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Check Six – 2021: Mute’s Fini Flight

June 29, 2021

Off the Hawaii Air National Guard Facebook page

Hawaii Air National Guard photograph

“Get a spray on your last day” should be the motto for the Air Force tradition known as the ‘Fini Flight’, and here Lt. Col. Brian “Mute” Nash is no exception as he gets soaked by ‘ohana and friends at the completion of his Fini Flight…his last as an Airman and last as commander of the 199th Fighter Squadron, Hawaiian Raptors.  The Fini Flight is an Air Force tradition marking pilots’ departure from a unit, retirement, or the last time they fly an aircraft.

Aloha and Mahalo Mute!

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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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