Education, Motivation and Preservation! -
This is the homepage that provides information about the Quy’s three main goals (Education, Motivation and Preservation) for the “Spirit of Tuskgee” Stearman bi-plane they own. Truly inspirational!
A New York Times article about the "Spirit of Tuskegee" -
Attached is the article written by the New York Times author Kate Taylor about Captain Quy and his plane’s incredible history. She explores some of the background of the Tuskegee Airmen as well as the plane’s specific role in the Airmen’s history…read on to find out about the plane’s job and how the Quy’s decided to donate it to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Morning came very early today. I would have gladly gone back to sleep from the exhaustion of flying the first day. People often ask about flying in an open cockpit plane. I tell them when it is hot you are hot. When it is cold you are cold. You are always subject to vibration, a cramped cockpit, and the smell of fuel, oil, and exhaust. On the other hand, it is the most beautiful way to travel. No window distorting your view. You can swoop down low and smell a famers bean field or the scent of fresh rain. It is the most amazing yet exhaustive way to travel.
We were out of the wooden WWII hangar by 06:30 and off the ground before 7:00. Our departure took us over the expansive Bonneville Flats. The morning was cold as we made a steady climb up to 10,000 feet. We needed to climb over the top of Salt Lake City’s Class B airspace. I was skeptical about our radio communication with the Approach controller, and the altitude paid off as we flew directly over the International Airport. Off our left wing the Great Salt Lake extended as far as we could see.
After Salt Lake City be descended as we pushed north. We descended into a lush green valley with a creek flowing through it. Wildlife was bounding as we saw pronghorn, coyotes, birds, and fishermen in a reservoir below. The scenery was so beautiful that the Morgan County Airport snuck up on us.
On the ground a college class was preparing an experimental balloon for its flight. The high altitude research balloon would ascend to over 100,000 feet. After it would expand to 3 times its normal size it would explode and descend under a parachute. The balloon was released just after we lifted off.
Our flight to Rock Springs was uneventful till we discovered Pinnacle Rock. The beautiful rock formations were like another world. A nearby river flowing around them added to the beauty.
Our leg to Laramie WY was one of the most beautiful yet. We passed over a 10,500 foot peak. Deep valleys were raging with white water rapids and my mind was constantly looking for an emergency landing site. The tall pine trees were warming up in the afternoon sun and the aroma of pine needles filled the plane. As we descended down the back side of the mountain I was a bit disappointed that our flight was ending as we were having so much fun flying among the rocks.
Our weather forecast for the Denver area was for 1 inch hail. I figured the Smithsonian wouldn’t appreciate the damage so we spent the night in Laramie. The fueler was very helpful and was happy to help us push the plane into an old 1930’s hangar. We were even fortunate to have a courtesy car that was also being used by two other pilots who were stranded by the weather. I am always amazed by the trust of fellow pilots and aviation enthusiests. Where else will someone loan a car to a stranger and not even make them sign a liability waiver.
We were one day late for the Laramie WY yearly celebration of Rodeos and street dancing so we settled for some great Italian food that night in downtown.
-Captain Matt Quy
Saturday morning greeted us with bright blue skies and calm winds out of the Southwest at our hometown airport in Lincoln CA. Our month long journey to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. was about to begin. I have been looking forward to the trip and all our stops along the way for a long time. Our plan is to stop at the USAF Academy where we will meet up with 8 Tuskegee Airmen. Then on to MN for 3 airshows and 3 meetings with the Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, and the local community. Then on to Oshkosh for half the week before we go south to Tuskegee AL. The trip will culminate with the Tuskegee Airmen National Convention in D.C. the first week of Aug. At the end of the convention we will turn the plane over to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
At engine start I looked off into the sky and saw a good friend flying his PT-17 Stearman Biplane. I taxied out as he landed and pulled up next to me in the run up pad. Our takeoff was like a normal training sortie for a PT-13 during WWII as we joined up on the PT-17 and pointed our planes into the rising sun.
After traveling about 10 miles our sister ship split up the formation as they pulled up into a wing over to return back to Lincoln CA. Ahead of us were the beautiful snow capped peaks of the Sierra’s. We continued a slow and steady climb as the terrain became more rugged below. I was resting on my leather flying jacket for the beginning of the flight, and managed to fight my way into the jacket in the cramped cockpit as the temperature dropped.
The deep blue of Donner Lake slipped under the wing as we flew over the famous Donner Pass. I contacted LA center with the Reno Airport just ahead. I gave them a courtesy call on the radio to let them know I was flying over their airspace. Shortly after passing the Reno area we made our first stop at Derby Field NV.
Derby Field was a throwback to the 1940’s with the exception to an old MiG sitting on the dusty ramp. The airfield was used in WWII and still had the original control tower and support building. There was an unattended terminal building with pictures of military veterans from the local area. Many of the pictures were in front of aircraft from modern fighters to vintage Pursuit planes.
Off the ground at Derby field we flew over lush green fields. The fields were a stark contrast to the brown dry lakes and mountains ahead. Navigation in this beautiful but desolate land was a challenge as we compared our sectional chart to the scenery below. An occasional mine or ranch was the only clues as we searched for our mountain pass ahead.
After a brief stopover at Battle Mountain for lunch, we pressed on to Wendover UT. We skirted around a few rain showers en-route, and just beat a storm in as we landed. The ground crew was great, and had us fueled and in the hangar in just a few minutes. Inside the terminal we found a museum dedicated to the WWII history at the field. The training for the crews that dropped the Atomic Bomb was all done at Wendover. They actually have a model of the Atomic Bomb Little Boy with the pilot Gen Paul Tibbits and the crew’s signatures.
We checked the weather ahead and it was looking like possible thunderstorms in the evening at our planned destination at Heber City UT. The plane was already in the hangar, and the hospitality at the airport was incredible. We figured if the locals were half as nice then we should check out more of Wendover for the night.
-Captain Matt Quy