This past weekend Punta Gorda Airport hosted the fourth annual Warbirds Weekend, which showcased a variety of antique aircraft from World War II.
John Makinson, an aviator with a passion for historical planes, explained that he’d “rather be in one of those old airplanes than a new one because they had pride and craftsmanship and they were built to last.” Indeed, each plane has a unique story. Makinson flew a 1941 Spearman on Friday that was originally used to train Navy pilots in Pensacola. He has been flying antique plans for nearly a decade to raise cash for History Flight, the organization endeavors to find the remains of the 78,000 soldiers who went missing during World War II, who were never identified or accounted for. So far, they have helped locate 300 soldiers and bring their remains home to the US.
In addition to History Flight, Warbirds Weekend raised money for two other nonprofits: Wounded Warriors and Veterans Airlift Command. Wounded Warriors provides funds for medical care and the Airlift Command gives veterans and their families free lifts to health care facilities. Both organizations help supplement income when veteran benefits aren’t enough to subsist.
Veterans and the uninitiated alike can enjoy the 40 some-odd planes on display. For veterans especially, reconnecting with that part of their past can bring on strong feelings of nostalgia: “The open cockpit, the wind blowing through your hair; it is back to the barnstorming days, so it’s a unique experience.”
The air show continues on Marco Island the weekend of March 9-10. Click HERE for more information.