Stearman aircraft from WWII visit the Heartland

Flight team practices in Mo.

MALDEN, Mo. (KFVS) - Pilots who fly vintage World War II planes stopped in the Heartland for training.

“It’s been amazing. People have driven up to two hours they said, because they heard we were flying here,” said Julie Thomas Stearman Flight member.

Thomas and the Stearman Flight team flew to the Malden Regional Airport from around the country to practice flying in formation.

“This has been a superb place, because it has a huge ramp. It’s an old army corps training base, which makes us feel the nostalgia of that,” Thomas.

Their Stearman aircraft carry a special, historical significance too.

“They were used for army and navy training in World War II. It was the first basic trainer that the pilots would learn on,” she said.

According to Thomas, after the war, the planes were used for crop dusting. Now, about 1,000 still fly around the U.S. and Europe.

“There’s a bunch of history lost anymore that kids don’t get taught at school, and I thought it would just be good to bring them over here and let them see some history,” said Mr. Cecil.

Cecil brought his grand kids to see the aircraft. He said their visit brings him back to his childhood living near the airport in Malden.

“I remember as a kid, they used to fly over the house and they would do somersaults and tricks. The trainer pilots would orange planes,” said Cecil.

“We’ve had great experience talking to people, especially a lot of veterans that have come out. Whether they flew the airplane or just want to talk about their service, which is always a treat to hear,” said Thomas.

The Stearman Flight team plans to take off and head home on September 9th.

Thomas said their air show performances have been canceled this year because of the pandemic, so they’re thankful for the hospitality in the Heartland.

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