Charles "Tuna" Hainline United States Air Force Heritage Flight (A-10/TF-51D "Bum Steer") (June 30, July 1, July 3, July 4)
Charles "Tuna" Hainline will fly the TF-51D Mustang "Bum Steer" and join up in formation 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 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 Range 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, Tuna 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 aircraft Tuna will be flying is the TF-51D Mustang "Bum Steer". Following World War II, all P-51s were redesignated to the United States Air Force with the fighter designation of "F", so all P-51s were designated as F-51s. The TF-51D is actually a dual seat and dual control P-51 with four guns versus six guns. "Bum Steer" was constructed as a TF-51D by Cavalier Aircraft Corporation (converted from a North American P-51D Mustang). Only three TF-51D's were ever converted from old P-51D models, so "Bum Steer" happens to be a really rare aircraft! (Note: While Cavalier only constructed three TF-51s, some other companies have converted P-51s to dual controlled P-51s since, so there are other TF-51s out there, just not all of them are the original three). The particular airframe that "Bum Steer" is was procured by the United States Air Force and exported to Bolivia under the Peace Condor Program where it flew with the Fuerza Aeria Boliviana until 1977. It returned to North America in 1978. This particular Mustang also flew to Great Britain in 2003 to take part in air shows in the United Kingdom. In 2017, the aircraft, while it had been painted in the USAAF DF-X markings, was christened as "Bum Steer". The TF-51 looks different than your traditional Mustang, with a larger cockpit to accomodate a second person.
The US Air Force Heritage Flight showcases 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 TF-51D Mustang "Bum Steer". The Heritage Flight will be flown on June 30, July 1, July 3 & July 4.