Charles "Tuna" Hainline will join up in a P-51 Mustang with the A-10C Thunderbolt II Demo Team to form the United States Air Force Heritage Flight.
The Heritage Flight, first flown in 1997, feature modern fighter and attack aircraft flying alongisde World War II, Korean and Vietnam-era planes in a dramatic display of our nation's air power history. The formations serve as a living memorial to the men and women who have served - or are currently serving - in the US Air Force and they proudly fly in support of Air Force recruiting and retention efforts.
The Heritage Flight actually has a Michigan connection. Warbird aircraft never really flew alongside top-line fighter/attack aircraft until 1985, when the High on Kalamazoo Air Show in Kalamazoo, Michigan (about 20 minutes from Battle Creek) debuted the historic Grumman Cats Flight. This rare flight, consisting of the F-14 Tomcat and the other Grumman "Cat's" line was the first time the public had ever seen a flight showcasing history by putting the old with the new. This opened the doors to the modern day US Navy Legacy Tailhook Flights and the US Air Force Heritage Flights we see today!
Charles "Tuna" Hainline, US Air Force Heritage Flight pilot, has been flying since he was 18 years old. After graduating from Oregon State University, he was accepted to US Air Force Officer Training School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in October 1986. After pilot training, "he flew the A-10 in Korea and Louisiana, where they started calling him "Tuna". He soon started flying the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk (Stealth Fighter) at Tonopah Test Rang and Holloman AFB, New Mexico. His experience also took him into the US Navy as an exchange officer, where he flew the F/A-18 Hornet for VFA-106. AS a RAG (RTU) instructor, he was carrier qualified with 101 traps. After the exchange, ended up flying F-117s again and saw combat action over Belgrade in the Kosovo conflict. He then flew the F-4F Phantom with the German RTU at Holloman AFB, then finished his career flying the QF-4, becoming the first F-4 West Heritage Flight Pilot.
"Tuna" retired in 2006 as a Lieutenant Colonel and command pilot with over 5,000 total hours in numerous aircraft and receiving many major military decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. After retirement, he was hired by Southwest Airlines and flies the 737. He spends his spare time working on his airplanes and also flies for the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas. Even after his stint flying the QF-4 Phantom in the US Air Force Heritage Flight, he still flies the Heritage Flight today.
The flight also over 70 years of Air Force Heritage, putting in the air the top-line aircraft of yesteryear with the amazing aircraft the Air Force has in their arsenal today. You will NOT want to miss this awesome pairing of the A-10C Thunderbolt II and the P-51 Mustang (specific P-51 being used in flight will be announced soon).