flying examples of the famous aircraft, she will be leading a group of a half-dozen warbirds at Hooks Airport, including a twin-engine paratroop transport and several trainers, all of which will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday June 20 and 21.
The public can tour all the aircraft, and meet their crew members. Tours of the aircraft are $10 for adults, $5 for children or $20 for a family of up to five members.
ttendees who want the ultimate warbird experience can make a reservation now for one of the limited number of 30-minute flights on the classic aircraft. Call 1-855-FLY-A-B17 (1-855-359-2217) or reserve on line at B17TexasRaiders.org.