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Woody’s Fini Flight

July 3, 2019

Off the Hawaii Air National Guard Facebook page

Hawaii Air National Guard Photograph

After 33 years of service and more than 7,100 hours of flight time, Brig. Gen. Gregory S. Woodrow took his final flight as commander of the 154th Wing. Under his leadership, Woodrow was known for empowering his Airmen to try new things and always making it a priority for them to take care of one another. Good luck on all your future endeavors and Mahalo for making a lasting impact in our HIANG Ohana.

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Fini Flight – A pilot’s last flight in the aircraft before he/she leaves a squadron, a wing, or retires.

“Fini” flights are the symbolic end of an aviator’s flying career. The final flight usually coincides with a retirement but sometimes the individual is moving to a non-flying position.  For the aviator, it is an emotional day shared with family, friends, and squadron mates.

It’s assumed that the tradition of fini flights came from the U.S. Army Air Force days of the World War II era.

They were designed to accompany milestones in the career of the entire aircrew, respected individuals of rank or repute, or a commander’s departure to another command or retirement.

The tradition was first officially noted in Vietnam, when the aircrew commemorated the completion of 100 missions. While the 100th safe last-landing was a reason to celebrate, it is now usually a separate flight altogether marking the final activity before departure.

The celebration has evolved and now includes champagne or similar, a toast and dowsing with water from a fire truck for the aircraft and aircrew. Usually, family or families of the departing aircrew or personnel also meet them on the hardstand and douse them with water.

From → History

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