For the aviation world, which COVID-19 has disrupted severely this past year, it is great to see that some organizations are fighting these pandemic-induced adversities, and adapting with effective initiatives to stay operational.
The Commemorative Air Force’s Gulf Coast Wing is one such organization. On April 3rd, 2021 they will begin offering rides again in their beloved Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, known affectionately for the past half century as Texas Raiders. The CAF unit’s Beech D18S, marked as a U.S. Navy JRB-6 variant and nicknamed Little Raider, will also be participating alongside, as will their North American Aviation SNJ-5 Texan.
Flights will depart from Conroe North Houston Regional Airport in association with General Aviation Services, the FBO located in Hangar 14 at 5260 Central Parkway, Conroe, Texas. Children aged five and above are welcome aboard the JRB when accompanied by an adult, and similarly for children over 12 on the B-17. Each flight lasts roughly 20 minutes in the air, and includes a safety briefing and photo opportunity with the pilot. The route for each flight may undergo adjustment to due weather and/or Air Traffic Control requirements.
Furthermore, while the pandemic did halt flight operations during the past year, the Gulf Coast Wing’s cadet program for young people interested in aviation and history continued functioning, albeit with some health-related adaptations. The unit’s Cadet Flight Training Program offers a Pilot Ground School which recently covered aviation weather topics that included the learning about the effects which Coriolis Force, Pressure Gradient, and Surface Friction can have upon wind. They also gained knowledge about wind shear, thunderstorm avoidance and how hail forms inside a thunderstorm, as well as aircraft anti-ice/de-ice procedures and aircraft systems used to combat icing.