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Check Six – 1984: Joe Ah New’s Fini Flight

February 8, 2021

Retiree News asked Joseph “Primo Joe” Ah New for comments on these photographs. His comments:

This was my final flight and it was on drill Saturday, July 7, 1984, I had just brought a 4-ship low over the flightline where a lot of people were waving at us.

In the first picture is Leonard “Nick” Sporik on the left. Darrell “Yobo” Chung on the right with a water can on his back and a hose to spray me. the guy holding up the champagne bottle is James “Gooch” Haruguchi.

Wow, that’s over 36 years ago. Brings back good memories.


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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