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Check Six – 1995: Church’s Fini Flight

September 30, 2021

Col Clinton “Church” Churchill flew his fini flight in September 1995. During his HIANG career, he flew Convair F-102A Delta Daggers, McDonald Douglas F-4C Phantoms, and McDonald Douglas F-15 Eagles.

In the photographs:

#1 – Braden “Mongo” Sakai, Christopher “Frenchy” Faurot

#2 – Christopher “Sock” Sakamoto

#3 – Suzy Churchill.

#4 – General John G. Lorber, the Pacific Air Forces commander, congratulates Church. Kurt Johnson and Kenneth “Dusty” Sussel in the background

#5 – Michael “Boss” Tice, Clinton Churchill, Geoffrey “Thunder” Avery, Robert “BD” Darrow

#6 – The Churchill family: Brady, Suzy, Clinton, and Ryan Churchill

In civilian life, Clint started at Gaspo (now known as Airgas) when he arrived in Hawaii in the 1960s. After a few years, he moved to the Campbell Estate, and soon became the Chief Executive Officer. Later, He became the Chief Trustee of the Campbell Estate.

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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