Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A World War 2 Veteran Flies Again

Having met retired Colonel Roy Reid months earlier on a nostalgic B-17 bomber flight, I was invited by his family to photograph another very special event. They had arranged to have Roy take a flight in a World War Two warbird at Vintage Flights in Ball Ground, Georgia. It was not just a ride because he would actually be flying the plane, over seventy years after first flying the trainer in army flight school.

I showed up early one Saturday ready to watch the event, yet it was not to be that day. The wind was dangerously gusting over 30 miles per hour and very erratic. We watched several incoming planes abort landing attempts, some taking as many as 3 approaches to land. After an hour, the pilot had to cancel the flight.

We rescheduled for later that week and luckily the rain was a no-show and wind cooperated. Roy was eager to get back up in the air. I have to say that he was very patient with all the attention and suggestions he was getting as the family, a news paper photographer, tv reporter and me were recording every moment. He outranked all of us and could easily made us do pushups or KP duty.

I had one surprise for Roy. I had borrowed a vintage World War Two helmet and goggles from another pilot so that Roy could wear them for photos. We were trying to recreate a photo in the same location as 70 years ago, and even though they were on his head less than a minute, it was still worth it.